Train travel 3weeks 5 countries

Hello all.
First time post here and am asking advice from you all. We are planning a trip in late September until October, 3 weeks. We are flying into Ireland and renting a car for a few days until we fly over to mainland. Starting in Amsterdam, we are working our way to Germany, Switzerland, France England and then back to Ireland. We are flying from Ireland to Amsterdam and probably taking a ferry from England back to Ireland. We want advice on train travel from Germany through the other countries to France. There are four of us, my wife and myself, and two friends. Me and my wife will be together all the time, but our friends will not be with us all the other time. I know there are discounts you can get if you travel with a companion. So... Everyone sound off with your opinions and we shall consider them all. Thanks again.

Posted by Nancy
Costa Mesa, CA, USA
159 posts

Well, I'll be honest, I think trying to do 6 countries in three weeks is too much even if you are flying from Ireland to Amsterdam. Assuming you have 21 full days on the ground that works out to a 3.5 days per country. When you factor in the travel time between said countries, you are down to about 2 days per country. So, my first piece of advice is to trim that list down to 2 or 3 countries at most. Secondly, you mention that you would be returning to Ireland to fly home. If you haven't booked the tickets, fly open jaw - that will definitely save you time. You didn't mention what areas you wanted to see in each country so it's a bit hard to advise on trains - just be aware that each change of location will take anywhere from a half to a whole day, depending upon the distance traveled and whether or not you have to change trains.
As for discounts for traveling with a companion, I've never heard of that for train travel. In London, you can get 2 for 1 vouchers (with the purchase of a rail card at the National Rail Station) for some of the sights in London but based on my experience there are no such discounts for companions for transportation.

Posted by George
Independence, KS, USA
687 posts

Late September is next month which means you've likely waited too long to get any price breaks on rail tickets, most of which go on sale 90-120 days prior to travel. Check out for to solve all of your rail issues. You will likely get to spend most of your 3 weeks in transit trying to sample that many countries.

Posted by Elaine
Mission Viejo, Calif., USA
820 posts

I agree with the other post. Five countries in three weeks is a terrible idea.

Posted by Norma
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
4515 posts

My question is how does "late September to October 3" equal 3 weeks? Something wrong here.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
12686 posts

This is the type of trip that would benefit greatly from using an open jaw ticket but assume your tickets are purchased. Need a better sense of what you are really planning. Assuming you have three weeks which is most likely 19 days. Then a few days in Ireland so down to 14, 15 days. Then two weeks and maybe a day or two more in Germany, Switzerland, France, England. And you have long travel days with this schedule. Taking the ferry back will be all day event. On the surface it look like way too much and you have to be leaving next week which is not late September. You must have more planning in place than your are letting on about. Just don't see this going well. Opps, just realized this was posted over a month ago. Probably a dead issue at this point. Don't know why Elaine was commenting a month later.