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When do you need a reservation? Traveling in Belgium, France, and Spain.

Dumb question for you: how do I tell when a reservation is required for a train? (I'm traveling in Belgium, France, and Spain.) Is there a trick to knowing when you need one?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) May 10, 2012 14:58
    Hi Jenelle,

    Reservations are required on all high-speed trains (except in Germany, where reservations are just highly recommended on the high-speed trains), night trains, and many international routes. Generally, high-speed trains connect most of the larger cities and more popular destinations in western Europe.

    Within France and Spain most major cities are connected almost exclusively by high-speed trains. Therefore, it is very likely that reservations will be required for many of your trips in these countries.

    Regular trains operating within the Benelux region (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) do not even accept reservations, so the rail pass is all you would need to board. The network of regular trains is extensive and connects all rail stations throughout this region. However, reservations would be required on most trains operating internationally between the Benelux countries and France. In some cases, there are high-speed Thalys trains that connect certain cities in the Benelux, which would require reservations.

    If a particular train displays when you do a search under 'Book a Reservation for Your Pass' on our website, then it would be another indicator that you might want to purchase reservations on that train. If a particular train doesn't display from such a search, then it is possible that the train doesn't accept reservations or else reservations are not necessary. If you are wondering about a specific train, then please let us know.
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