It’s true that there are many more cases these days when flying is actually the more budget-friendly option, but the train is still your best choice for most shorter trips within one country. Bus lines don’t tend to be nationwide, so going from region to region within a country is challenging by bus. By train, however, these trips are usually easy and can be quite cheap. There’s often a high-speed (read: high-cost) option for train trips, but if you’ve got more time and less cash you can cover the same ground on a slower and cheaper train.
Many of the questions about traveling by train in Europe have to do with whether it still makes sense to buy a Eurail Pass or whether it’s cheaper to buy individual tickets as you go. The short answer is that it – again – depends on the distance of your trips. Longer train trips are more expensive, so if your itinerary is essentially all longer train trips you’ll save money by getting a Eurail Pass. This can even be true if you’re staying within one country. It used to be that buying train tickets in Italy was so cheap that even the long-distance trains were a bargain, but nowadays Italy’s high-speed trains come with a hefty ticket price. Getting an Italy Rail Pass can often be a great money-saver.
Rail travel in Europe may be something that people have been doing for decades, but it’s still natural to have lots of questions if you’ve never done it before. Besides, as we’ve noted, things change in the world of European rail travel – so reading up-to-date articles like this European train travel guide before you go can make your trip much less stressful and can help you save quite a bit of money.
* More Eurail travel tips
photo by Vasenka]]>
Though many people choose to study in a larger city like Madrid or Barcelona, Grenada is another excellent, often overlooked place to make your home base. When you study abroad in Granada you can get the best of all worlds. The city provides a less-stressful way to immerse yourself in the culture, while still offering an authentic living experience. It’s less expensive than the larger cities, so if you can find cheap tickets to Europe, your semester abroad may not cost much more than it would at home. There’s a large University presence in Granada and many bars offer free tapas with the purchase of a drink, making it an ideal place for struggling students to live the high life.
Granada may be a smaller city, but thanks to Spain’s efficient network of high-speed trains, you can still get to the metropolises quickly and easily. A Spain Rail Pass is the best option if you plan on traveling extensively in a set period of time, but don’t discount the bus as an affordable option for short jaunts. Granada is located in the south of Spain, in the region of Andalusía, close to Córdoba, Sevilla, Málaga. and the Costa del Sol, which means that those who study abroad here can see much more of Spain on a smaller budget.
Photo by Ela2007]]>
Now is an excellent time to find travel deals to France, where you can start a train trip through Europe. (And incidentally, if you happen to get a flight on Ryanair, you might have even more reasons to swear up a storm…) It’s certainly colder in France at this time of year, but the prices are much lower than in the high season and the crowds are smaller. In fact, Eurail travelers may even decide to upgrade to a first class Eurail Pass since they’ll be saving money on things like airfare and accommodation.
Among the must-haves for your trip, don’t forget a good phrasebook – but be sure to supplement it with this primer for swearing in French. Of course, you want to be careful who you’re using these words around – there’s no reason to make enemies of the French if you can avoid it!
Don’t stop there, however – keep moving south (well, southeast, really) into Italy to make use of these Italian swear words. Getting from Paris to Rome is no picnic, even on a first class train, because it’s such a long trip – but depending on when you visit you may find warmer temperatures in the Italian capital than the French capital.
Have you ever used swear words in another language without fully knowing what they mean? Has that ever gotten you into trouble?
photo by Katie Tegtmeyer]]>
In order to take advantage of this killer deal on a Swiss Pass, you have to buy it between April 21-27, 2010, and you’ll have to use it within six months of when you buy it. The passes included in the sale are:
If you’re not familiar with rail pass terminology, the “consecutive” pass means you’re going to be traveling on a train for (in this case) eight days in a row, no stopping for a few days in one city and then moving on. A “Flexipass,” as the name suggests, offers much more flexibility – in this case it’s good for 3 days (consecutive or non-consecutive) within a month-long period. Those on a marathon trip through Switzerland – or anyone planning on taking train-based day trips every single day over the course of an 8+ day trip – will get their money’s worth out of the 8-days Consecutive Pass. The rest of you will find the 3-days Flexipass more useful.
These passes act as your ticket and are good on all Swiss trains, but they come with extra perks, too. Your Swiss Pass acts as your ticket for many of the boats in Switzerland and showing it at the entrance to more than 400 museums in the country will get you free admission, too. Some hotels in the country offer a discount to pass holders, and the pass grants you a discount on some of Switzerland’s special (privately run) trains and funiculars.
Click on the “Country Passes” link on the left-hand menu of this Eurail page, and then you can click on “Tickets & Passes” and “Swiss Pass” in order to book your Swiss Pass at 50% off.
photo by cookipediachef]]>
What originally started as a blog for a couple of travelers tootling around Europe by train – and with a Eurail Pass, of course – is being reborn now with a new purpose. We’ll still be bringing you travel tips and tricks to getting around Europe with a rail pass and stories of people traveling Europe by train, and now we’re going to be augmenting that great travel information with rail products to help you actually get around.
BootsnAll has some exciting new rail pass products that we’ll be introducing very soon, thanks to some new partnerships we’re thrilled to have. So Eurail Blog will soon be your one-stop Europe train travel site.
We hope you like the new incarnation of the Eurail Blog – and please let us know what kind of information you’d like to see here! In the meantime, here are a few of the existing Eurail resources on BootsnAll:
photo by clickit07]]>
Sooooooo, I’m going to slow things down this week…I can’t get it all sorted out at once. They say it takes one day of recovery for each hour of time difference, and if that is the case, I’ve got at least one more day of catch up ahead of me. So tomorrow, I will really rest. And try to keep things low key for most of this coming week.
I’ll try to get back here before the end of the month with some final thoughts on five months of train travel through Europe. Be sure to ask your questions about Eurail tickets or European train travel in the comments section and I will do my best to answer them (between naps, of course]]>
I spent a long weekend in Asti with my wonderful cousin and extended family, then two days couchsurfing in Lucca with a great group of folks, and I am now staying with more gracious hosts here in Florence. I continue to be showered with kindness from folks all over the world.
The trains have been fine — slow and late and hot — but fine. The first class car I was in from Asti to Genova on Monday had no air conditioning or electricity for about a half-hour, but thankfully when we got to Genova they put a new battery in and things improved dramatically for the rest of the trip down the coast to Viareggio. That was the only major inconvenience of train travel this week.
I don’t think I’ll be taking another train until the very end of my trip, when I am in Rome. I’m headed to a somewhat remote villa in Tuscany this weekend for a full week away, so this may be it from the Eurail blog until the final days of my five month adventure. Stay cool and don’t forget to cheer for Italy on July 9th!!!]]>
The Italian trains have been fine so far…I have been booking my reservations about a day or so in advance, and taking advantage of my first class Eurail pass to secure first class seats whenever possible. The reservations usually cost about 3 euros and are most often the same price whether booking first or second class.]]>
But I only had a few hours, so I basically just walked around. You can store your baggage for 3,80 euro for up to five hours at the train station. The baggage office is to the left as you exit the main station, Principe. And on the right just before leaving the station is an excellent tourist office. The guide there gave me a free map and suggested a two hour route that would give me a basic lay of the land during my short stop over.
Best thing about the visit was that it was not swarming with tourists…since it is not know as a popular beach town (even though it does have beaches) it is not as popular with summer travelers. But I think it should be, there is a lot to see here and I def plan to make a return visit one day.
One more tip about the train station, there is a small second-hand bookstore with many books in other languages, including English. I picked up two for 8 euros…like I need to be buying more books on this trip! But handy hint to know if you make a stop here…]]>
But here is some honesty — four+ months on the road is starting to take its toll…the hostels, museums and streets are so much more crowded now. And the heat! It is unseasonably warm for Europe right now…I love warm weather, but it really wears you out when constantly on the go…I am ready to get rid of the backpack now…it is soooooo much easier to travel in off season, especially if you have already been on the road as long as I have. But of course, if I was in Nice in March, I would not have been able to lie on the beach today and walk around Old Town with a gelato for lunch. So I’m not complaining…just sharing how I’m feeling today.
I guess I got a little spoiled staying with family and friends a lot during the past month…this is my first youth hostel stay in a few weeks and it is a totally different vibe in summer, especially a beach town! I’m staying in a very popular youth hostel in Nice, with perks like free internet access, free towels, great food every night and a very social atmosphere. But with that comes drinking…and excessive drinking…which leads to puking sometimes. And a girl in my dorm room gave us all a gift about 2 am this morning. Fun stuff.
Considering how long Ive been traveling, it is a wonder it hasn’t happened sooner. It’s all part of the stories that make up this adventure, and I am still enjoying it all so much…but now with a much increased longing for home too…
About two weeks or so left, and all in Italy, which I know will be fantastic. And hopefully pukeless!
Hostels in Rome]]>