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oyolar
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« on: April 01, 2012, 08:44:13 PM »

I'm planning a trip with my uncle in Europe this August. Does anyone have any experience with getting one of those Eurorail passes that give you unlimited access to international trains? I found this website: www.eurail.com/ , but I just wanted to hear about some people's experiences/advice on it and maybe ask a few questions that I don't really get from that site. Thanks.
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RoedGroed
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« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2012, 11:51:20 PM »

It's a cool way to travel. You get to see a lot of sick stuff that way, plus its one of the cheapest ways to get around Europe if you plan on seing a lot. I think its normally called Interrail though.

http://www.interrailnet.com/

It should be fairly easy to use, and it is possible to buy these at the different countries railway companies. So, if you start in Germany you can buy it at Deutsche Bahn, in Denmark at DSB and so on. You will probably be able to get them at the local ticket office to some degree, but better check with them before, when you know where you start.
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happenstance
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« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2012, 11:54:11 PM »

I will say not to expect to pay no money at all. You just get a discount on fairs. Mind you I did this back in 2004 so it could be different now. From what I understand though, flying can be almost as cheap as the trains these days. Am I wrong?

It is a really fun way to get around europe though. Met a lot of cool people, got to see a lot of the countryside and it leads you to more random places than if you were to fly.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2012, 12:40:53 AM by happenstance » Logged
RoedGroed
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« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2012, 01:27:09 AM »

If you buy the Interrail you shall only pay for the Interrail, and all the travel will be free. You can choose between some different options where you have 10 days Interrail with 5 days of travel, or 30 days with unlimited travel and all other sorts of combinations.

What you say happenstance, might be with the Eurorail? Because with interrail the travel is free with 2nd class tickets, and you get a discount on 1st class. So unless you travel 1st class, the Interrail card should be enough. I haven't found flights in the same price range, but I have actually heard about an Interrail sort of thing but with flights. Might be worth checking out as well!
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happenstance
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« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2012, 01:37:58 AM »

I used Eurorail and we kept having to pay 'booking' or 'reservation' fees. I was traveling for a month and a half or so and the cost really stacked up because I didn't stay anywhere for more than 4 or 5 days tops. Was worth it to me in the end, regardless of the cost. I got to go to a LOT of cities and I know I still saved money with the pass than buying tickets outright.  
« Last Edit: April 03, 2012, 04:05:52 PM by happenstance » Logged
RoedGroed
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« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2012, 01:49:09 AM »

Oh, in that way! Yes, you have to book some of the travels over longer distances and night-trains and stuff like that, and that might end up being somewhat expensive actually. Didn't even remember that!
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cringe.
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« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2012, 04:40:03 AM »

I think they can really be valuable if you're planning on travelling around a lot, but one thing i would say is try to plan out your trip so that you know where you want to be and for how long, because if you're not going to be travelling really often, then it might work out cheaper to buy single train tickets / coach tickets / bus tickets / even plane tickets eve, most of which you just pay for at the time, but some you can book in advance. A lot of it does depend on the countries, places like Italy, Switzerland etc have much more expensive travel than other places, so look into that. Also, do check out flight costs, because websites like ryanair and easyjet can sometimes have super surprising deals (my barcelona to london flight this June is costing 17.99GBP for example). But i've got friends who've done this, and it does seem the most economical way of seeing a lot of Europe in a short time. So if you wanna get around a lot it would be worthwile, but if you're planning on staying in a few places for longer periods I would look into local trains (I'm going to Slovenia and Croatia for a month in July and that's what i will be doing). Either way, have a great time, I always trip out thinking how big a commitment it is for Americans to travel to Europe, i'm sure you'll make the most of it dude.
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oyolar
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« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2012, 12:54:14 PM »

Thanks guys. So I'm basically going to fly into the Netherlands on July 30th and fly out August 14th/15th. So I'm thinking of buying like a 15 day travel pass for however many countries (it's on that Eurail site).

My major question makes more sense in an example.  So if I buy that pass, I can travel from like Amsterdam to Utrecht or Belgium or Luxembourg (the Benelux region) whenever and how much I want, right? But if I want to go to Paris, for example, should I make a reservation like a day or two in advance?

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iwshilvdnfinland
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« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2012, 06:18:42 PM »

i got one a few years ago for about 2 weeks.  there was only a few places we had to pay some BS fee for.  i just remember we didn't do that all that much.  and it was totally worth it.  just live by the book of schedules and camp.  you'll have the best time of your life
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ThirtyYearsYoung
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« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2012, 04:03:25 PM »

I did it two years ago and remember feeling like it wasn't that great a deal. I think there's an age cut-off (25?) after which they force you to buy a first class ticket instead of second class. You might save money with the second class pass, but the first class one ended up being about the same, I remember. I thought it would be more convenient because I could just "hop on, hop off" at my leisure, but I still had to wait in line at every station to reserve a ticket in advance. (Don't think I paid many extra fees, maybe just a few, but if I had to wait in line anyway, I may as well of just bought the tickets one by one.) Mind you I traveled for a month and didn't stay anywhere more than 3 days, so that's about ten lines to wait in, and I got pretty sick of it.
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ciaran
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« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2012, 03:30:55 PM »

Did this in summer 2000 for the month of June, I'd recommend it to everybody.  Of course planes are faster, cars are more direct, but that's not the point.  It's the experience of interrailing that counts - overnight trains, sharing cabins with random people, enjoying the scenery, people watching all manner of crazy lurkers who always gather around mainline stations, hearing about a killer park or spot 400km away and just going there on a whim.   3 of us started in Sweden, blazed through half the cash in the first weekend and thought Prague was a cheap option & collectively voided our bowels when we stumbled across Stalin Square which was largely unheard of at the time.  Little things like that make a must-do for me anyway.

Pretty sure the additional reservation fee (E5 or so at the time, no idea what it is now) was for the high-speed intercity trains like TGV, Thayls, ICE, etc.  Not sure if that's still the case, but definitely worth it if you need to cover a large distance fast.

If you're just going to be around Benelux for 2 weeks, you might be better off just paying as you go.
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oyolar
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« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2012, 09:18:16 AM »

Thanks a lot guys. I found this site that gives more in-depth info than the Eurail site I posted earlier: http://www.seat61.com/Railpass-and-Eurail-pass-guide.htm#supplements%20cost

I'm going to wait a little bit because I'm traveling with my uncle who lives in the UAE at the moment, so where we're going is kind of up in the air. I might just order them with him one day before we leave when he's back in town. But thanks for everyone's help.

RoedGroed: turns out Eurail and Interrail are the same thing. It's just that Interrail is designed for European citizens.
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pica
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« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2012, 01:37:12 PM »

i did this in 2000, for 1 month. we had a hostel room in BCN for 2 nights and one in morocco for 4 nights. the rest of the time we always slept on the train or on the beach. it works quite well and is affordable. also we didn't had to pay for any reservations since we didn't make them, but in spain you have to. i highly recommend you to go to Algeciras and take the ferry to spend a few days in morocco. only use a small backpack with 3 shirts and 2 pants, including the stuff you wear, wash it whenever you can i never ran out of fresh clothing and an i had no backpain. don't let your route be all planned out with reservations in all citys and stuff. be spontaneous stay wherever it's fun or just move on when you're feeling it.
meet people.
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happenstance
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« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2012, 02:06:03 PM »

Yes! Agreed. When I did my backpacking trip I barely brought anything. A little more than you had but not by much. I also planned nothing and tried to take as many night trains to save money on staying places. I didn't do the beach thing, stayed in some hostels and hotels but I did find my ways to stay places for free - meet locals, shack up with women Cool (OK, I must admit this only happened 2 times on a month and a half trip), whatever works.
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Poele
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« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2012, 10:25:01 PM »

Thanks a lot guys. I found this site that gives more in-depth info than the Eurail site I posted earlier: http://www.seat61.com/Railpass-and-Eurail-pass-guide.htm#supplements%20cost

I'm going to wait a little bit because I'm traveling with my uncle who lives in the UAE at the moment, so where we're going is kind of up in the air. I might just order them with him one day before we leave when he's back in town. But thanks for everyone's help.

RoedGroed: turns out Eurail and Interrail are the same thing. It's just that Interrail is designed for European citizens.


Did the same thing from Amsterdam about 4 years ago. Most things have been said already but I wanted to add that indeed I had to pay the reservation cost for all the major trains (Amsterdam-Brussels-Paris-Bordeaux-Madrid-Lisbon). It still might be cheaper than paying every ticket as a single but the extra cost is something to keep in mind. All the "local" trains you could just take with the Interrail ticket which definitely gives you a lot of freedom for day trips etc. Also keep in mind that sometimes when you buy the Interrail ticket in a certain country, it's only valid in other countries. You should check if that's still the same.

From what I know, traveling eastern Europe by train this way works better: little or no reservation fees.

Also: buying single traintickets in Holland is going to be quite expensive. Belgium on the other hand is quite cheap, they have some kind of discount if you're under 25 or 26 I think. 
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Alan
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« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2012, 03:50:47 AM »

Bought a 5 for 10 ticket a few days ago, apparently there's no reservation needed for ICE's in Germany and yeah, 2nd class is free with the IR pass, only night trains and 1st class require reservations. But I think France has other rules, i.e. no 2nd class on fast trains...

Btw, did the 1 month thing in 98, had some of the best times ever. Everyone should do it!
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