Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tips for Rail Savings

(Photo by J.E.Theriot)
I just stumbled upon an excellent blog by a Rail Europe staffer named Benjamin Harman. No surprise: its about train travel.

But what is surprising is how impartial the advice is. It'll work whether or not you decide to use the service's of Mr. Harman's company.

Among the many tips he gives for affordable train travel, the most useful are:
  • Take an overnight train to save on the cost of a hotel room. When I was in college and traveling around by rail pass, I spent several nights snoozing on the train. Not only did I save this way, it was a kick to go to sleep in one country and awake in the next, ready for a new adventure.
  • Compare the costs of a pass vs. point-to-point tickets. The pass won't always be the cheaper option. Harman points out that this may be particularly true for itineraries that include chunnel trips, as the reservation fee is higher than normal for those.
  • Travel with friends. Many passes offer group discounts and a group can be just two people. But there are restrictions, sometimes, with these sorts of discounted passes Harman writes. In some cases, all the names will be printed on a single pass, so if one of the group decides to take a day trip alone, the rest of his group will lose a rail day.
  • Make a stopover along the way. This is a particularly good idea on long rail trips. Instead of spending all day on the train, stop for a few hours in a town or city along the way. If you're traveling on a pass, you'll have unlimited time on the train within a 24-hour period, so jumping on and off the train in a day won't cost a cent more. 
  • Use the discounts that come with many passes. These can include savings on ferry travel, museum admissions, and even hotels and restaurants.
You can read Harman's complete blog by clicking here


  1. The European Passes are seldom the cheapest way these days.The old ones were the bargains of their day.Lots of good writers though about train travel these days .Mark Smith from The man in Seat 61 and Wally Kringen-(a former poster at the Frommers Forums) give great advice Travel Rob

  2. Thanks Rob. I used a pass and saved a lot this summer in Poland. I think it all depends on the destination and your plans

  3. True, I just remember the old Eurail passes and they almost always were the cheapest option.Now I mainly end up using the budget airlines,buses and mainly buy individual train tickets in Europe when taking the train.

    But your right some ,countries and some personal situations passes are still the best deal. Travel Rob

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