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Eurorail Pass Question?

We are going to Europe from March 19th to March 31st, when should I buy the Eurorail pass for the trip? I don't need to make any other reservations on the trains after buying the pass right? In addition do I need to make any reservations besides the rail passes? My assumption is once you have the rail passes you can just travel in any train on first class.

Posted by
267 posts

The cutoff age is 26 years of age - that is, those who are 26+ years old must purchase First Class Railpasses for the following versions: Global Pass and Select Pass. The Regional and National railpasses have the option of adult second class passes.

Posted by
31318 posts

Martine, thanks. I couldn't remember the exact age. I'm lots older than that, so it doesn't matter in my case.

Posted by
4555 posts

Not true....the fast trains like Thalys, TGV, ICE, etc. all require reservations AND supplements, which will cost you extra. You can either book those when in Europe or book them, more expensively, at RailEurope, before you leave. Reservations for Eurail pass holders are very limited, and you may find there are none left when you try to book after you've arrived in Europe. I would strongly suggest you try pricing out your itinerary on some of the national rail websites that are listed below in the "classic" category before you purchase a rail pass. Point to point tickets may be cheaper, and you'll know you have a reservation where one is needed, since they're included in the ticket price.

Posted by
8959 posts

ICE trains don't require reservations. But if you don't get a reservation there is a good chance you will have to stand for a good portion of the journey.

Posted by
4555 posts

Unless the ICE train is one of those "Sprinter" ones on the busy lines, aimed a business people, usually in the mornings or late afternoons...then a reservation is required. The German railway website, http://www.bahn.de/international/view/en/index.shtml indicates those routes with a little white "R" in a red circle.

Posted by
8700 posts

As Norm says, it all depends upon the kind of train. No reservations are even possible on regional trains. For others, reservations are recommended but not required. For some high-speed trains (like TGVs) you must pay a reservation fee of 3-4 euro. For Thalys trains you pay a supplementary passholder's fare. For night trains the cost of a supplement depends upon what kind of sleeping accomodations you choose.

For complete information, click on the Railpasses tab at the top of the page you're reading now.

Posted by
31318 posts

TIM, from what I recall, my reservation costs (with a Railpass) were considerably more than Eu$3-4?

SIMRAM, as you're travelling in March, you should be able to buy the Pass now (you can purchase from ETBD). One other point to mention is that the Pass must be VALIDATED before using for the first time. This is easily done by presenting the Pass and your Passport to the agent at the first station you use. If you're using a Flex Pass, DON'T write the dates in until the day of use.

As Norm indicated, if you buy P-P tickets mandatory reservation costs (if applicable) are included, but these must be paid separately for EACH journey by those using a Rail Pass.

You didn't indicate your age, but I believe those over 29 can ONLY buy first class Rail Passes.

Happy travels!

Posted by
8700 posts

Ken, the price I quoted for reservations is for those made after arriving in Europe. If made through RailEurope, they'll cost substantially more. A person can get in-Europe prices by booking reservations through Euraide, but there is a set fee for handling the reservations. If a person is making MANY reservations, that can be a good way to go because the fee will be offset by the lower price.

Again, I refer to the information on the pages under the Railpasses tab on this site.

Posted by
267 posts

Ken, you're welcome. I remember the age because it saved me loads of money :)

Tim, I spent a similar amount on reservations made in Europe (with the SNCF).

Posted by
4555 posts

Don't forget, too, as mentioned, some trains like Thalys, AVE in Spain, and some of the high speed Italian trains require a supplement as well as a reservation. These can be 15-25 Euro per person, per leg.

Posted by
31318 posts

Tim, the reservation fees I paid were ALL bought in Europe, at the train stations in each town. I usually buy tickets or reservations for my outgoing journey either when I arrive in a city, or a few days prior to leaving. Perhaps it was the combination of reservation fees and supplements that Norm mentioned that made the cost higher?

I'll have to check my trip records to see whether I recorded the reservation fees.

Posted by
164 posts

I am totally confused. We are travelling to Brussels, Bruge, Paris, Austria and Munich. Internal travel within a country does count as 1 day of travel on the Euro rail ticket right? How can I make reservations for trains after buying the pass? Is there any guidelines online. The website I have been using in www.raileurope.com

Posted by
31318 posts

simram, it's not really that confusing. Use www.railsaver.com to suggest the most appropriate pass for your circumstances. With a Rail pass, you only need to stop by the station a few days before each outgoing journey, and arrange the reservations. You'll be given a card with your Car No. and Seat No. listed.

Note that NOT ALL trains require reservations. Generally speaking, only the TGV, Thalys and high speed trains have a "compulsory reservation" policy. If you know the date and time of each journey, you can determine which trains require reservations by checking the bahn.de website - they will have a small red "R" shown.

Hopefully this explanation has clarified this for you? If not, hopefully Norm or one of the others can provide further details.

Posted by
4555 posts

Simran, bottom line; your assumption you can just jump on any train is incorrect. If you have your itinerary laid out already, use the various national rail sites to see what point to point (P2P) tickets will cost you. Then compare them to the cost of the pass plus the reservation/supplement charges you will need to pay. They will range anywhere from 5 to 15 Euro, depending on which trains you are taking. The pass isn't valid on UK-Europe Eurostar; you will get a discount, but the price is still higher than if you find a book-ahead deal on the Eurostar or SNCF website. If you purchase a pass, make sure you book the reservations as soon as you arrive in a country, or pay a lot more to book earlier through a site like RailEurope. National websites where you can check prices and purchase P2P tickets include France (http://www.voyages-sncf.com), Belgium (http://www.b-rail.be/main/E), and Germany (http://www.bahn.de/international/view/en/index.shtml). Give us more itin details for more help

Posted by
8700 posts

simran, it doesn't matter if you're crossing a border or traveling only within one country. You will use a pass day on that day. The exception is the "7:00 p.m. rule" for night trains. If your train departs after 7:00 p.m. AND you don't change trains until after midnight, AND you didn't take any trains on the day of departure, then you use only one day (the second one) of your pass. Example: if you take a night train from Paris to Venice departing after 7:00 p.m. on 1 June, enter 2 June on your pass.

I'll say it one more time: click on the Railpasses tab at the top of the page you're reading now. Among other things you'll find there is a downloadable and printable railpass guide.

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you Sam. The prices I got last night when looking at Eurail was $401 for 5 days for the 3 country select pass; $445 for 6 days. Is the sale that you get 1 additional day for what you pay so that if you bought a 5 day pass you'd get 6 days?

Posted by
5 posts

I just booked flights for a trip 4/15 to 5/3. My husband and I are flying to London and then taking Eurostar to Paris. From Paris, we want to take the train to Amsterdam and then back to Brussels with day trips in both Belgium and Paris. We'll also take Eurostar back to London via Brussels. I reviewed the Railpasses section listed above but still have a few questions.

  1. The Eurail Select Pass Saver - this talks about being good for 2 people traveling together but are the prices listed per person or per pass? Do I need to buy 1 pass or 2 for 2 people? We're over 26 so will have to buy first class passes.

  2. When I tried to price the leg between Paris and Amsterdam I got a message it couldn't be priced yet. Too early? I tried an earlier date in March and got a price that way but am wondering if it's comparable. How do you get prices on the additional supplements?

Thank you!

Posted by
4555 posts

Anne, the Select saver passes are per person,and range from $70/day pp (5 days/2 months), to $60/day/pp (10 days/2 months). That's an expensive charge for rail transportation, plus the reservations and supplements you will need for some of your journeys. First, the pass won't get you on the Eurostar. You will get a "special fare" of $220 pp (no day is charged), but you can book returns from as low as $154 pp during the week. All your other trips can be had for far less than $60/day pp. Reservations and/or supplements can be made by paying a lot thru RailEurope, by calling SNCF for journeys originating in France. For those in Belgium and Amsterdam, you probably don't need reservations; only Brussels-Paris on Thalys. Maybe review your point to point costs thru various national rail sites before purchasing passes. And, yes, you can book the Paris-Amsterdam leg 90 days in advance, so a few days to go yet, but costs should be similar.

Posted by
267 posts

The Eurail Early Bird Saverpass promotion offers 7, 9, and 11 days passes. They sell 7 day passes for the price 6 day ones, etc.



Rail Europe Saverpass Special

Posted by
4555 posts

Sam...unfortunately, that is not true. There are trains that REQUIRE reservations, including TGV, and which REQUIRE reservations and supplement payments, like Thalys. You cannot hop onto these trains with just a pass...they will have to pay these fees. Yes, in March they MAY not have a problem getting the reservations a few days in advance....providing they're not travellng over easter (March 21-24, a very busy travel weekend in Europe) and that all the Eurail-allotted reservations (very limited in number) are already taken up. And even at $55/day/pp (if they need to travel 11 days for $600 a pass), their journeys can be had for far less by purchasing point to point tickets over the internet, tickets which INCLUDE all necessary reservations and supplements.