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Thread: Top 10 Tips for European Train Travel

  1. #1
    Traveller is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    Default Top 10 Tips for European Train Travel

    Here's what you need to know about traveling Europe on the train--from planning your trip to buying tickets to getting the most for your travel buck.

    1. When you need information
    If a station has an Information desk--use it to plan your trip. Don't expect the person at the ticket window to answer all your questions when there's a line of impatient commuters waiting. This is especially important in crowded stations like Venice. Find Departing Train information by consulting the yellow posters at the stations.

    2. Buying That Ticket
    Go to the ticket window (checking first whether you need national or international tickets) with the following information: Train time or train number, class (usually first or second), one-way or round trip, and the date you are traveling on. Be aware that some express trains in some countries may require a seat reservation. Fast trains usually are more expensive--you'll be charged a supplement.

    3. Discounts and Specials
    When planning your trip, be sure to ask if there are any specials. On a recent trip in Germany, we were able to reduce the cost of a ticket from 76 to 22 dollars by taking a slightly slower train that left almost at the same time. Also, take advantage of any student and age discounts that may be in force. Choosing the right rail pass may shave some costs as well.

    4. Facilities
    Long distance trains often have restaurant or cafe cars. Medium distance trains may rely on a cart carrying sandwiches, snacks, drinks and coffee. Regional trains often carry no food or beverages. Best bet is to check out the stores in most large train stations these days--you can often get a great variety of interesting food to take on the train and it'll probably be cheaper.

    5. Finding Your Car if you have a Reservation
    At each track in larger stations, or sometimes on the wall of the station is a "Composition of Trains" board that shows where each numbered car will be as the train pulls in. If you're late you can jump on any car and make your way through the train by their internal doors.

    6. What if I Don't have a Reservation?
    Then just sit anywhere. But be aware that if you don't want to be bumped from your seat, check the outside of your compartment for slips of paper that indicate if someone else has reserved that seat down the line. On newer trains the reservation info is on an LCD screen above the seats.

    7. Trains to Airports
    Many cities now have airport service by train. Most go to the heart of the city (to the central train station) where you'll usually find hotels. This means that you can also get to the airport from many cities; you don't have to return to the city the airport is in on your last day in Europe as long as the train into that city stops at the airport.

    8. Am I Valid?
    Many countries have you validate your ticket before you get on the train. This prevents multiple use of the ticket, especially if the ticket is regional and valid for 90 days. Validation machines are usually yellow-orange in color and your ticket will have an arrow telling you which end to validate.

    9. So What's Cheap?
    In general, trains in the southern part of Europe are cheaper than trains in the north. Slower trains are also cheaper than those slick, fast ones. Also, ask about special passes that might be available in the country in which you're traveling.

    10. Save Money (or at least touring time) on Overnight Trains
    Consider taking longer trips on an overnight train. You can often buy a couchette or bunk on a train from the conductor (check when you purchase your ticket). You'll save a hotel and a day of travel.

  2. #2
    2d0k is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Leyte, Philippines

  3. #3
    Traveller is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

  4. #4
    emily47 is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009



    Wow....... Awesome. Great Tips. Thanks for sharing thiese Tips. These tips are really very useful for all. if sometimes having any problem within your trip, then it will really help, keep sharing and reading such type of informative discussion.

    Have a nice time

  5. #5
    dbrosnan is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Currently Auckland

    Default English versus irish

    Here is another tip that I found really useful when backpacking through europe.

    I found the Tourist information offices to be very unhelpful and I couldn't work out why.

    I am Irish. When I went up to the tourism desks the first thing they used say was: "English?". I used answer yes to this as I thought they were asking me what language I spoke so I said yes. They then would give me very poor information and not be friendly at all.

    Then someone told met that they were asking what nationality I was. So from then on I started answering there quetion by saying I was irish and then they were very helpful. So it turns on Tourist information offices aren't very helpful if you say you are english.

  6. #6
    abeja_reina_1989 is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010


    I've always wanted to go. Thanks for all the info

  7. #7
    adrina34smit is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012


    I think these tips are really very useful for all because if you feel any problem within your trip, then it will really help.

  8. #8
    henryka_marks is offline Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012


    I am grateful to for sharing precious information and worthy tips for European Train Travel.
    I would like to go on holidays with Cheap Campervan Rental

  9. #9
    spider_web is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2013


    great tips . thanks for your tips .
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2012


    Travelling is a fascinating way to discover and know the world. There are many different type of transport available in different type of country. Thanks for allotting such useful details about european train travel.

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