Hey everyone! I am trying to plan a backpacking trip through Europe and this is where I started. I plan on going for 3 months and I wanted to get a Eurail pass. Could someone explain to me exactly how it works. I want to visit as many countries as I can in my time frame. There are a handful of countries that are a must: Poland, Italy, France, Ireland, UK, Greece, Germany. All I know is that I would need to buy a global pass from them! If someone could explain how it works to me, I would appreciate it!!!
The man in seat 61 is a great resource for all things train .. scroll down to 'Buying you tickets' for Eurail info.
The Eurail passes are expensive. Depending on your itinerary, you probably can either buy cheaper regional passes, or receive significant discounts by purchasing tickets in advance online with railroads in Germany and Austria, for example. I've used my U.S. credit card in purchasing tickets online with both. You print a copy of the ticket; and the conductor scans it on board.
Some useful Web sites: https://www.bahn.com/i/view/USA/en/index.shtml
It pays to ask if there are discounted fares when you go to the train station. You might be pleasantly surprised. Sometimes the lower fares apply on selected routes; and at selected departure times.
When traveling, it always pays to ask when you want or need something.
You can also do it like berner256 wrote in Poland.
In Poland you can also travel by polskibus (http://www.polskibus.com/en/index.htm) or Ryanair and it is cheaper than trains.
Sounds like a lovely trip!
Charles V Garcia
For planning my trip to Europe I used this helpful website that compare price between trains car,buses or even Plane.
Some time the price differ from the real ones but it give you a great preview of how much it will cost you
Oups i forgot to put the name !
People who look at rail passes often express some form of, 'I want to see as much as possible' in their thinking and a rail pass always sounds like a good idea when you take that view.
However, before looking at a pass in terms of value for money, I suggest considering two things. First, how many places can you reasonably expect to visit in the time available and therefore how much use wil the pass actually be and second, how will having a pass affect your movements psychologically.
Most people who say they wan to 'see as much as possible' actually mean 'as many as possible'. You at least seem to realize that you are talking about 'many' which is not synonymous with the word 'much.' So just what do you mean when you say, "I want to visit as many countries as I can in my time frame." How many is that?
In Europe, you can take a train through several countries in ONE DAY. Is that what you want to do? Obviously not, you want to spend time IN the countries you visit, not just ride a train through the corner of as many as you can. So you do NOT want to visit as MANY as you can, you want to visit as many as it is reasonable for you to try and visit in the time available.
So how many is it reasonable for you to visit should be your first question. In Europe, countries and distances are relatively small. But that does not mean that there is less to see and do in each of those countries than in any other country in the world. You can spend as much time in France seeing and doing things of interest to you as you could in the USA or Canada or Australia or any other country where distances are much larger between points of interest perhaps. What is the shortest amount of time you would think it made sense to spend in one of those countries? What would you say would be enough time to get a decent feel for any of those countries? How 'many' of them would you say you should plan to visit in 3 months?
Obviously, the more time you spend in any country, the better. In travel as in many things, less is more. The best use of time is always to spend all of your time IN a place rather than in BETWEEN places. Each time you move, is a day you do not spend IN a place seeing/doing things. So theoretically, the best use of time is to go to one place and stay there until it is time to go home. But somehow that never seems to be desirable. People always want to see 'as many' as possible. We want to try a slice of many pies rather than just eat one pie. It just seems to be human nature.
So how to strike a balance? Well that's up to you to decide but one thing is for sure. If you are moving from A to B every 2 days, you will not be making very good use of your time. So forget MANY and think about quality rather than quantity. The lower the number of places you move to, the more time you will spend IN places and going back to your rail pass, the less you will use a rail pass.
Which brings us to the psychological impact a rail pass tends to have on people. The common phrase heard in that regard is, 'to get my money's worth.' Well that obviously means if you use it more you will seem to get 'more for your money'. So a rail pass tends to encourage you to move more which is totally contrary to how to make best use of your time by moving less!
So before buying a Eurailpass, I would spend some time thinking about how many places (much smaller than entire countries) you think you can reasonably plan to cover in your time available. For example, I am a fan of slow travel which basically says spend at least a week in any place you visit. Your 3 months would therefore work out as 12 places maximum. Someone else may plan to visit A for 1 day and B for 2 days, etc. and end up with 30 places they plan to visit in 3 months. The question of course is will they actually see and do any more than I do or will they experience more or less than I do?
Let's assume that both of use get equal experience out of each day we spend IN a place. Who will spend more days IN places? The answer to that is obvious.