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Reserving Seats with a Eurail pass

I just purchased a Eurail pass, i wanted to start reserving my seats so that i can also begin booking hostels, but do not know the best (and cheapest way) to do so. I don't understand the whole paying to reserve a seat idea, when i have already spent money on a pass? Please let me know the best way to go about doing all this.

Posted by
12154 posts

When are you traveling? If not during high season, you probably don't need reservations. Are you going first class or second? First class is often reserved, second class usually isn't. I go second class and have never found myself wishing I had a reservation. I travel shoulder season unless someone else is paying.

If you are traveling outside of high season, only a few hostels will be packed enough to need a reservation. I always call ahead in the morning when I'm heading to a city. That gets me ahead of the walk-ins and keeps me from having to conform rigorously to an itenerary.

Posted by
8700 posts

Some trains require reservations (TGVs in France, for example). Some trains charge a special fare for passholders (Thalys, for example). For night trains passholders pay a supplement which includes a reservation, the cost of which depends upon what type of sleeping accommodations you choose. For some trains reservations are optional and for others (regional trains, for example) they aren't even possible.

You have some homework to do. Click on the Railpasses tab at the top of the page you're reading now and read all the information you'll find there. Also read the railpasses section at

You can make all your reservations in advance through RailEurope, but they will be expensive. You can make all of them in advance at in-Europe prices through Euraide for a one-time fee. See Or call Budget Europe Travel Service at 800-441-9413 or 800-441-2387 for free and friendly advice. See the BETS Web site:

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks for the feedback. I will research reservations more thoroughly. Also, I am traveling until June 9th, so i am technically before high season, but close enough to it that it may be tricky to get seats and lower prices on hostels and such. Since i am traveling alone and on a pretty tight budget, i want to book my hostels as far in advance as possible so that i don't have added pressure or cost (only having more expensive rooms available) while traveling.

Posted by
9 posts

Heather, On our trip last May and June, we used Eurailpasses throughout the continent and the only reservations we got were those required (Eurostar and Thalys). In about 12 different train legs over a 10 day period on the continent, we only had to move from our seats 1 time because of some other persons reservations. Unless you are traveling in "high" season, I wouldn't bother with them.

Posted by
1568 posts

We had no problem making our seat reservations day of or day before travel.

Normally, we would make out seat reservations upon our arrival for our departure.

Posted by
190 posts

If you bought your Eurail pass from this site, contact Rick Steves' staff for help with this. When we did, we found that there were trains we didn't know about which greatly improved our scheduling. Also, the staff is very knowledgable about everything concerning trains in Europe. They will be a big help.