What is the difference between travelling on the national rail network & the travel days on the pass?

What's the difference between travelling on the national rail network of a country and the travel days on the rail pass. Is it only that travel days are for the TGV and the night trains? It's confusing because, for example, the Austria rail pass says that there is unlimited train travel on the national network and the dot after, it says that there is a choice of 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 days of unlimited train travel within a 1-month period.
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) November 24, 2014 16:02
    Hi Alexanne,

    I'm sorry, I'm not sure I understand your question. Travel on the national rail network of a particular country is exactly what a rail pass covers. Therefore, the 'travel days' on a rail pass that you're referring to would be applied to trains operated by the national rail network of the country or countries included on your pass, whether those trains require reservations or not.

    When applicable, reservations are a supplementary cost to a rail pass (a rail pass still often works out to be the most economical option for travelers taking multiple trains while in Europe, considering that any costs for reservations are still factored into the cost of regular point-to-point tickets).

    Reservations are required on most high-speed trains, many international routes, and all overnight trains. For travel with a rail pass, you would check reservation costs and purchase reservations by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage and indicating the rail pass you'll be traveling with, when prompted. TGV is the name of the high-speed train that operates within France, and these trains do require reservations in addition to a rail pass. TGV trains do not operate in Austria.

    The kind of pass you describe when you say there is a "choice of 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 days of unlimited train travel within a 1-month period" is a 'flexipass'. A flexipass allows for a set number of travel days that must be completed within a longer time frame (the longer time frame being 1 month in the case of the Eurail Austria Pass).

    'Travel days' on a flexipass refer to how many separate days you plan on using your pass to take a train. A travel days is a 24 time period from midnight to midnight. You may take as many trains as you wish during a 24 hour time frame and still only use one day of travel on a pass. For instance, if you were to take a train from 'City A' to 'City B' and then take a connecting train to 'City C' on the same day, you would use up only one day of travel on your pass. In contrast, if you were to take the connecting train to 'City C' on the next day instead, that would use up 2 days of travel on a pass. Reservable trains and non-reservable trains alike require the use of travel days on a flexipass.

    One important rule to note: If you happen to take an overnight train that departs prior to 7pm to arrive into your destination the following morning, that would take up 2 days of travel on a rail pass. Most night trains, however, do depart after 7pm, in which case only 1 day of travel on your pass would be required.
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    • Also, I heard that there was a pass in France for the 12-28 that gives 50-60% off on train tickets. What's the best thing to do, regarding this new info?
    • Jeff (Official Rep) November 25, 2014 16:06
      If a particular train requires reservations, there would be no way to board unless you've purchased one for yourself. In some instances, you may be able to wait until your departure date and purchase your reservation at the station prior to boarding; however, many trains that require reservations, like the TGV in France and any overnight trains, can sell out quickly, so you would want to purchase reservations for such trains in advance. In fact, I would recommend purchasing reservations on such trains as soon as it becomes possible to do so, prior to even departing for Europe. The TGV in France and other reservable trains can typically be booked once within 90 days of an intended date of departure. For travel with a pass, you would purchase reservations by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage, entering the route, and indicating the type of rail pass you'll be traveling with, when prompted.

      I'm sorry; however, we do not offer any pass like the one you described in your last question. Information and costs for our individual country France Rail Pass can be found here: http://www.raileurope.com/rail-tickets-passes/france-pass/index.html.
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