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Should I Get a Eurail Pass?

©stockphoto/imetlion

©stockphoto/imetlion

Traveling through Europe by train is one of life’s great adventures. But is it cheaper to buy point-to-point or buy a Eurail pass? The Eurail pass promises affordable, flexible train travel across most of Europe, but does it always deliver?

Some of the Disadvantages
Most high-speed, Eurostar and night trains are not covered by your Eurail pass or require a significant additional fees and a trip to the ticket counter. For your Eurail pass to be valid for a trip, it must cover all of the countries that you travel through, whether you stop in that country or not. For example, getting from Germany to Italy on a Eurail pass requires your pass to cover Austria too.

Even though you pay for first class with your pass, there is no guarantee that a first class seat will be available when you get on the train (unless you reserve it). If you aren’t going to take a lot of trains, the Eurail pass may be more expensive then just buying individual tickets.

And the Advantages
However, there are some worthwhile perks: Other than those mentioned above, you can jump on almost any train, any time, as often as you want. If you’re just winging it, or just want to keep your schedule loose, this is a major bonus. Plus, you can switch trains in quickly and get to your final destination much faster than if you’d had to search out a ticket booth and stand in line. The Eurail pass can include some other great discounts, like buses, ferries, and metro tickets. For example, the Eurail pass covers the boat trip down the Rhine River at no additional charge. Having a pass means you don’t have to learn to buy train tickets in five different languages, or find the ticket counters in all of these stations.

If you have the time to take the slow trains and want the ultimate in flexibility, buy the pass. If you have a targeted itinerary and want to minimize your time on trains, buy point-to-point tickets and take as many high-speed trains as possible.

You can use Rail Europe to buy your tickets and the site has excellent information on all of the passes you can get. Above all, be sure to read all of the information and FAQs before buying your pass to make sure you’re getting the best one for your trip.

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