FAQ

Rail Pass FAQ - European Rail Pass Frequently Asked Questions;

Rail Pass FAQ - European Rail Pass A-Z

Europe Rail Pass FAQ - European Rail Pass A-Z

nb: We sell more than just Rail Passes
(see left side links on this website for 100s & 100s of choices)

 

 

Rail Pass Basics

 

Using Your Pass

  Payment of Your Order   While Traveling   Reservations  
                     
  Rail Pass Policies   My Rail Pass Order   Shipping & Delivery   At the Train Station      
                     
  Choosing Your Pass   Ordering Your Pass   Exchanges & Refunds   Railway Services      
                     
  Booking a Rail Pass   Coupons   Lost or Stolen Tickets   Travel Planning      

 

Rail Pass Basics

Should I purchase a rail pass or city-to-city tickets to explore Europe?

www.Rail-Pass.com offers both city-to-city train tickets and rail passes, providing excellent options for travelers looking to explore European countries. Rail passes are an excellent value if you want flexibility, if you plan to travel extensively throughout one or several countries, or if you plan to cover long distances during your travels. Passes provide access to most rail routes and allow you hassle-free travel, since you won’t have to wait in lines at the train station to get tickets. In some cases, you will still have to make seat reservations or pay supplements, but many routes allow for unlimited pass use without any extra fees.

City-to-city tickets are good for short distance travel, such as travel from one point to another within a country (like between Rome and Florence) or if you only plan to visit only one or two places (like Paris and Amsterdam). The drawbacks to city-to-city tickets are having to wait in ticket lines, dealing with local currencies and languages, and higher prices. Purchasing individual train tickets, however, is an ideal option for those who plan on limited travel and who already know their exact destinations prior to departure. There are a number of options for individual train tickets, depending on the destination and type of train you choose.

What type of pass should I purchase for travel in Europe?

With thousands of different pass and ticket combinations from which to chose, purchasing a ticket or pass can be confusing. www.Rail-Pass.com uses state-of-the-art technology that connects directly to European rail reservations systems.

To determine which option is best for you, it helps to define your travel plans. Which and how many countries do you plan to visit? Are you planning to travel in a single country? Are you going to two countries? Are you looking to explore three or four countries? Do you want to experience more than four countries? Knowing the number of countries you want to visit will help you determine whether a single-country or global pass is best for you.

How many days of train travel do you need? A rail pass is based on days of travel, not the number of train rides, so you will need to know the number of calendar days you will be travelling by train in order to purchase the correct number of travel days. How long do you need the pass to be valid? The number of days you need the pass to be valid is equivalent to the length of your entire trip, not how many days you will be on the train. So if you’re going to Germany for a month, but only plan on using the train for, say, 3 days at the beginning of your trip and 2 days at the end of your trip, you will need the pass to be valid for 30 days. Will you be taking trains frequently (in which case an unlimited, consecutive-day pass might be best) or just a few long trips here and there (in which case you might do better with a flexipass, which is good for a certain number of travel days within a set time frame)? How many people are traveling, and what are their ages? Most passes offer adult, youth, and senior fares. Generally, the adult passes are in 1st class, while the youth pass is available as either a 1st and 2nd class pass. Up to two children aged 4–11 will be issued a pass for free when traveling with an adult passholder.

When and how do I make a seat reservation on trains in Europe?

You must be in possession of a valid rail pass that covers the routing of the train in order to make a reservation. It is helpful to research the train schedules before making a request.

Reservations are required for: Sleeping accommodations on all overnight trains; most high-speed trains (e.g. Eurostar, TGV, TAV, Thalys); Long Distance and Express Trains in Spain, Portugal, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe; and Long Distance and Express Trains during high season (July and August). You can make a reservation at the station or by contacting the participating railway company directly.

 


 

Rail Pass Policies

How do I use the bonuses that come with rail passes?

Take advantage of extra pass benefits by contacting the individual company in advance, or show them your pass when you make your booking. Some offers may require an advance reservation, so make sure you check if this applies to that specific offer.

You can see the offers, and their rules, listed on the Benefits page of the Pass Guide.

Does each trip I take require using a separate day of travel on my rail pass?

No. You may take as many trains as you like within the 24-hour period for each day on your pass.

Can I use my rail pass on any train within its area of coverage?

In most European countries, the vast majority of train lines are part of a national rail service, and any rail pass will usually be valid on all of those trains.

However, many countries also feature a handful of private rail lines, plus regional or urban commuter trains, and a rail pass may or may not be valid on those (or, in some cases, a pass will only get you a discount on certain private scenic lines). You must read the rules of the pass for each country to determine which train lines are included.

For example: In Italy, the local Metros (urban subway systems) are not included on the Italy pass.

What is the "validity period" of a rail pass?

The duration of time the pass will be valid, once you validate it at your first train station. For example, Eurail passes come in 15-day, 22-day, and 1–, 2–, and 3-month versions. If you validate a two-month pass on May 15th, it will be valid until July 14th.

What is the 7 p.m. rule?

With a flexipass, rail days are normally counted from midnight to midnight.

However, when traveling on a direct overnight train you do not have to burn two rail days. On any train that departs after 7 p.m. (19:00 on European train schedules) and arrives at its final stop after 4 a.m. (04:00), you only need to enter the arrival date on your rail pass calendar.

What is a travel day on a rail pass?

A travel day is a 24-hour period during which you can travel on trains with your rail pass. It lasts from 12 a.m. (midnight) to 11:59 p.m. on the same calendar day—though, for overnight trains departing after 7 p.m., you need only enter the following day's date on your pass.

What is the difference between a flexipass and a consecutive-day pass?

A consecutive-day pass provides unlimited rail travel for the duration of the pass, once it has been validated. For example, if you buy a one-month pass you can travel on as many trains as you like on any day during that month.

A flexipass gives the pass-holder a two month period during which to use the number of days specified by pass. For example, if you buy a two-month flexipass with 10 days of travel, you can use each of those ten days at any point during the 60-day validity period.

Why should I buy my rail pass from Rail-Pass.com?

www.Rail-Pass.com has sold more than 1/2 million passes and offers competitive pricing, expert knowledge, and 24/7 experienced customer service.

What is a rail pass?

A rail pass allows a passholder to travel by train without purchasing a ticket, though you may be required to purchase seat reservations on some trains. Rail passes are valid either for travel throughout a single country or in several countries, and have varying time frames in which they can be used.

 


 

Choosing Your Pass

What is the difference between 1st and 2nd class?

First-class seating is more spacious, with fewer seats per compartment, and usually more quiet. There is more room for luggage and it will generally be less crowded as most passengers typically travel in second class. First-class accommodations may also include laptop connection plugs, complimentary soft drinks, free newspapers, leather seats, and/or meals. There are benefits on overnight trains as well; first-class passengers are usually allocated a single or double sleeper compartment, while those in second class may be required to occupy couchettes with up to six persons per compartment.

NOTE: If you have purchased a First Class Eurail pass you must purchase first-class seat reservations.

What's the difference between a rail pass and a train ticket?

A train ticket is valid for travel from Point A to Point B, like the ones available on ItaliaRail.com for Italy. A rail pass allows you ride on as many trains as you can take in a travel day (24 hours). Some trains do require you make a seat reservation ahead of time—included with a train ticket; as a separate purchase with a rail pass.

How can I compare the price of a rail pass and reservations to that of train tickets?

You can start with cost of the rail pass and then add the costs of any required seat reservations. Then total the cost of individual train tickets for your planned routes. (Please refer to the point-to-point comparison on the results pages.)

In general, the more travel days and more countries through which you plan to travel, the better value a rail pass offers. See it all!

How do I know the right rail pass to choose, and how many days I should purchase?

You need to determine what countries you plan to travel through and how many days you will spend in each country to determine the best pass for your needs. Please refer to the comparison chart on the pass results page for the most detailed information. Just fill in the details in the search field, and we will find you the best pass for your trip.

 


 

Booking a Rail Pass

Do you offer any discounts?

Eurail passes will have promotional offers, typically during the early spring and late fall. Travelers who sign up for our newsletter are notified in advance of upcoming promotions so they can book early when there is greater availability. Otherwise, pricing is standardized for rail passes and all legitimate vendors must sell passes at the official price. In terms of different types of passes, there are discounts for youths (ages 12–28), and for groups of two to five people traveling together (called a Saver Pass). Children ages 4–11 are free. For a complete list of discounts currently on offer, visit our Deals page.

Do I need to book a rail pass for everyone in my traveling party, including children and infants?

Children under four travel for free and will not require a pass. Up to two children ages 4-11 also travel for free when traveling with an adult using a rail pass.

If more than two children are traveling, extra children must purchase youth fare passes. Seat, couchette, sleeper, and other reservations must be made even for a child traveling for free, and will still incur the associated reservation fees.

I made a mistake when I ordered my rail pass. How can I correct it?

Depending on the mistake that has been made, and if your pass has not yet been activated, we can issue you a new rail pass. You will need to send the incorrect pass back to us via a traceable shipping method and pay a new shipping fee.

What information do I need to provide when booking a rail pass? Do the names on the rail pass and the passports have to match?

You will need to provide the name and country of residence for each passenger exactly as those items appear on his or her passport.

Can I share my rail pass with others (family, friends)?

A pass is only valid for the person whose name is on it, and you cannot share an individual rail pass.

However, there are Saver passes that are valid for two to five adults traveling together. Also, many passes allow up to two children (aged 4–11) to travel with each adult in possession of a valid rail pass.

Are there discounts available for rail passes?

Beyond train travel, there are additional benefits associated with each rail pass. Examples of discounts include free or discounted ferry and bus fares, discounts on hotel and hostel reservations, and discounts on tours or attractions.

 


 

Using Your Pass

Which is better, a consecutive-day pass or a flexipass?

Both passes have their benefits. A consecutive-day pass is great if you are roaming and don't know exactly where you are going or how long it will take you. However, it tends to be more expensive.

A flexipass only allows limited days of travel, so more planning needs to go into your itinerary. However, it costs less than a consecutive-day pass and is great for travelers on a budget and who plan to make only a few long train journeys scattered throughout their trip.

What is a flexipass?

Flexible travel days give the pass-holder a two-month period from the validation date to utilize the number of days they have purchased for their pass. For example, if you buy a two-month flexipass with 10 days of travel, you can use each of those ten days at any point during the 60-day validity period.

What is a consecutive-day pass?

A consecutive-day pass provides unlimited rail travel for the duration of the pass, once it has been validated. For example, if you buy a month-long pass you can travel on as many trains as you like on any day during that month.

Can I travel through a country not covered by my pass?

You may travel through it only after you purchase a ticket for the fare, as your rail pass will not be valid in this country.

Can I travel back and forth between countries?

Yes, you may visit any country that is covered by your pass as many times as you wish. If you travel through a country where your pass is not valid you will have to buy a ticket to cover that portion of the trip. In Italy, you can do this on ItaliaRail.com.

Does it matter which country I start in?

You may start using your rail pass in any country in which your pass is valid.

Check out our 2-Country, 3-Country, and 4-Country pass combinations to see what countries you can visit!

What popular routes can I take with my Global Pass?

There are so many exciting options with the Global Pass. Below are a few of the most popular routes offered with this comprehensive rail pass:

  • Amsterdam–Berlin
  • Amsterdam–Brussels
  • Barcelona–Gijon
  • Berlin–Prague
  • London–Paris
  • Madrid–Barcelona
  • Madrid–Granada
  • Madrid–Malaga
  • Munich–Salzburg
  • Paris–Amsterdam
  • Paris–Barcelona
  • Paris–Geneva
  • Paris–Rome
  • Prague–Vienna
  • Rome–Florence
  • Rome–Milan
  • Rome–Venice
  • Venice–Milan
  • Vienna–Budapest
  • Vienna–Venice

“Activate my rail pass.” What does that mean, and how do I do it?

  • A Eurail pass must be activated before it can be used. Activation can be done at a major train station ticket window or at a Eurail / Interrail Aid Office.
  • An activated pass will show the first and last day of validity of the pass.
  • Activation must take place within 11 months of the issuing date stamp in the upper right corner of your pass.
  • Activation on board by the train inspector is allowed only if the passholder is entering the valid country on a train from a country where the pass is not valid.
  • In this case, the passholder must report to the train staff immediately upon boarding the train—do not wait for a conductor to come to you.
  • Failure to activate your pass will result in a payment of the full-fare ticket and a maximum fine of €200.

 


 

My Rail Pass Order

How do I order a European rail pass?

Once you have decided which countries you wish to visit and how many travel days you will need for each destination, you can order the pass online at www.Rail-Pass.com

How far in advance should I order my rail pass?

Rail passes must be printed then shipped to you. We will need a minimum of 5 days within the U.S. to process your order, 10 days for out-of-country orders. Delivery options in the U.S. include USPS Priority (3–5 days), FedEx 2Day Domestic, and FedEx Standard Overnight.

What extra fees should I expect for my rail pass?

If you are traveling on a high-speed train or overnight train (especially in France and Italy) a seat reservation is mandatory. Same goes for most international trains. Each train reservation will incur a fee. Fees for reservations start at €10 for a seat and can range upward, depending on the type of overnight train accommodations you select.

If your plans include a ferry crossing, such as between Italy and Greece, reservations are required. These fares are discounted for Eurail / interrail passholders. If your routing takes you through a country that is not included on your pass, you will be required to purchase a ticket covering that portion of the trip.

When can I expect to receive my rail passes?

For Rail Pass Orders: We must print and ship the rail pass to you. If your order is completed by 3:00 p.m. ET, it will be shipped out that day in the manner you select. Please be sure you leave enough time for your order to reach you prior to departure. No orders are shipped on Saturdays, Sundays, or U.S. holidays. www.Rail-Pass.com is not responsible for weather-related delays or situations beyond our control. For questions regarding delivery, include your Order ID number and name in an email to info@rail-pass.com. Please review our Shipping Information page for more information.

Is it possible to change the name on my rail pass?

It is possible to change the name on a pass so long as the pass has not been used. This requires you sending the pass back to the issuing office (where it was printed) in order to have the pass re-issued with the new name(s). Please send an email with your Order ID number and the correct information for all persons named on the pass.

Is it possible to extend my rail pass?

No, unfortunately you can not extend the validity of your pass. You may purchase a new pass to cover additional days.

How do I cancel a European rail pass?

You can receive a refund if the pass is not used or activated before the first day of validity. This can be done either by railway staff or by sending the pass back to the issuing agency.

Should I buy travel insurance for my train trip in Europe?

Purchasing travel insurance is a good idea. It can include coverage if you are injured or sick and have to cancel your trip. It can also cover your lost or stolen rail pass or other important travel documents. It is best to check with your travel insurance provider for a list of what is covered.

How do I protect my rail pass if it's lost or stolen?

With Traveler Insurance.

How can I check the status of my order?

You can email us at   service@rail-pass.com. Our customer service team will check the status of your order and advise on shipment tracking, if available.

Is it possible to change the name on my rail pass?

It is possible to change the name on a pass so long as the pass has not been used? 

This requires you sending the pass back to the issuing office (where it was printed) in order to have the pass re-issued with the new name(s).
 
Please send an email with your Order ID number and the correct information for all persons named on the pass.

 


 

Ordering Your Pass

Can I protect my pass against loss and theft?

Yes, purchasing travel insurance is recommended.

Can I print my pass as an e-ticket?

No, rail passes must be printed by an authorized company and shipped to you.

Are there any extra order fees?

There are shipping fees.

How far in advance can I buy my pass?

A rail pass can be purchased up to 11 months prior to departure.

 



Coupons

How can I use my coupon?

Bring your pass to the place where it will be redeemed (ferry crossing ticket office, etc.) and show it to the right employee. In the case of hotels, passengers must call in advance to ask about their rules on using the discount.

Can I sell or give my coupon to another person?

No, coupons are not interchangeable. They must be used in conjunction with your pass and are a benefit of the Eurail pass. All is explained in the pass guide, along with directions on the use of coupons.

I didn't receive my coupon, what should I do?

Not all benefits require a coupon. Most merely require you to show your rail pass—though some do require advance reservations.

 


 

Payment of Your Order

How can I pay for my pass?

We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover credit cards using the Paymentech Payment Gateway & Paypal. Personal and account information is secure on this site. We employ the latest 128-bit encryption SSL technology on all parts of our site that require any personal information. Please be sure to provide an exact billing address and telephone number; incorrect information may cause a delay in processing the order. We reserve the right to request additional identification by email or telephone.

Can I split the costs between multiple credit cards or pay in installments?

You can contact us at our toll-free U.S. number to pay with multiple cards. However, a pass cannot be paid in installments.

Can I buy Interrail & Eurail passes in Europe?

Not all passes are available for sale in Europe, and it will depend on which country you are in whether you can purchase a pass. Passes that can be purchased are usually priced higher than they would be through www.Rail-Pass.com. Passes can be purchased at Interrail / Eurail Aid Offices, located at major European train stations. (Actually 3 that we know of)

 



Shipping & Delivery

What are my options for delivery?

Most orders received before 3pm Afternoon, Monday to Friday, will be shipped the same day. Orders after 3pm Afternoon will be shipped the next business day. We do not ship on Saturday, Sunday or holidays, so please allow an additional 24 to 48 hours for weekend orders. Passes are shipped via USPS or FedEx domestically, and using TNT internationally. Please note that we cannot deliver to P.O. boxes when shipping with either FedEx or TNT.

Domestic USA Shipping: Our standard shipping for passes is Priority Mail by the U.S. Postal Service, which takes 3–5 business days, but you can upgrade to FedEx 2-3 day Domestic or FedEx Standard Overnight if your order requires a quicker ship time. We provide tracking number for all packages and a signature is required for delivery of the package.

Global Shipping: We ship passes & tickets anywhere in the world via TNT and Fedex. Average international shipments are sent and usually received in 10 business days, except in remote areas where it might require additional time. Priority international shipments will arrive in most countries between 5-6 business days. International orders are subject to additional verification before we can send the order to you. Please allow for additional time to process your order. Some products require additional processing, and, as a result, orders will not be shipped same day. Please be sure to also review our Privacy Policy.

Rates: You can select your preferred shipping option at the time of purchase: We offer Free Shipping for orders received more than 15 days before your departure for Canada and USA residents. USPS Priority (3–5 business days) for USD $10; Fedex Domestic 2-3 days for USD $25; FedEx Domestic Overnight for USD $35; International Shipping (up to 10 business days) for USD $30; International Shipping (5 business days) for USD $50.

Rush Orders: It is possible to place a rush order. Please email us at for assistance and be sure to include your Order ID number, name, address, and departure date.
 
For More Information: Please contact us

Will my rail pass be electronic?

Rail passes cannot be issued electronically. They must be printed and shipped.

Can you ship my rail pass to a P.O. box?

We can ship to a P.O Box if your residence is in the U.S. and you choose USPS. It still must be signed for. All other forms of delivery require a street address and must be signed for.

Can you ship my pass to an APO address? 

We can ship to an APO, however it can take 4-6 weeks to arrive to an APO address.

Can someone else sign for the delivery of my pass?

Yes, however once the package has been signed for we are no longer responsible for the package or its contents.

 


 

Exchanges & Refunds

A rail strike in Europe prevented me from fully using my rail pass. Can I get a refund on the unused days?

No is usual answer. You can adjust pass prior to leaving. Strikes are in the press to happening. So you have plenty of notice under normal circumstances.

Train strikes unfortunately happen, which can frustrate many customers. We suggest that you work directly with the railway company when strikes occur to file a claim.

Can I get a refund for unused days on my rail pass?

No, there are no refunds for unused days.

Can I exchange or refund my rail pass while in Europe?

No. Rail passes can only be exchanged or refunded by the issuing office.

My plans have changed and I won't be able to use my rail pass. Can I get a refund?

Eurail & Interrail passes that have not been used or validated may be returned for a refund with a 15% penalty. They must be sent back, within one year of the issue date, and in a trackable manner to...

Rail Tickets & Railpass Refunds
Hillside
3, Hampton Fields
Oswestry
Shropshire
SY11 1TL
United Kingdom

IMPORTANT: Eurail & Interrail Free Day Promotion Passes are not refundable or exchangeable.

Can I return my rail pass or train ticket for a refund?

Rail passes are refundable at 85% of pass value if unused (and unvalidated) and returned to the address listed below within one year of the issue date.

Train Tickets: Many train tickets are non-refundable and non-changeable. Some train tickets are 75%–80% refundable if canceled within 72 hours after booking.

Pass Exchanges: Email first. Pass exchanges must be made via the address listed above. Once your request is received in our office, we will exchange the pass. If there is a rate increase, you will just pay the difference in price plus a USD $15 exchange fee and new shipping charges. If the exchange causes a rate decrease, you will be charged a 15% cancellation penalty on the old pass, the cost of the new pass, plus a new shipping fee.

 



Lost or Stolen Tickets

1st contact the police as a theft has occured. Get a crime reference number

2nd Contact bank and credit card companies to cancel cards. Get a crime reference number

3rd Contact bank to do with travel cheques. Get a crime reference number

4th is your passport stolen, if so get in touch with your embassy (Embassy can borrow you money in an emergency). Get a crime reference number

5th Get a line of credit separate from original bank and credit cards from parents of friends (this gives you money to book a hotel for the night)

6th Is your flight or ferry tickets stolen also. Contact airline or ferry. Get a crime reference number

  • GET PROOF OF CONTACT WITH ALL OF THE ABOVE for your Travel Insurance Company. Get a crime reference number
  • GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR TRAVEL INSURANCE COMPANY. They will ask for proof and reference number for all of the above


A rail strike in Europe prevented me from fully using my rail pass. Can I get a refund on the unused days?

No is usual answer. You can adjust pass prior to leaving. Strikes are in the press to happening. So you have plenty of notice under normal circumstances.

Train strikes unfortunately happen, which can frustrate many customers. We suggest that you work directly with the railway company when strikes occur to file a claim.

Can I get a refund for unused days on my rail pass?

No, there are no refunds for unused days.

Can I exchange or refund my rail pass while in Europe?

No. Rail passes can only be exchanged or refunded by the issuing office.

My plans have changed and I won't be able to use my rail pass. Can I get a refund?

Eurail & Interrail passes that have not been used or validated may be returned for a refund with a 15% penalty. They must be sent back, within one year of the issue date, and in a trackable manner to...

Rail Tickets & Railpass Theft
Hillside
3, Hampton Fields
Oswestry
Shropshire
SY11 1TL
United Kingdom

IMPORTANT: Eurail & Interrail Free Day Promotion Passes are not refundable or exchangeable.

Can I return my rail pass or train ticket for a refund?

Rail passes are refundable at 85% of pass value if unused (and unvalidated) and returned to the address listed below within one year of the issue date.

Train Tickets: Many train tickets are non-refundable and non-changeable. Some train tickets are 75%–80% refundable if canceled within 72 hours after booking.

Pass Exchanges: Email first. Pass exchanges must be made via the address listed above. Once your request is received in our office, we will exchange the pass. If there is a rate increase, you will just pay the difference in price plus a USD $15 exchange fee and new shipping charges. If the exchange causes a rate decrease, you will be charged a 15% cancellation penalty on the old pass, the cost of the new pass, plus a new shipping fee.

 



While Traveling

Will there be somebody to help me with my luggage on the train?

Baggage can be checked on trains if the passenger comes early and then waits late to pick it up, so it can be quite a hassle. Packing light is recommended so that passengers can store their bags in the bins on the train instead. There is no weight limitation on baggage for trains (except on few trains, such as Eurostar and French-Spanish Hotel trains). Trains have either overhead storage racks throughout the car, storage room behind the back of the seat, and/or luggage areas at ends of the car.

NOTE: Baggage kept by the passenger and placed in the baggage racks remains the sole responsibility of the passenger. The railroads assume no responsibility in case of loss or theft. Excess baggage or bulky pieces must be carried in the baggage car and must be checked before departure. Baggage can sometimes be checked through in advance upon presentation of a valid rail ticket. To ensure proper delivery, it is recommended to confirm the minimum check-in time at your departure station. Sometimes checked baggage will travel on a different train than the passenger, and may take a few days to arrive. A fee is charged for this service. Station Storage: Most stations provide "left luggage" storage-rooms or lockers for baggage storage, and many stations have luggage carts. When porters are available, they can be easily recognized by their uniform or official badge.

What if I miss my train in Europe?

With a rail pass, you can just catch the next train (though you may be required to get another seat reservation for certain high-speed trains).

What happens if there is a train strike in Europe?

Train strikes, like other transportation strikes, are out of our control. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that you will be refunded in the event of a strike. It can take up to six months to get a final response from the railway on these matters.

Can I print any tickets at train stations in Europe?

Yes, many train tickets are issued with the ability to print at train station kiosks or at home. Some tickets also come with the ability to present an electronic confirmation on your mobile device.

What does it mean to "validate" a rail pass or train ticket in Europe?

For Rail Passes: All rail passes must be validated twice. The first stamp is printed automatically by our office and will appear on the top right hand corner of the pass. You must begin use of this pass within 11 months of this validation. On your first day of train travel, all people listed on the pass must go to the ticket office of the train station and have an official validate the pass again. The station official should put a second stamp on the pass under the first one. Please note that the pass MUST be validated at the station—a conductor on a train cannot validate the pass. If you do not validate the pass, or if you tamper with the pass in any way, the conductor has the right to confiscate it, at which time the unused part of the pass is non-refundable. If you are not able to start using the pass within 11 months of its printed date, you will need to return this pass and we will issue you a new pass.

What are night trains?

Overnight trains and hotel trains offer a range of accommodations, including sleepers, couchettes, and sleeperettes. All sleepers and couchettes convert from seats to berths for nighttime travel, and back to seats for daytime travel. Sleeper Compartments have washbasins, soap, towels, shaver plug, mineral water, and a lockable door. The berths come with pillow, sheets, and a duvet or blanket. Stewards are present in sleeper cars to assist passengers and take care of all border-crossing procedures. Most stewards speak the languages of the countries the train will pass through as well as English. Compartments are gender-specific unless booked by couples or families. Fares for sleepers require a First Class ticket or a rail pass plus the sleeper supplement. First Class/rail pass passengers can book a single, double, or triple sleeper. Single passengers can reserve a double sleeper, but they may have to share with another passenger based on availability.

Couchettes are compartments with berths for 4–6 people. Each berth has a pillow, sheets, and blankets. Washbasins are not available in the compartments; shared restrooms are located at the end of the car. Berths can be booked individually or in groups. Compartments are non-gender specific and passengers are expected to sleep in their day clothes. Stewards are available only on international routes. Fares for couchettes require a First or Second Class ticket or a rail pass plus the couchette supplement.

Sleeperettes are seats in open coach cars that recline to allow passengers to sleep more comfortably. Seats may have small head pillows attached but no blankets are provided. Fares for sleeperettes require a First or Second Class ticket, or a rail pass and a reservation. There is normally no additional cost for sleeperettes; however, some hotel trains may charge a higher reservation fee for seats. Hotel trains combine long distance night travel with the security, privacy and comfort of a hotel stay. All compartments have locking doors, and there is access to dining cars. There are three levels of accommodation: Tourist, First Class, and Luxury Class. There are reclining Second Class sleeperette seats on certain trains. Tourist Class accommodations include 4 beds to a compartment. Toilets are found outside the compartment at the end of the car. First class accommodations include compartments with 1 to 2 beds. Toilet and shower facilities are located outside the compartment at the end of the car. Luxury Class accommodations include 1 to 2 beds per compartment and a private toilet and shower within the compartment.

There are several types of night or hotel trains in Europe: CityNightLine covers international routes between Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Trains have Deluxe, Economy, Couchette and Sleeperette accommodations. Deluxe compartments have 1–2 fixed beds, moveable chairs and tables, and a full washroom with shower. Economy sleepers have 2–4 beds (for families) and a shared washroom in the car. Deluxe and Economy accommodations include breakfast. Couchette and sleeperette passengers may buy breakfast at the bar. DB Nachtzug covers domestic routes in Germany and international routes to Denmark. Accommodations include Comfort, Couchette, and Sleeperettes. Comfort cabins have doors with key-card locks and private shower and toilet cabin. On German domestic routes a restaurant and bistro car is available.

Talgo Trains service domestic routes in Spain and international routes between Spain and France, Portugal, Italy, and Switzerland. Classes of accommodation include Luxury, First Class, Tourist, and Sleeperette. Dinner and breakfast is included for all passengers in single or double accommodation. Thello trains cover international routes between France and Italy. Trenhotel covers international routes between Spain and other European countries including Italy. Hotel Train Lusitania covers travel between Portugal and Spain. Accommodations include Luxury, First class and regular seats. Breakfast is included. Overnight Express services international routes between the Netherlands and Italy. Accommodations include Sleeper, Couchette and Sleeperette. Depending on class, accommodations include free meals or snacks. Please note that Eurail Pass holders must have "Benelux" as an associated country to ride this train, and Eurail Select Passes are not valid on this train.

Can I print my rail pass at the station?

No you cannot. All rail passes must be printed and mailed to passholder.

What happens if I forgot my rail pass but have my reservation and boarded the train?

You will be forced to purchase a full fare ticket and additionally can be fined up to €200. Alternately, you may be asked to leave the train at the next stop.

What do I need to show to the conductor when traveling by train with a rail pass?

You must show I.D. and a rail pass that has been validated before boarding the train. For trains that require seat reservations, you must also show your reservation.

What happens if I didn't fill out my rail pass before boarding the train?

Your rail pass is not valid until you validate it at the train station ticket office, and you also must fill out your travel date before boarding the first train on any day you intend to use it.

What language is spoken at the train station and on the train?

Announcements and other official business will typically be conducted in the language of the countries of departure and of arrival, though English is also sometimes added. In most of Europe, you will find English-speaking ticket agents and conductors—though learning to conduct the transaction in the local language is always appreciated.

What’s the difference between a seat reservation and a train ticket?

A seat reservation can be used in conjunction with a rail pass and grants you access to an assigned seat. A train ticket includes both your fare and, if required, the assigned seat reservation.

Can I purchase seat reservations from Rail-Pass.com once I’m already traveling in Europe?

We sell seat reservations for trains in most European countries - Email and ask   sales@rail-pass.com

 



At the Train Station

What other types of services are available at the station?

Most major train stations have a variety of services including food vendors, shops, assistance with tickets, newsstands (which is often where you purchase tickets for the local bus and subway system), left luggage (luggage storage), tourism information, hotel-booking services, and more.

Smaller stations will offer fewer services, but ticketing and some form of luggage storage are standard, as is a newsstand and, often, a place to eat.

Do the train stations offer services to help carry my luggage?

Yes, the major train stations are just beginning to offer this service—but please be careful and make sure you are working with a licensed operator.

Do I need to show my passport to board the train?

You will not need to show your passport to board the train, but you should have this in your possession when the conductor comes around to check your ticket.

Will there be someone to help me find my reserved seat on the train?

Carriage numbers and seat numbers are usually clearly marked, so you should have no trouble, but you can always ask a conductor for help.

Once on the train platform, how can I find my carriage or train car? Are first– and second-class carriages located in different spots and do they look different?

Some trains may split at certain junctions; one part going one way and the other another way or stopping. Make sure that you are seated in the right part of the train when you board. You can do this by looking at a diagram of your train, which is usually posted on the platform, by listening to announcements, or by asking an official.

In some cases, the platform itself may be marked with corresponding numbers or letters. Numbers on the outside of the train cars indicate whether they are First or Second Class.

How do I find my train?

The track number will be provided at the station before the train leaves the station.

If I arrive at the station early, will I be able to board my train?

No. You will only be able to board your train when your track number is announced.

Do I need to do anything with my rail pass before boarding the train?

IMPORTANT: You MUST validate your rail pass before boarding your first train. See an agent at a Customer Service Desk at the train station prior to boarding.

If you have already validated the pass and are using a consecutive-day pass, you can just hop on board any train from then on (though remember to validate any printed seat reservation slips in the box at the track before boarding).

If, however, you are using a flexipass, before boarding the train you must fill in the pass's calendar box with the day's date (or, if after 7 p.m. on an overnight train, the following day's date).

How do I connect between train stations in the same city?

If your connecting train is from the same station, you will just have to find the right track. If you're unsure where your connecting train departs from, ask the conductor on board your train. This information is not normally published in advance but closer to the time you will board the train.

Regional and local trains often use tracks in different areas of the train station, therefore you should allow plenty of time to make your connection. Do not worry if your connecting train departs from a different station; this is quite common, especially when connecting in big European capital cities, which often have many train stations. If this is the case, our system takes the additional travel into account and allows enough time for you to travel to the other station.

If the connecting train leaves from a different rail station in town, allow ample time to make the transfer. Usually, you can easily make the trek on public transportation, such as a bus or subway, or you may decide to catch a cab—although this can sometimes be challenging due to long taxi lines or heavy traffic in certain cities, such as Paris or London.

How early should I arrive at the train station prior to departure?

  • If you are just hopping a train, be there about 20 minutes prior to departure to be safe.
  • If you need to purchase a seat reservation at the station before boarding, arrive at least 30 minutes early to give yourself time to stand in line at the ticket counter or kiosk.
  • If you are arriving by air from an international destination and plan to get on a train directly, budget at least an hour to get to the train station from the airport, and another hour at the station to validate your pass and take care of any other reservations.

I just landed in Europe. How do I get to the train station from the airport?

There are a number of travel options to get from the airport to the train station. Most major airports have local train services that take you directly to a central rail station downtown, whereas others rely on shuttle buses or city buses. All also offer taxi services, though this can be quite expensive.

 


 

Railway Services

What should I do if I lose my luggage?

Most train stations have a lost and found office. If you lose your luggage on the train, it is best to contact the railway directly. Go here for a list of participating railway companies.

Can I take my bicycle on the train?

Whether you can take a bike on the train depends on the type of train.

For example, many high-speed trains will not carry bikes but most local trains will accept them. We recommend you check with the independent railways timetable to see if bicycles are allowed, and whether you will need an additional ticket to transport one.

Can I take my car on the train?

For the most part, no. Most trains in Europe transport passengers, luggage, and bicycles. There are a few national railways that offer auto trains, and we suggest you check with independent railway companies to find out more information on this service.

Is there help and special access for disabled travelers?

Most railway companies in Europe offer facilities for disabled passengers. Standards may vary between countries.

We recommend that you check the railway website for each country you are visiting to find out more. www.Rail-pass.com is not able to assist in the booking of disabled traveler services.

 



Travel Planning

Can I book hotels and hostels at Rail-Pass.com?

Yes, you can book all hotels at Rail-Pass.com .

Can I book sightseeing tours and activities through Rail-Pass.com?

Yes, you can book sightseeing tours and activities at www.Rail-Pass.com

 



Rail Pass Reservations

When and how do I make a seat reservation on trains in Europe?

You must be in possession of a valid rail pass that covers the routing of the train in order to make a reservation. It is helpful to research the train schedules before making a request.

Reservations are required for:

  • Sleeping accommodations on all overnight trains
  • Most high-speed trains (e.g. Eurostar, TGV, TAV, Thalys).
  • Long Distance and Express Trains in Spain.
  • Long Distance and Express Trains in Portugal.
  • Long Distance and Express Trains in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.
  • And Long Distance and Express Trains during high season (July and August).

You can make a reservation at the station or by contacting the participating railway company directly.

I missed my train. What should I do?

With a rail pass, just hop the next train. If required, you will have to purchase another seat reservation at the customer service desk or a self-service kiosk first.

Can I change seats after the train departs?

It is not likely. You would have to check with the conductor to find out if any open seats are available.

Should I buy my seat reservations prior to leaving North America, or can I just get them at the train stations in Europe?

You do not have to purchase your seat reservations prior to leaving home.

HOWEVER, there is no guarantee that the first train you want when you arrive at the station will still have seats available. So if it is a train you MUST be on, we would advise you to book your reservations ahead of time through the railway you intend to travel on. If it is an overnight train, we recommend you book in advance as they can sell out quickly and have limited accommodations.

What happens if I don’t pay for my reservations before the expiration date?

This is not an option. You must pay for your reservations at the time you book them.

Are reservations included in my pass?

No, seat reservations are not included and must be purchased separately.

How can we make sure the whole group is seated together?

Currently there is no way to guarantee seat location; seats are assigned by the rail line and you cannot choose specific seating.

Do I need to buy a reservation if I already have a rail pass? And how do I book one?

Reservations are mandatory for most high-speed service and overnight trains. While it is possible to secure reservations from train stations during your trip, pass-holder seats are limited on many high-speed trains, making it difficult to secure a seat on a specific train without making your reservations prior to departure.

Remember: A rail pass does not guarantee a seat on the train. Please note: Rail-Pass.com can now make reservations. You can now book via the participating railway company on our website.

Reservations are required on:

  • Sleeping accommodations on all overnight trains.
  • Most high-speed trains (e.g. Eurostar, TGV, TAV, Thalys).
  • Long distance and express trains in Spain.
  • Long distance and express trains in Portugal.Long distance and express trains in Scandinavia.
  • Long distance and express trains in Eastern Europe.
  • And long distance and express trains in many countries during high season (Jul-Aug).

On many regional European trains, reservations are not necessary; however in some countries (particularly France, Italy, and Spain), a pass or a ticket does not guarantee a seat, so reservations are highly recommended. We also recommend reservations to guarantee a space on any particular train, date, and time.

To make a reservation:

There are additional charges for seat reservations, sleepers, couchettes, and travel on certain high-speed trains. You must be in possession of a valid rail pass that covers the routing of the train. It is helpful to research the train schedules before making a request.

When to make a reservation: In order to avoid being assessed a fine on board, we strongly recommend that you make a reservation in advance. Reservations can be made at a train station or in some cases, electronically via the participating railway website prior to travel.

Seat vs. Sleeper Reservations: Private cabins include 1–2 berths in First Class and 2–3 berths in Second Class. Sleeper prices are generally lower in Italy, Scandinavia, and Eastern Europe. Prices are higher on certain quality trains such as Hotel trains between France and Spain. Couchettes are community cabins and include six berths in Second Class and four berths in First Class, if available (mostly in France). Most British sleepers and ferry crossing reservations must be made in Britain.

Changing Reservations: Most reservations are non-refundable and non-changeable.

Is it possible to avoid making train reservations?

  • Only on trains that do not require seat reservations. You can hop on and off the majority of local and regional trains in the countries covered by your pass at will, but a good rule of thumb is that reservations are usually required on premium high-speed trains, including...
  • Overnight trains, high-speed trains, and international trains. Other popular trains might require passengers to purchase a seat reservation in addition to the cost of the pass. Trains offer seat reservations starting at €10 per seat and ranging up to the cost of a single sleeper for one person (available with a First Class pass). It’s important that you check with us to find out exactly which trains need reservations and what the extra costs may be.
  • The various types of Eurail & Interrail passes, from the Global Pass to the Single Country Pass, exist because of the cooperation between some 28 European countries. That said, each national railway has its own set of rules and regulations, and the rules regarding reservations vary from country to country. Please refer to participating railways for complete rules.
  • In France, the TGV and InterCity trains require seat reservations. The cost for a seat reservation is about €10 per seat.
  • In Germany, trains that require seat reservations include the ICE trains, IC (Inner City) trains, and EC (Eurocity) trains. In addition, any cross-border day train will require a seat reservation.
  • In Italy, you must reserve seats on IC (InterCity), EC (EuroCity), Frecciarossa, and Frecciabianca trains starting at €10 per seat. If you are traveling on International trains (between countries), you will also need a seat reservations. For example, if you take the Thalys train from Paris to Amsterdam and you have a First Class rail pass, you can choose a First Class seat reservation for an additional cost of €90 per seat. If you have a Second Class pass, the cost of the seat reservation is €60 per person.

You will have to wait until you are in Europe and head to the station to make the reservation. 

PLEASE NOTE: Always ask at ticket office of the train station about need for reservation of seats. Ask a conductor prior to boarding the train, This is very easy to do. Just ask. If you board the train without a reservation you can be fined up to €80 per person and have your rail pass confiscated, which means you'll lose whatever days of travel you have left on the pass. Take heart in knowing that if the train you want requires a reservation, that reservation is required for all passengers, not just rail pass holders. When you buy a point-to-point ticket, any required seat reservations is automatically included in the total price.

 

 

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