How to Travel by Train Through Europe

How to Travel by Train Through Europe
Traveling by train is one of the best ways to see Europe. You get to see more of the country and meet interesting people, without dealing with baggage claims and the many other hassles of flying. The train system itself is excellent. You can go virtually everywhere in Europe traveling by train. It is also surprisingly easy to travel by train in Europe. Armed with a ticket and a timetable, you are all set to begin your journey.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Plan your journey and consider some options. Will you be traveling by train in just one country or several? How long do you plan to travel? Will you be traveling continuously, or spending a few days in different locations? The more specific you are, the easier it will be to determine what kind of rail pass or ticket to purchase.
Step 2
Determine whether you would be better off getting individual tickets or a pass. You can price individual tickets via a travel operator that specializes in European rail, such as Rail Europe. In all likelihood, if you plan to do a lot of travel by train, you will be better off getting a rail pass. Rail passes can cover just one country or several countries. They can be for several continuous days, or flexible days within a set period. For example, five travel days can be scheduled within a 10-day period. However, even if you get a rail pass, you may still need to pay supplemental fees such as paying for a couchette on an overnight train, or paying a small reservation charge on a high speed train.
Step 3
Purchase your tickets or rail pass in advance. It is 20 percent cheaper to purchase rail passes and tickets prior to arriving in Europe, than buying your tickets once you arrive.
Step 4
Purchase a copy of the Thomas Cook European Rail Timetable. While you can find most rail timetables online at the Deutsche Bahn website, the Thomas Cook guide is very useful to have. Not only does it include rail, bus and ferry schedules for all over Europe, but it also has route maps.
Step 5
Validate your rail pass. Rail passes must be validated on the day you first begin your rail travel. Simply take the pass and your passport to the ticket office and explain that you need to get it validated. Give yourself an extra 30 minutes, just in case the ticket office is busy. You don't want to miss your train.

Tips & Warnings

Give yourself plenty of time at the train station (especially at larger, more central stations), so that you can find your platform.

Article Written By Shiromi Nassreen

Shiromi Nassreen has been writing professionally since 2005. She specializes in travel and outdoor topics, and her articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including "DISfunkshion Magazine" and Matador Travel. Nassreen holds a Bachelor of Arts in theatre studies from Rose Bruford College of Speech & Drama.

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