Eurail pass tips, info and personal experiences
I decided NOT to buy the Eurail pass, as it will not fit into my travels. I shall be traveling for four months throughout Great Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, and Germany, among other places. Perhaps if there was a "four month global pass", I would consider it. However, because I won't be doing much city-to-city travel, it turns out that the buses and trains will be cheaper than a pass.
However, I didn't arrive at this conclusion easily. I live in Seattle and just north is Rick Steves' store. There, they have a counter dedicated to Eurail passes. They are full of valuable information. For example, when I mentioned that I will be gone for four months, the pleasant lady told me that most people doing this would simply buy two different passes, one for three months and the other for a month. When I mentioned that I would be traveling throughout Great Britain, she informed me that they encourage a completely different pass.
Anyway, I bring this up because she showed me a convenient map that the company drew. It tells the traveler, in US dollars, how much it costs to travel point-to-point. While the values may not be exact, they are close enough to get an idea of whether you should buy the pass or not.
To access this, go to: http://www.ricksteves.com/rail/comparetickets.htm, then click Time and Cost Map. I hope this is handy for those struggling to decide to buy or not to buy the Eurail pass.
I leave for Europe in less than two weeks, (Nothing like waiting until the last minute, eh?) and I would love some advice on my travel plans. I'm traveling alone and this is my first trip overseas. Here's my itinerary:
April 30th: Seattle-Paris
May 7th: Paris-Cambridge to visit a friend (fly or train?)
May 10th: Cambridge-Paris (fly or train?)
May 14th: Paris-Annecy (train)
May 16th: Annecy-Turin, Italy (train)
May 18th: Turin-Nice (train)
May 19th: Nice-Avignon (train)
May 20th: rent a car in Avignon and cruise the coast for 2-3 days
May 24th: Avignon-Paris (train)
May 27th: come home!
At first I thought I'd just get a 7 day France-Italy pass that would cover all my train travel, including from Paris-Calais and then hop a ferry to Jolly ol' England to travel up to Cambridge. Then I realized it would prolly be easier to fly from Paris to London to maximize my visit with my friend in Cambridge. Then I could get a 5 day pass and save a little money there (well actually that money will just end up being spent on my flight to London!)
I'm only spending a few days in Turin visiting someone, is it worth it getting a France/Italy pass or would I be better off just getting a France pass and buying separate tickets from Annecy-Turin and then Turin-Nice? 5 days in France vs. a 5 day France/Italy pass is only a difference of $8, so I suppose I just answered my own question. But what about getting to Cambridge from Paris?
Any general advice would be appreciated!
Ryanair might well be a bit cheaper on the london-paris run, but be more of a pain in the butt. You still have to take the metro from the airport to the center of the city, or a cab. The train takes you right to the center.
Buses might be cheaper yet, via ferry.
And, if you're inclined to rip the rail system off, we met some travellers who had an eurail pass and an erasable pen, and the erasable pen apparently worked pretty good... We just bought point to point tickets for Italy and eastern Europe and they worked out to be cheaper than a pass, but if we had an erasable pen, who knows....
Merry Christmas to all Bootsnall members from Visit Rome
I've found that kind of travel is less than exciting, because yes, I've done it too.
Rainbows travel on astonishingly small amounts of money, and live in free tent encampments, eating cheap jointly prepared food.
I've done that too.
However, you see precious little of the country you are travelling through this way, and a lot of Rainbows sharing your lifestyle.
Once I was in Turkey, land of cheap and good food, and there was a couple that insisted on taking out their stove and cooking ramen noodles every night. I never did figure this out.
Still, thank you for the reminder that Europe can be done very cheaply, and there are free attractions if one looks for them.
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