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Tips for Rail Travel

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Once you have decided to travel by rail, these tips will make your travel more enjoyable and save you money too!

 

  • PACK LIGHT. Have you heard this one enough? There are no porters in European rail stations to help you lift your bags onto the train, and there is precious little space inside for you to put them. Most of the room for luggage is overhead your seat.
     
  • GET RESERVATIONS FOR HIGH SPEED TRAINS. This is required, and costs about $15 per seat. Overnight sleepers or private cabins will also cost you extra.
     
  • USE YOUR TIME. Find yourself waiting on the platform for a delayed train? Welcome to the world of travel. Read a guidebook, write in your journal, or even get to know the stranger next to you.
     
  • Couchettes are cabins that fit six travelers and are often used on overnights as the seats lay down. Note to self: if you get a couchette all to yourself and want to keep it that way, take this to heart: nobody wants to share an enclosed space with someone who has a hacking cough.
     
  • Your rail pass will also work on most buses and ferries, or at least will get you a discount. Be sure to double-check.
     
  • In certain cases, point-to-point tickets might be the best deal for you. Check out our point to point section.
     
  • 1ST CLASS vs. 2nd CLASS: Not worth it in our opinion, but it does get you away from screaming children, gives you a slightly cushier seat, and sometimes a free meal.
     
  • Youths under 26 and groups of two or more get discounted passes (Youth/Saverpass)


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