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Eurail pass tips, info and personal experiences

Wandering Girl

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  • Added on: November 6th, 2008
Has anyone had the Scandinavia Rail pass? I'm looking at the 6 days in 2 months or 8 days in 2 months option ($426 and $474 Cdn) for next summer and am wondering if it is better to get the pass or just buy tickets as I go. Any advice would be appreciated.

Brian F.

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  • Added on: April 6th, 2009
The debate of whether to buy a Eurail pass can be extremely difficult. On one hand, you have a sense of security and the freedom to move around western Europe with little to no extra charges; further, there are particular discounts that come with the pass. On the other hand, there is that fear of wasting the pass, of overspending, and feeling bound by the trains when it might be easier or cheaper to travel by bus (e.g., in Spain it is often cheaper and faster to take the bus, as the original poster mentioned).

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.

embersoul

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  • Added on: April 17th, 2009
Hey all!

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!

Thanks!
Mari

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  • Added on: June 18th, 2009
Cambridge-London, not sure, London-Paris via Eurostar. 90 euros for the cheapest seat bought a month ahead of time.

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.
Open your heart, and your dreams will follow

Nomadic Matt

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  • Added on: October 29th, 2009
I just did this cost analysis of a eurail pass. It might prove useful.

patricia23

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  • Added on: November 20th, 2009
But I have heard that using the buses are cheaper than the trains.

Scar

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  • Added on: December 2nd, 2009
Just wanted to mention that they no longer offer the security add on for lost/stolen passes. I guess they were getting ripped off.

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....

Visit Rome

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  • Added on: December 25th, 2009
I guess that the ink of the kilometers done on their eurrailpass is not erasable (or even if it was they fixed the problem long time ago). Must be one of these "legends" not verified but running from ear to ear: will it be true or not? ;)

Merry Christmas to all Bootsnall members from Visit Rome
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C-and-C

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  • Added on: January 17th, 2010
After 7 months of backpacking through Western & Eastern Europe on a budget of roughly $40 each per day, my boyfriend and I were inspired to put together an on-line resource which focuses on how to get into the right mindset when traveling with limited funds. It offers up specific recommendations and raves in the Travel Itineraries section as well. It's still a work-in-progress, but hopefully provides some helpful insight, especially for first-timers to Europe:

http://www.cheapandcharming.com
Last edited by C-and-C on January 17th, 2010, edited 1 time in total.
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Visit Rome

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  • Added on: January 17th, 2010
I mean how can you stay in a budget of $40 per day when you travel? You should count it at every moment to fit in the budget: don't you think that's a few restrictive?
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AceTracer

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  • Added on: January 25th, 2010
I spent $700 my last month (of three) in Europe, and that included Scandinavia and London and $100 for a new passport (I lost mine in Copenhagen). Admittedly I did sleep on a train or ferry all but 9 days that month, and visited mostly free attractions. But still, $40/day is doable, even $25/day is doable. Comfortable? No, but definitely doable.

Visit Rome

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  • Added on: January 26th, 2010
That's very good if you are young and you don't care about a lot of things. As far as you get older, you'd like to be more comfortable....but it's not cheap, unfortunately :D
Choose between a Rome private tour or a big bus

Tortuga_traveller

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  • Added on: January 28th, 2010
The young can sleep on trains and live on Ramen Noodles easily, it appears.

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.
Open your heart, and your dreams will follow

rembcn

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  • Added on: January 31st, 2010
I did it once too (be it in 2004), and have mixed feelings. It wasn't cheap back then, but at least air travel wasn't such a big "other option" yet. Airtravel is great for inter-city trips, and frankly Eurail isn't much different. Especially in the Mediterranean parts of Europe. The real money's always spent on going off-track (or off-rails in this case), unless you're a complete die-hard. True, it's a great way to to see a lot of Europe, and to see it gradually and sometimes drastically change when you change countries. But you can't do it for the money anymore.

markhodson

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  • Added on: March 14th, 2010
Great info, thanks. Check out snowcarbon for information about taking trains to ski resorts in Europe.
_______________________________________________
Mark Hodson, editor of 101 Holidays
http://www.101holidays.co.uk/


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