If you are planning your trip to Europe then you might have heard about Interrail Passes or Eurail Pass.
Well these passes are one of the most affordable way to travel around Europe saving your total cost of commute in Europe.
In this post I will be sharing more about these passes and we will decide whether this pass is worth your money? or if the Interrail Passes are waste of money for your trip in Europe.
Now if you haven not heard about these passes then let me first explain about that first these are the European train trickets passes which you can take for certain number of days and your complete cost of the trains are free mostly, so you can hop on any train which you want and plan your European adventure at your own pace as you like.
When I used my 1 month unlimited pass, I noted all the questions and difficulties that I had on the road because I wanted to write a perfect post for you to use on your trip – and here it is! Below you can find all the information you need about this European train pass – including information about prices, reservations, different options and more!
Which pass is for you Interrail Pass or Eurail Pass
Not sure which one to choose? Scroll down a little more, and I will explain everything you need to know!
In this post I will tell you everything you need to know about the following subjects (and more):
- is it worth to buying the pass (I will be covering all of that in detail);
- how to properly use the pass;
- how to make the most out of it;
- and how to avoid the most common mistakes that tourists usually make.
Here is the most important information you need to know about Interrail/Eurail passes if you have never heard about them:
What is an Interrail or a Eurail pass?
An Interrail or a Eurail pass is a travel document that allows you to travel in Europe by train. The main idea behind this European rail pass is that you only have one ticket (which is your pass) and an unlimited amount of options to travel in European countries during the entire period your pass is valid!
Depending on the type of pass you choose, you can buy a pass that allows you to travel only to one specific country of your choice or you can have an unlimited pass that will give you the chance to travel to 31 European countries in a specific period.
Interrail vs Eurail – what is the difference?
There is no need to be confused, as both are mainly the same thing! It just depends upon where you are living currently and that describes whether you have to take the Interrail Pass or the Eurail Pass.
If you are from Europe (citizen or you have residency there), you should apply for an Interrail pass. Your pass will also be cheaper because, as a citizen, you pay taxes in Europe.
If you are not from Europe, you should buy a Eurail pass.
Now let’s make it even easier! Take a look at the picture above:
As the majority of my readers are non-Europeans, I will call the pass Eurail for simplicity in this post. But remember, if you are a European citizen, your pass will be called Interrail (which, as I mentioned before, is pretty much the same thing – the only difference is the price).
NOTE: if you are, let’s say from Italy, and you want to buy the Interrail pass, you will not be able to use it in the country of origin.
If you are still unsure about which pass to buy, you can check if your country is eligible for Interrail or Eurail here.
What are the types of passes available?
First thing it is flexible I mean you can decide the number of days you are travelling in order to pick the right pass for you which I like the most.
Oh, and there are so many different types of passes! You can choose the ideal one for you based on the number of countries you wish to see, the length of your trip, your age, or perhaps a family package!Again, you can check out all the available types of passes here (for Eurail) or here (for Interrail).
What is One Country Pass of Interrail or Eurail?
Eurail or Interrail One country pass – exactly as the name implies, you can only use this pass to visit one country out of a list of 27. You can use it for a limited amount of days in a set period of time (For example – Italy pass “5 days within 1 month” is available for one month, but you can actually travel with this pass for 5 days of your choice during this month).
What are Eurail/Interrail Global Passes?
This is good option if you covering multiple European city while you are travelling. If your itinerary is huge and you are planning to visit many countries in Europe then you might wanna take this pass because it will enable you to take unlimited free ride (mostly) during the day of travel.
If you want to know which are cheapest place to live in Europe then you can check my post here.
- Travel in any of the 33 countries included in your Global Pass.
- Travel up to 11 months later. No need to choose a start date until you travel
- Free, instant delivery – add it straight to the app
For all the types of passes above, you can choose a “first class” pass or a “second class” pass depending on the quality of service you want to have on the train.
Tip – The Youth pass could save you money, so if you are less than 27 years old then don’t forget to take this pass.
How do I pick the pass that fits me best?
This was certainly my confusion as well when I was deciding which one to buy, So the best idea for doing this would be first decide which all places you want to explore.
I mean prepare your itinerary for Europe travel first.
To figure out if the pass is a good value for you, you’ll need to ask yourself a few key questions about your upcoming trip and establish an estimate.
- How many days do you want to travel in Europe?
- Which countries are you thinking of visiting?
- And how many cities (more or less)?
What is the pass duration?
Well if you are asking for the option available then it is sufficient to plan your trip across europe.
The passes can be bought for different periods of time – 3 days, 5, 7, 10, 15, 22 days or 1, 2 or 3 months. Find more info about these passes here.
NOTE: If you choose to buy the continuous pass for 1 month, the duration of the pass will be exactly 1 month.
EXAMPLE: From the 3rd of September to 2nd of October. From the 3rd of February to the 2nd of March (even if there are fewer days in that month)
How can I get a discount on the pass?
Yes, the price for young people from 12 to 27 years old and the price for seniors (60+) is always discounted. If you are not in any of these two categories that are eligible for the Interrail or Eurail pass discount, don’t be sad! Just keep an eye on the official Eurail website (or you can ask me in the comments), as they often throw promotions and give from 10% to 20% discounts on the passes!
What is the difference between first and second class?
Now that you have understood about the pass let me just quickly tell you about the difference in between the First Class Pass and Second Class Passes.
The below image could atlease highlight you some of the perks on the 1st Class Interrail Pass
As previously stated, you have the option of selecting either the “first class option” or the “second class option” for your pass. Because you will be traveling in first-class coaches, the first-class pass is a little more comfortable and will make your journey more enjoyable. There is greater room between the seats, and it is normally less crowded. There are also power outlets and, in some cases, complimentary water!
For example, if you are taking an ICE 1st class train in Germany, you will have free Wi-Fi (German Rail Pass is pretty awesome!). The 1st class train in Austria and the Czech Republic will provide you with free bottles of water too.
NOTE: Remember that some Eurail and Interrail routes don’t have first class at all. But, in many countries, the second class is really not that bad either!
How do I buy the pass?
You can buy the pass online, but as the pass itself is a travel document, it will be delivered to you in the mail. It will have your name, country of residence and passport number on it, so it is not exchangeable.
Previously it was issue because they use to send the physcial pass to your address so you had to plan this thing out and order the pass well before time.
But now the good thing is that you can order mobile passes of Interrail.
What is a Mobile Passes?
What exactly is a mobile Pass?
Mobile Pass is a paperless ticket that can be added instantly to your phone. With everything on one app from planning your trip to boarding the train, you’re free to explore 33 European countries with ease and enjoy more freedom than ever before.
Why choose a mobile Pass?
- You can Buy now and start travelling up to 11 months later
- No need to choose a start date until you travel
- Free, instant delivery – add it straight to the app
- Free replacement Pass if you lose your phone
For using the mobile passes you can download that from here.
Any ideas for travel?
So if you are not able to come up with the Itinerary for Europe and thing which you want to cover with your Interrail Pass then you will get some example or sample itinerary on the website.
EURAIL/INTERRAIL Train Reservation
You can hop on and off most trains as you please with your Eurail Pass, but some trains ask you to buy an additional seat reservation before you can jump aboard. Find out when you need to book extra seat reservations and how much they cost.
Now I did said that mostly it is free because there are things like reservation in some special routes and that is what we are going to understand here.
About reservation fees
A train reservation consists of two different fees – a train reservation fee and a booking fee. We’ll explain both fees below:
- The train reservation fee. Prices vary depending on the train. See the full list of train reservation fees.
- The booking fee. When you book through our Self-Service this is 2 euros per traveler, per train.
- For reservations that are only offered as a physical (paper) ticket there is also a shipping fee. This fee is €9 per order (registered mail).
Example: These are the costs for a 1st class reservation for 2 travelers on the Thalys high-speed train from Paris to Amsterdam: 2x € 2 booking fee + 2 x € 35 train reservation fee.
Wait why fees for booking my seat?
I feel your pain! Unfortunately, those are the rules of some countries in Europe and they do not allow you to just hop on the train, even if you have an Interrail/Eurail pass.
Enter the departure and arrival stations, as well as the dates and times, into the Eurail timetable (on their website or in their app). After the algorithm has determined your train route, look to see if it indicates R – reservation required. If it does, you will almost certainly need to make a reservation.
Why is this the case in general? Because, despite the R on the ticket, the guy at the ticket counter told me that I didn’t have to do some less-popular routes.
If your train does not have a “R” (reservation required) sign, make sure to reserve your seat if you are traveling during peak season and the likelihood of seats being sold out is high.
How do I reserve my seat?
There are mutliple ways to do this but easiest would be to do it via your Rail Planner application. You can check these details here
Below is the example of making a reservation using for Germany
- Interrail Self-Service (in the Rail Planner app and on the website)
- Through the Rail Planner app
- Via DB (German railways): domestic (IC and ICE) and international trains
- Via ČD (Czech railways): domestic and international trains
- Via DSB (Danish railways): international trains
- Paper Pass only – Via SNCB (Belgian railways): international trains (Thalys)
- With the railway carriers
- Via the ÖBB (Austrian railways) reservations tool: international train
- Via the ČD (Czech railways) reservations tool: domestic and international trains
- Via the DB (German railways) reservations tool: international trains
- Via the Snälltåget reservations tool: international train between Stockholm and Berlin (use campaign code “INTERRAIL”)
What if I don’t reserve my seat in Interrail or Eurail Pass?
If you don’t reserve a seat and instead choose a seat at random, it could be someone else’s seat who paid full price for the ticket. You could wind up without a seat and then be ejected by a ticket controller.
There are placards above the seats on some trains. If a route or name is printed on paper or displayed on an electronic display, the seat is reserved. You can seat in the one that isn’t reserved and no one will bother you!
If I miss a connection train, do I have to pay the reservation fee again?
Unfortunately, if this was a train that you paid to reserve a seat on ahead of time, the answer is yes. Because my other train was running late, it happened to me once.
In this situation, you’ve reserved a certain seat on a specific train, so even if the train is late due to circumstances beyond your control, you’ll have to pay to reserve another seat on your next trip.
As a result, I recommend that you avoid making short connections and that you arrive on time for the trains you have reserved!
That said, if you miss a train you were going to ride and it didn’t require a paid reservation, you are free to board any subsequent train; this is one of the benefits of utilizing the Eurail pass!
Pros and Cons of Interrail/Eurail Pass
Let us first talk about the Cons of Pass
- Remember, you can’t go everywhere by train. While in some countries such as France or Germany almost everything is reachable by train, in some countries you will have to take a bus and pay for additional tickets my One Week in Croatia was mostly commuted by Bus. Because Croatia is mostly connected by bus.
- 2) A disadvantage you may have to face is the reservation fees. That, as I said, means you have to add some extra money to the cost of your trip.
Pros of Passes
- There are numerous benefits to purchasing and utilizing a Eurail pass for your trip! Here are a few examples:
- Trains, unlike airlines, do not require check-in, so you do not need to get at the station hours ahead of time.
- Unlike airports, there is no need to go through the tedious passport and X-ray inspections.
There are no airline limits, so your luggage can be as big as you want and include as many liquids as you want!
All you have to do now is sit back, relax, and take in the breathtaking scenery!
When is it not worth it to buy the Interrail pass?
I believe that purchasing a pass is unnecessary if you are only planning on visiting a few towns. Purchasing a simple A to B train ticket (or a plane ticket!) will be less expensive and better for you in this circumstance.
However, if you plan on traveling extensively throughout Europe for an extended length of time and want to remain flexible, the pass should save you money! This is especially true if you wish to visit a number of cities that are spread out across the country.
So, if you have a lot of time on your hands and want to see a number of European places, get the Interrail/Eurail Global Pass. You won’t be disappointed!
If you just have a limited amount of time and only want to visit one nation, do your research and compare individual ticket pricing to pass prices.
That was the details for the Interrail Passes and the Eurail Passes. If you have any more experience around these passes then you can write down your views in the comment box below.