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Europe Trip 2013

Hey Everyone,
So I am planning a backpacking trip for Europe with my girlfriend, and we are going to Bruges, Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich, Milan, Venice/Verona, Pisa, Florence, Rome, Paris, Switzerland, Wales, Dublin, and London between September 18/October 27, and I have already booked hostels up to Paris. Now that I have booked hostels booked, I have started to book rails. We are flying into London then taking Eurostar to Bruges, and then we have an 15 day global pass valid over 2 months. The problem I'm having is reservations, when I first checked on RailEurope almost every train I tried booking said I needed to buy something. So I went on Eurail and did it two ways, one with reservations and one without reservations for every city up until Paris, and will probably buy a Eurostar ticket from Paris/London or Switzerland/London, and then buy a Ferry ticket for Holyshead/Dublin and I realize that I have to buy tickets for any overnight train. I will also make sure I check at train stations and with hostels to make sure the trips are correct, and even ask locals. Am I doing this correctly? Does anyone have any tips for me? I have never been out of the United States and wanted to know if this is correct.
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) August 15, 2013 18:14
    Hi Phillip,

    A rail pass covers the ticket costs on trains between different cities in the country or countries included on the pass. When applicable, reservations are a supplementary cost to a rail pass (considering that any costs for needed reservations would be factored into the cost of individual point-to-point tickets, a rail pass still often works out to be the most economical option for travelers taking multiple trains while in Europe that cover more substantial distances.)

    Reservations are required on all night trains, many international routes, and most high-speed trains (the exception to this are the high-speed trains that operate within Germany, for which reservations would just be highly recommended). In Western Europe, most major cities are connected almost exclusively by high-speed trains. Therefore, it is likely that reservations will be required for many of your trips there.

    Once you add the pass to your 'itinerary' (shopping cart), you would purchase reservations by clicking 'Add Reservation' after clicking on 'Read More' where it says 'Check to determine if you need reservations when traveling with your rail pass'. In the upcoming weeks, this may go back to being a simple 'Continue Shopping' button that you can click from your itinerary/shopping cart. To check reservation costs and schedules beforehand, you would click on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on the homepage of our website, www.raileurope.com.

    Reservable trains can sell out quickly, so I would recommend booking your reservations as soon as possible.

    If a particular train doesn't accept reservations, then the rail pass is all you would need to board that train. Please let us know if you have questions about whether or not reservations are required for a specific route.

    Additionally, the Eurostar train from London to Brussels (as part of your connection from London to Bruges), is not covered by any rail pass; however, a rail pass would enable travelers to receive a 'Passholder' fare for a ticket on this train. Since ticket costs for the Eurostar are not covered by any pass, the Passholder fares on this train cost more than the typical reservation fees on other trains throughout Europe, for which the ticket costs would be covered. You would purchase tickets at the Passholder rate on the Eurostar by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on the homepage of our website, just as you would to purchase reservations on other trains.

    The Passholder rates on the Eurostar sell out very quickly, so once again, it is recommended that that these tickets be purchased as soon as possible.

    Trains from Brussels to Bruges don't accept reservations. Considering this, the Eurail Global Pass would be all that is needed to board; however, you would not want to expend a day of travel on your pass for train, because your Passholder ticket for the Eurostar from London to Brussels can be valid on the connecting train to Bruges.

    To be issued the fare that is valid for you to continue on to Bruges from Brussels, you would still have to search the full route from London to Bruges. By doing this, you would be issued a specific ticket for the train from London to Brussels that will enable you to continue on to Bruges at no additional cost. In this case, we will not issue an actual ticket that will display Bruges as the final destination. The only ticket we issue will show Brussels as the destination. However, you would still only just show this ticket to board any connecting train from Brussels to Bruges within 24 hours of your arrival into Brussels.

    To verify this is the type of ticket you are purchasing, you would click 'View' listed with the fares when you pull up the results of your search. Next to the options under 'Ticket Flexibility' it would say "Ticket enables travelers while in Belgium, to travel to any Belgian station that offers connections with a Eurostar train to/from Brussels. All travel must be completed within 24 hours of their Eurostar train arrival/departure."

    We do happen to sell tickets for the ferry from Holyhead to Dublin. The ticket to cover this ferry is called the 'BritRail Irish Sea Crossing', which you would purchase here: http://www.raileurope.com/activities/... .

    This ticket is an open voucher that you would use to board any of the ferries between Holyhead and Dublin operated by 'Stena Line'. Actual schedules for the ferry can be found by clicking on the 'FAQ' tab once you have accessed the page for the BritRail Irish Sea Crossing ticket. If you wish, you can call Stena directly at +353 (0) 12 047 777 to make actual reservations to go along with your ticket. The Stena website is www.stenaline.com.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) April 18, 2018 14:37

      As of this month (April 2018):

      The following rail passes no longer qualify passengers to receive ‘passholder’ rates for reservations on the Eurostar:

      Any single country Eurail Pass, including:

      • Eurail France Pass
      • Eurail Benelux Pass

      Any 2 country option of Eurail Select Pass, including:

      • Eurail France-Italy Pass
      • Eurail France-Switzerland Pass
      • Eurail France-Germany Pass
      • Eurail Benelux-France Pass
      • Eurail France-Spain Pass
      • Eurail Benelux-Germany Pass

      BritRail Passes and the France-Italy combination of the 2 country Eurail Select Pass continue to not be valid on the Eurostar.

      Passengers traveling with any of these rail passes would need to purchase regular tickets to take the Eurostar.

      Passholder rates will continue to be offered (depending on availability) to any passenger traveling with a Eurail Global Pass, a 3 country Eurail Select Pass (that includes the country of arrival or departure, be it France or the Benelux), or a 4 country Eurail Select Pass (that includes the country of arrival or departure, be it France or the Benelux).
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