Europe By Train: Nine Tips

December 5, 2013

Traveling Europe by train can be quite an eye-opening experience, and it can be a lot less stressful than traveling by plane or by car.

You won’t have to worry about getting stuck in security lines or navigate dense traffic and you’ll get to meet very interesting people when you travel on the train, moving freely through the cars. You’ll get to relax while you make your way to your destination. Once you know where you’re headed, consider these tips to make rail travel easier.

Decide What Type Of Train You’re Taking. There are four main types of trains that operate in Europe: high speed, night trains, regional trains or scenic train routes. You’ll find different types of trains throughout the continent.

Get A Rail Pass. There are many web sites where you can order rail passes, many of which allow you to travel in or through multiple countries in a single trip.  You can get a Eurail pass through a collaboration of 27 European countries. Rail Europe offers another option. There, you can book a trip based on plans you’ve made, or you can search for rail passes in the country you’re interested in, to travel as you go. These sites sell passes good for travel in just a single country or passes that can be used in many countries.

Activate Your Rail Pass. You’ll need to activate your pass before you travel, and some companies require activation within a specific time frame.

Without Rail Pass, Get A Train Ticket. If you’re not going to purchase a rail pass, you should be prepared to purchase train tickets at every station you wish to depart from.

Keep Your Time Table Handy. You’ll want to know exactly when and where your train arrives, and when it leaves. There’s nothing worse than arriving at a train station after a frantic rush, only to realize that you’ve missed your train. Consult the timetable frequently, so that you know when you’ll leave and when you can expect to arrive.

Always Get To The Station Early. If you give yourself extra time, you can relax before your trip. Get snacks, batteries for your mp3 player or reading materials, or even prepare by freshening yourself up to feel better as you travel.

Be Sure To Mark Your Rail Pass With The Date of Travel. If you do not mark each travel date every day in the travel report for days that you use your rail pass, you could be hit with hefty full-fare ticket prices when stewards check your ticket.

Catch Your Train And Enjoy Yourself. Board your train, find your cabin, settle in and relax. Socialize if that’s on your agenda, or settle in and relax by yourself if you’d rather not be a social butterfly. Watch the scenery pass by and take comfort in the fact that you’ll arrive at your destination relaxed and ready for whatever comes your way.

Be Sure to Return Your Travel Report After Your Trip. It is important to return your Travel report to the issuing company.  Depending on the service you use, you may be rewarded for this deed with a surprise.

Traveling through Europe by train is one way to make memories before you reach your destination. If you choose this travel method, and are in search of other travel tips, sign up with Trekeffect and announce your plans. You can get recommendations and feedback from other users, and share your plans with your friends.

-April Bamburg

Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips & Tricks

Book your accommodations

Let's face it.  Expedia, (and all the other hotel booking engines) typically earn huge margins off of you.  You might think you're getting a deal, but you're not getting a deal.  Want the best deal when you book your hotels?   Of course you do! With Trekeffect you can get FREE access to discounted hotel prices and save a bunch of money.  

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Shop for Travel Essentials

Get all of your essential travel gear right from our store. We hand pick the best travel products. Get everything from luggage to camping gear and other travel accessories for your trip. 

Book your flight

Find cheap flights using SkyScanner. This search engine is are our favorite, making sure you get the best deal for tickets all over the world.  They are great at aggregating flights from multiple providers.  

Don't forget travel insurance

Protects yourself against illness, injury, theft, and even cancellations with travel insurance. You're buying comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. We never recommend traveling without it. We’ve been using World Nomads, a great company, with great service and highly recommend them.

     - World Nomads (for everyone below 70)

     - Travelx Insurance (for those over 70)

Looking for the best companies to save money with?

Check out our resource page for the absolute best companies to use when you travel! We list our favorite companies that save people the most money when they travel and we think it will help you too!

Disclosure: Some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we earn a commission if you make a purchase. We only recommend products and companies we use and the income keeps the community supported. 

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April Bamburg
April Bamburg is a freelance writer specializing in community news, travel writing, press releases and other blog posts. She dreams of traveling the world and getting lost in Italy, Turkey or even Scotland.
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