How Do I Choose the Right Eurail Pass?

eurailThere definitely are a lot of options out there these days when it comes to traveling around Europe by rail. Back in the old days, there were pretty much 2 types of rail passes; the classic (global) Eurail pass and the Eurail Flexi pass. However, now there are Youth passes (for travelers between 16- 25 years old), Eurail Select passes, Eurail Saver passes, single country passes, point to point tickets and the list goes on and on. I hear the same question over and over again. Should I buy a Eurail pass or go with point to point tickets? Here are a few things to think about that may help you decide which Eurail pass is best for you.

If you already know your itinerary, use the Pass Finder available through Rail Europe and let their expert system define what options are best for you. In general, if you plan on taking more than 3 trips, passes offer the best value for your money. The beauty of Rail Europe’s system is that it will price your specific itinerary with all possible options for comfort and flexibility.

If you’re unsure of where and when you want to travel, then you’ll probably be better off going with a pass. Be aware that even though you have a Eurail pass, some trains require a reservation. Reservations can be made locally or from Rail Europe prior to your departure. You’ll also need to note that the number of seats accessible to pass holders is often restricted, so make sure you secure your reservation as far in advance as you can, especially in the summer during peak times or on popular routes.

If you only plan to travel within a single country, you may see a benefit to buying an Anywhere Anytime rail pass. Sold exclusively through Rail Europe, these are basically a collection of pre-paid e-tickets at a flat rate in 1st class. Travelers can manage their account online to determine their travel itinerary and schedule their train trips whenever they’re ready. As is the case with all discounted tickets, the number of available seats can be restricted, so make sure you book in advance when traveling on peak trains and/or on popular routes.

Lastly, it never hurts to check out the Rail Europe discounts and specials page.


4 thoughts on “How Do I Choose the Right Eurail Pass?

  • I’ve been very confused as to which websites will sell to citizens of which countries. I’m Canadian, but the American websites sell for less than i would pay with exchange – and CAN i purchase an Italy Rail Pass when i get there or MUST i purchase it before i leave?

  • Hi Heather – Yes, you would need to purchase your pass before you leave. Here’s the link for Canadian residents: http://tinyurl.com/ohyvpa. On the site, look on the left hand side under “Rail Passes” and “Single Country Passes” is the 3rd option down. I’m not sure how many trips you plan to take within Italy, but it may be worth pricing out each trip individually to ensure that a pass is the cheapest way to go. Italian Rail Passes start at 243CAD for 3 days of travel within a 2 month period.

  • I want to buy a pass that allows me to travel unlimited through out the 21 country network. I have been looking at the Eurail global pass for 1 month. I am confused as to whether or not I am allowed to take several trains during one day? I want to be able to visit different cities all in one day and not have to worry about how many trips on a train I have left. Am I looking in the right place?

  • Hi Amy – Yes, if you’re looking for European rail information… you’ve come to the right place.

    Note that while a consecutive-day global pass provides unlimited rail travel on any day for consecutive days, a flexipass allows you to scatter your travel days within a period of time. For example, if you plan to spend 2-3 days in a few destinations then 15 total days of unlimited rail travel may work.

    To answer you’re Eurail question:

    Q: I am confused as to whether or not I am allowed to take several trains during one day?
    A: A rail day lasts from midnight to midnight. You can take as many trains as you wish during this time. On an overnight train that departs after 7pm, a rail day will begin at 7PM and end the next day at midnight.

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