Is a Eurail Pass Right for You?

If you’re planning on doing some extended travel throughout Europe, one of the first questions you’re quite likely to get from friends and family is whether or not you’ll be buying a Eurail pass. The pass has a fantastic reputation for being a traveler’s key to discovering Europe – limitless train rides, fantastic countryside views, convenient but exciting adventure. But who is a Eurail pass right for, and who’s better off booking individual travel trips instead? We’re taking a look at three questions to ask when deciding whether the Eurail pass is the right choice for you.

Question 1: Where am I planning to travel?

That may seem like an upfront and easy enough question to answer to some of us, but for those planning a long-term whirlwind trip away, deciding at the beginning which countries to visit can instantly begin to feel stifling. But it’s an important question to ask when considering a Eurail pass. Do you anticipate hopping from one country to over 20? Or will you be immersing yourself in the culture of just one single nation? The good news is, regardless of where you fall in between those two extremes, there’s likely a Eurail pass for you. The pass can be purchased for use in up to 24 countries or in just one, with two moderate options between those. That means that there’s a good chance the a Eurail pass is a smart choice, unless you’re planning on doing the bulk of your travel outside the Eurozone. If that’s the case, and you’re only planning on briefly stopping through Europe, be open to alternate travel solutions.

Question 2: How long am I planning to travel?

Even if you’re not going to be in Europe very long, a pass may still be advantageous. That leads us to our second big question to ask yourself before you make plans: how long are you planning to travel? For many people, this question is easier to answer than the previous one. If you have the summer off, are taking a sabbatical or have just saved up some precious vacation time, the duration of your trip is likely to be the most concrete logistical aspect. Where you go with that time is negotiable, but vacation time usually isn’t! If that’s the case, you can base your Eurail choice on how long your journey will be.

Question 3: How valuable is convenience to me?

The last question on our list is part of a bigger issue for many travelers with regards to a Eurail pass: namely that they don’t understand how it works! The Eurail pass is designed to maximize convenience and minimize time and money spent planning while on the road (or the tracks, as it were.) There isn’t just one pass; in fact, there are various versions of the Eurail pass. The pass in all its forms is designed to facilitate safe, comfortable travel across Europe. It saves you the time of having to track down the most reliable train schedule in the native language of the countries you’re in and converting to Euros from Australian, Canadian or American dollars. And while the pass isn’t right for everybody, it’s designed to accommodate almost anyone. If you’re ok with skipping the hassle and cutting to the front of fast, reliable travel, check out all the Eurail pass options before you get packing.

Photo Credit: hugh llewelyn