Hello! I have been doing research for over a year about the pros and cons of a eurail pass. Has anyone actually used a one, two, or three month pass recently? I'm looking for personal experience. Thanks!
I used a one mo last April. I saw nearly 20 countries! Wore myself out and I'm doing it again this June! Pvt me w/specific questions if u wish.
I used a 1 month Global Eurail Pass in 2009 for a 6 week trip ( first and last week not part of the Pass...my choice ) and found it to be a good value IF you are using it a lot. I used mine virtually every day for the full month it was valid. The way we had organised the trip ( through 7 countries ) was about every 4-5 days we'd relocate to a new "Base", and then did day trips from there ( eg in Italy, we stayed in Verona and did day trips to Florence, Pisa, Venice.) It's important to note that some of the highspeed intercity express trains in certain countries require a reservation, regardless of whether you have a Pass or not, and that reservation has a fee ( I experienced that in Germany and Italy ). Make sure you know whether the particular train you plan to take requires a reservation. For someone new to Europe and train travel, Eurail does take some of the pressures off train travel, but for those who are comfortable with the European train system, a Pass is probably not worth it. I've been back to Europe a couple of times since 2009, and since I am now very comfortable with the system( 6 weeks riding the rails is a great learning experience! ) I would never consider using a Eurail Pass again..
An excellent resource for learning about train travel in Europe is The Man in Seat 61
Thanks! I have definitely read the man in seat 61 a lot! Although the question is so multifaceted. We have three full months to do the trip of our dreams and I am really leaning towards a three month pass. We just want to get up and go with flexibility. I know it is a lot, but wouldn't the freedom be worth it? Thoughts???
Yep, and that was my reasoning when purchasing a Pass for my 6 week trip. Have you travelled in Europe before? If no, then yes, I think I would recommend going with the Pass, assuming you intend to get frequent use from it. If your plan is only to travel once every couple of days or so, then a Pass is probably not a good value. Again, some trains require a reservation, so that adds to your travel costs. I guess the thing to do is if you have a fairly fixed schedule in terms of when/where you plan on travelling by train, it may be beneficial to figure out what the cost of Point to Point tickets will be, and see how it stacks up to the cost of the Pass. If you plan on travelling "by the seat of your pants", a Pass certainly allows much more flexibility, and, for the most part, eliminates the need to worry about budgeting for travel, since it's been bought and paid for in advance.
Once you get the hang of it, train travel in Europe is easy and convenient...I love it. Have you looked at Rick's book Europe Through The Back Door? I highly recommend it if you've never travelled Europe before...it's a wealth of information
I used one in 2009 for a multi-month trip. I had lots of long train trips with shorter ones in between. I also didn't always know in advance when I would be traveling. I also prefered riding in 1st class at times. So for me then, it was worth it even if the cost was a bit more. But as others have pointed out, that type of situation is about the only way they are useful anymore. Global passes are no longer accepted on the TGV. Thalys severely restricts the number of seats they reserve for pass holders. That makes them nearly worthless in France and BeNeLux. Almost all long distance trains now require reservations which is an extra cost to the pass. Advanced ticketing can be had for very cheap. Long distances can be faster and cheaper to fly.
It's the Pass which is no longer accepted in France. The Global Pass is still valid in France. While it is true that both the Thalys and TGV have limits on passholders, which is no deterent to me, ask if that restriction applies to both 1st and 2nd class for that particular departure. You may luck out that it's applying only in 2nd class, where the reservation fee is less, in which case you may go 1st class and pay more for the reservation fee...if you still want to leave at that dep. time. The 1st class Global Pass gives you that option and flexibility, or choose another dep time. I avoid riding the Thalys trains.
Fred wrote - - - It's the Pass which is no longer accepted in France. His post was nobbled by the safety features of the Helpline editor. Certain words are zapped when the features detect a phrase which may be able to create mayhem within the website. What he wanted to say was - It's the Sel_ect Pass which is no longer accepted in France. Note the intentional misspelling. Hope you don't mind the assist, Fred....
No, not at all, Nigel. Thanks for your help in providing my intent correctly.