Eurail Passes: how do they work?
British T.I.P.S. is proud to be an official supplier for Eurail (European rail). We can assist with booking rail passes for more extensive travel AND individual journeys in many countries in Europe.
But what exactly is a Eurail Pass and how do you choose one?
Hint: You choose your rail pass according to number of journeys on number of days you plan on making, NO on time spent in the country. Otherwise, you may end up spending way more money than you actually need to. If you’re unsure which one to choose, please contact us.
For rates and to book contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 021 975 2047
What is a Eurail Pass?
A Eurail Pass is a single travel document that allows you to travel by train in one or more European countries.
What is the difference between a Flexi Pass and a Consecutive Pass?
- Consecutive Pass: valid for a set number of days in a row.
Available for 15, 22 days or 1, 2 or 3 months.
- FlexiPass: your travel days don’t need to be consecutive – you can travel for a set number of days over a period of 1 or 2 calendar months (depending on the pass). You can make as many train journeys as you like in one day, as the passes are restricted by days not journeys. For example: if you start using a 4-day pass on 01 January, you have 3 remaining days that you can use until 01 February inclusive.
Available as 3, 5 or 7 days in 1 month OR 10, 15 days in 2 months.
VERY IMPORTANT: Choose your rail pass according to how much travel you want to do and NOT on how long you’ll be in the country! For example: if you are in the country for 10 days but want to travel on 4 days, then you need a 4-day pass and not a 10-day pass.
Which countries are covered by the Eurail GLOBAL Passes?
31 European Countries are covered by a Eurail Pass. A Global Pass will allow travel in all of the below.
- Bosnia Herzegovina
- Czech Republic
- Great Britain
(England, Scotland & Wales)
- Ireland (Republic & Northern)
How many train journeys can I make on one day?
You can make as many journeys as you like in one day. The passes are restricted by days, not journeys. A day is classified as 24 hours commencing at midnight; as soon as you get on a train during the day, it counts as the start of a day’s travel.
Note: OVERNIGHT TRAINS: Traveller will enter the day of departure and you only use 1 travel day when travelling on a direct overnight train that arrives at its final stop after 4AM the following day, even if you leave the train before 4AM. Travel after midnight still counts as day of departure.
What is one day?
A travel day is a 24 hour period. It lasts from 12h00 midnight to 11h59 PM on the same calendar day.
Do I need to make seat reservations or can I just get onto any train?
Some train types do require seat reservations while others allow you to just take any train with open seats. Sleepers/overnight, high-speed (e.g. TGV, Frecciaroso), long-distance and international trains always require seat reservations.
At peak times (e.g. Christmas or school holidays) it is strongly recommended that, wherever possible, you prebook seat reservations. Reservations can be prebooked through British TIPS with a seat reservation fee or you can purchase these in Europe, even on the day of travel.
REMEMBER: A pass allows you to travel on a train, but does not guarantee a seat on a specific train. If the train is full, you will wait for the next one.
Can I use my Eurail Pass on the Eurostar?
You can use Eurail GLOBAL passes but a seat reservation is mandatory. Only the person named on the pass can use it to travel with Eurostar. 2nd-class pass holders can travel in Eurostar’s Standard Class and 1st-class pass holders can travel in Standard Premier.
What does ‘within 1 month’ or ‘within 2 months’ mean?
This applies to Flexi Passes. With a flexi pass, you have a certain number of days WITHIN a certain period, either 1 or 2 months. Your 1- or 2-month period begins when you activate your pass. You can make as many train journeys as you like in one day, as the passes are restricted by days not journeys.
For example, if you start using a 4 day pass on the 23 March you then have 3 remaining other days that you can use your pass until the 22 April inclusive.
ou may use your pass as many times as you like within a day,
What happens if I have a pass for one country but am travelling to another country?
Your pass will only cover the country/ies for which it is booked. Should your route take you out of the country, you will need to buy an extra ticket or ensure you have a pass which covers that country too.
For example: You have a (one country) Italy Pass. On your last day, you’re leaving Italy and going to Germany, where your flight departs. You can either purchase an individual journey to Germany OR purchase a 2 Country Pass instead.
Are there any discounts?
There are special rates for those aged 12 – 27 years (youth passes) and there are Senior rates for those 60 years and over.
Some passes also offer discounted travel on ferries and some buses, and/or discounted or free entry to certain attractions. This varies between passes.
Can children travel free with my pass?
For every adult buying a full price ticket, one child* receives a pass of the same type and duration for free. If booking seats, seat reservations and accompanying segment fees are payable per child. This does not apply to Senior Passes. *Child age: 4 – 11 years.
Can I buy a Rail Pass when I get there?
No, they must be purchased before departure. Eurail passes are only available to international tourists staying for 6 months or less.
Can you email me the rail pass?
No. Most Eurail Passes are actual paper tickets and must be couriered (or collected from us) so please allow enough time when ordering. Courier fees vary and will be added to your invoice should you require us to arrange the courier. As of September 2020, some passes will be available as mobile passes.
How would I activate and use my pass?
- Take your pass to any staffed ticket office in the country in which you will be travelling where it will be stamped. Your passport is required. Do not enter the start and end dates yourself. Ensure that the pass is stamped and validated before leaving the ticket office!
- On your first day of travel, once your pass is validated, record the date in the travel calendar printed on the ticket (bottom/middle left) BEFORE boarding the train. This must be done in ink and failure to do so can risk a fine and/or full payment of a ticket. Ticket inspectors will check your ticket – should you be on the train and the date not written in, you can risk a fine and/or confiscation of the ticket and/or full payment for the train you are on.
- Do not record the journeys/destinations; only the date is needed. Do not enter the dates in advance – once they are written in, they cannot be changed.
- The rail pass can be validated up to 6 months after the departure date you stated when ordering.