Eurail the pass which lets you plan your European itinerary

I’m not exactly sure how long Eurail Passes have been available, but I do know that travellers have been using them to discover Europe for many decades.

If you are planning to travel to Europe, and you are not keen to go on organised tours, the Eurail pass may be your best option for travelling around Europe at your own pace.  One of the great benefits of a Eurail pass is that it gives you a lot of flexibility, within the confines of the type of pass you have purchased.

By that, I mean there are varying  types of Eurail passes, the flexibility of which are governed by your personal needs, the number of countries that you intend to visit, and the length of time you wish to travel.

Basically, a pass give you unlimited rail travel on the national rail networks of one or more countries for a specific period of time.  That means that if, for instance, you purchase a seven day pass for three countries – let’s say France, Belgium and The Netherlands – during that seven days, from the time you start your first journey.  During that seven day period you can make as many rail trips within and between those countries as you want.

That doesn’t mean that you nothing else to pay, it means that you travel is covered by the cost of the rail pass.  Many of Europe’s trains these days, especially express, very fast trains and those that cross borders require Eurail Pass holders to reserve their seats, and they charge a seat-booking fee.  If you use your Pass wisely you can still save a fortune.  The more that you travel the more you save, so if you decide to dawdle in Paris for a few days, you are not using your Pass to its maximum potential.  It would be better to dawdle in Paris either before or after the period of validity.

So, in order to use your Pass efficiently you need to do some planning beforehand.  Although, I am an example of someone who didn’t do much planning, and I ended up getting terrific value.  In my case, I spent the days discovering a particular city, and the nights travelling, usually the longest distances that I possibly could, so that I saved on accommodation.  This worked for me, but I do like trains, and it may not be a suitable way to travel for everyone – but I did get value for money, and as a lot of my travel decisions were made on the spur of the moment when I reached a station in the evening, I had many pleasant, and unexpected, surprises the next day.

One thing the Europeans do very well is rail travel.  One of the benefits of taking a train over flying is that the trains all terminate in the centre of each city, whilst airports are normally kilometres from anywhere.  Although a short distance flight may appear to be quicker, by the time you get to and from the airport, and get to the airport early so as to check in and go through security, you may have been able to get to your destination by train.  Besides, there is more leg room on a train.  You can get up and walk around a lot easier – and, in my humble opinion, train food is usually better than plane food.  The big advantage, though, is that trains normally have very large windows so that you can enjoy watching the countryside as you pass through it, and you can identify where you are.

In summary, a Eurail Pass is a you beaut way to enjoy Europe at a reasonable price.

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