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Explore Europe with a Eurail Pass
Discusses the ins and outs of the Eurail Pass.
Once you´ve found the right Eurail Pass, you will be presented with a number of possible travel durations and validities. Depending on the Eurail Pass, there are often flexible or consecutive travel days offered. A good rule of thumb is:
When it comes to using a Eurail Pass, here are some helpful hints to getting on board and enjoying a smooth ride.
Validate your pass
Be sure to validate your Eurail Pass within 6 months of the issuing date. Once in Europe, take your Eurail Pass to a train station ticket window, and a railway official will stamp it and fill in the first and last day of validity and your passport number. When traveling with a Flexi Eurail Pass, enter each travel date on the calendar on your pass before you board a train on that day. Flexible travel days may be used consecutively or non-consecutively, as long as they are used within the given timeframe.
Validating overnight trains
Here´s a helpful hint when traveling on an overnight train, thereby avoiding having to use up two travel days: if you take a direct overnight train that departs after 7:00 pm and arrives after 4:00 am, then you enter only the date of arrival.
Make seat reservations
Eurail Pass holders can usually just hop on the train and be on their way. However, there are some exceptions, where select trains require the passenger to pay a seat reservation or supplement. When checking timetables it will indicate if a train is subject to a compulsory reservation. The additional cost is not included in the Eurail Pass and varies depending on the country, type of train and date of purchase/travel. Here are some helpful guidelines: most international long-distance trains require a reservation, as well as various domestic high-speed trains. Night trains always require a supplement for sleeping accommodation. Seat reservations are not usually necessary for local or regional trains. Please note that on some trains (such as French TGV and Thalys and trains), the number of seats for Eurail Pass holders are limited. Therefore, you should reserve these trains in advance, especially in high-season. It is also recommended that you make reservations during peak travel periods, and if you must reach your destination at a specific time.
One of the joys of traveling with a rail pass is to stay flexible so don´t let heavy luggage slow you down. Once on board, most trains have overhead compartments and luggage areas at the end of the car, where you can store your bags. For stop-overs, travelers will find the luggage lockers at most train stations, a useful place to keep luggage safe.
Enjoy the view
Train travel is so much more fun than flying for the simple fact that you get to look out the window and see the local landscapes and cities pass by. Some routes in Europe are especially scenic and can be considered an attraction in itself. Although there are countless journeys with stunning views, here are our top five:
About the Author: Angela Guezen is a travel professional who has explored the likes of Australia, Japan, and Europe. With a love for beautiful landscapes she has great appreciation for train travel and shares this passion with fellow travelers by writing for www.ACPRail.com and wwwBritRail.com.