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Eurail Pass Really Enters the 21st Century

I posted in June when Eurail updated its "Rail Planner" app to support a mobile one-country pass. (Italy was the initial country.)

Today's app update introduces a mobile multi-country pass!

From the FAQ on Eurail's Web site, it seems that:
- You buy the mobile Global Pass through normal channels and add it to the app
- Instead of writing in a travel diary, you must select train trips using the schedule provided in the app (manual entry is available for trips not in Eurail's schedule)
- You don't need Internet access to present the pass on your phone (but you do need to go online at least every three days for validation purposes)
- The mobile pass is tied to a single, specific cell phone (storing the pass and its data in an Apple iCloud account or a Google Account would have made matters easier in case of loss or theft of the phone, which is a risk)
- As always, the pass is tied to your passport

Even though those of us residing in the US won't have the opportunity to try the new mobile Global Eurail Pass right away, it seems that the Interrail variant for residents of European countries is also available in mobile form. If you use it, please share your experiences! I'm particularly curious whether train conductors will be familiar with it, or whether explaining it will be a hassle.

Posted by
4982 posts

I think Eurail will need to move to modern times to stay viable. This is a good first step, now they just need to link in seat reservations, space available seating, and other options that make even last minute travel economical.

Posted by
7204 posts

And they need to cut their price dramatically to match the super low cost dirt cheap tickets that can be had (inclusive of seat reservations) when you buy directly from the national rail carriers. Travel in Italy really couldn't be much cheaper when purchased ahead of time. Travel all over Bavaria all day long with the Bavarian Pass for next to nothing...

No - Eurail still has a LOOONNNGGG way to go to keep up with the times.

Posted by
17867 posts

they need to cut their price dramatically to match the super low cost dirt cheap tickets that can
be had ... when you buy directly from the national rail carriers.

Hear, hear!

On my last trip to Germany, I spent 256€ (approx $300) for 6 change--of-venue days of train travel, for two adults in three weeks (that's $50/wk-pers). I used one advance purchase, SparPreis ticket, several Bayern-Tickets and a regional pass, and two local tickets.

A German Twin Rail Pass would been the cheapest rail pass alternative, and that would have cost more than twice as much as I actually spent. And then I would have had to take a smart phone to Europe to use the Eurail app. I took a flip-phone so I could call for transportation when i got home, but i don't think that would have worked with the Eurail app.

Posted by
91 posts

I'm going to have to agree with Tim. They charge way too much and the hassle to get reservations is not worth it, to me. Check with point to point individual tickets before you get a pass. This has always been cheaper and easier for me. I use raileurope (formally loco2) unless I'm in Germany where I use the even better Deutsche Bahn app. They (rail europe) have a nice app, keeps up with your schedules, tickets, and it takes your American credit card. I could never get my card to work for French SNCF, which is odd since they own raileurope.

Posted by
5 posts

I've used the app (in its Interrail version) and it works rather well. Activate the pass. Add the trips. Travel. In Switzerland however scanning the QR code made the conductor's terminal crash. So still some bugs need to be ironed out. I wonder how this is supposed to work in countries where the railways have not yet equipped all their conductors with handheld computers...

Passes do have their advantages. While it is true that you can save money booking months in advance I do rarely have the option. And a 4 days in a month Interrail pass is cheaper than a flexible return ticket Switzerland - Belgium for example. And still fully flexible.