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Eurail Pass - paper or mobile?

1) Are paper rail passes still available (April ‘22) and if so, how do you request one when you purchase on-line? I will be traveling exclusively in Great Britain.

2) What experience have you seasoned travelers had with the mobile passes? I’ve read that some of the apps are unreliable or an internet connection may be unavailable. What do you do if you have a technical malfunction?

ps - I’m eligible for a senior rail pass so excuse me if I’m reluctant to be totally reliant on my phone.

Thank you for any insight!

Posted by
21710 posts

The first thing to check is that the rail pass actually saves you money. Rail passes are becoming more of a convenience factor and not a money saving factor.

Posted by
5138 posts

HI, Gayle.
First of all, if you are only traveling in Great Britain, there are a few options to consider. Perhaps you have already considered these, but just in case, let me mention them.
1. You could pay 30 pounds and get a senior rail card which would give you discounts on point to point tickets. If you know your dates and routes that you will be traveling, advance fares combined with the senior rail card might be the best deal.
2. You could get a rail pass that just focuses on the area you are traveling in instead of a Eurail pass.
https://www.britrail.com/britrail-passes/britrail-pass/

There is a website that is highly recommended www.seat61.com
This link is for the page about Eurail passes.
https://www.seat61.com/how-to-use-a-eurail-pass.htm

Perhaps you have already done all of this research and really only interested in whether to use paper or electronic. If so, forgive us. It is just that so often we find people assume a pass will save money when that is not always the case.

I would go with paper if available.........

Posted by
16883 posts

It’s important to know that BritRail brand passes and rules are separate from Eurail brand passes. There are many similarities, but the mobile applications are different, for a start. BritRail.com will direct you to the agents selling passes, which for USA may just be ACP Rail right now. Some pass variations (boundaries of coverage) offer a choice of paper or electronic and some (such as the England-only pass) don’t.

Posted by
454 posts

Don’t buy Eurail if just in England. If you do, do NOT get the app. Garbage. Long story but if you have trouble while in country you will have absolutely zero real time help.

Posted by
8612 posts

I will be traveling exclusively in Great Britain.

"Great Britain" is the name of the landmass that is occupied by England, Scotland and Wales

Depending on where you plan to travel, one option may be better than another.

I would be reluctant to not have a paper option.

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you to all who took the time to give me suggestions!

I ended up purchasing a Senior BritRail pass and buying individual tickets. I’m traveling with a Swedish friend who will not have a pass.

I have found the British system to be rather cumbersome. For example, the ticket I searched on Transport for Wales (TfW) converted the date to the following day, so I had to request a refund (which may take several weeks). Our experience with ScotRail and Eastern Midlands was better.

Maybe the Rail Pass would’ve been better for the its flexibility and ease, if not price?

Happy travels to all!
Gayle

Posted by
27713 posts

that sounds like an issue with dates, DD-MM-YY instead of MM-DD-YY... ?

Posted by
7 posts

Yes, Carol, I bought a senior rail CARD, not pass. Thanks for catching that.

No, the date wasn’t mixed up. It specifically said Wednesday, 18 May, but when I purchased it came up as Thursday, 19 May. It might be a glitch with difference time zones, but the train times were what I wanted. I almost did it twice, but caught it the second time. 🤷🏼‍♀️

ps - It’s my personal experience that something will go wrong on every trip (hopefully minor) and that when it happens you just need to take a deep breath, have a laugh and enjoy the trip!

Posted by
7 posts

And lastly, I was advised by the Rick Steves’ team that Eurail passes are no longer available in paper.

Posted by
222 posts

I’m currently using a paper Eurail pass purchased about 6 weeks ago. After noting people on this forum having issues with the digital (many thanks to those who shared their experiences), I decided on the paper pass when offered the choice by Eurail. It cost extra for postage and took a few weeks, however, I felt it worth it for the reliability of having it in hand and not rely on a potentially glitchy app (or needing internet access? not sure if the digital version works off-line and also, I like the flexibility of entering the train in the log when I’m actually on it, less stressful if a planned train is missed).