Travelling around Europe is a wonderful thing, and anyone with a penchant for seeing more of this wonderful continent should certainly be looking at ways to do it for less cash. There are countless low cost airlines which traverse the length and breadth of the continent however, without a doubt, the best way to see passing landscapes and countries is by rail.
Trains are not cheap, there’s no denying that, but there are ways to cut costs. Most likely you have heard of the Europass. If not, this is a rail pass which allows you unlimited travel, with a few restrictions, around a certain region of Europe. This has many advantages, not least the fact that you don’t have to factor in extra costs, because your travel is already paid for. That said, there is a fair amount of pesky small print involved in a Europass, and it’s worthwhile reading up on this before you go ahead. To make sure you get the most out of it here are a few things to consider.
Make sure you check out your options
There are many different type of Europass, and these have different restrictions. Plan your route a little beforehand and look at which pass is best for you. There are undoubtedly going to be a few options, however if you’re planning to spend most of your time in one particular country, then it’s no good choosing a pass which allows you extra time in a different country. Be savvy and plan ahead.
Use your pass for expensive countries
Certain countries have higher costs for rail travel than others, so make sure you buy your pass dedicated to those more expensive countries, and save your pay as you go option for a country which is cheaper. This will save you cash in the long run.
Check whether you need to book ahead
Certain countries do require you to reserve your seat, as well as certain services, so again it’s a case of research beforehand. Check which countries this pertains to and do your reserving ahead of time. This will not only mean you’re not going to get a nasty surprise when you turn up on the day thinking you’re good to go, but it also means you will have a better seat at the end of it all.
Mix and match
We mentioned using your Europass for the most expensive rail travel countries, and whilst this is always a good option, there is also the option of mixing and matching. This means you can pay for tickets the old fashioned way on certain routes, and then use your pass on more popular ones or the more expensive ones. Basically, you don’t need to use your pass for your whole journey, because there are restrictions on the amount of travel you can do, and if you want your adventure to last longer, it’s about being economical. The money you save on choosing the right Europass for you, you’ll be able to spend in your favorite destinations like Paris.
Europass isn’t the right option for every journey, however there’s no denying that it certainly takes out a lot of the hassle, and allows travellers freedom.
Image by kuknauf under Creative Commons license.
Post written in association with Eurail.