Posted by: 2girls2europe | June 16, 2011

Decrypting the Eurail… or Code Cracking 472

More like the eura-never-going-to-understand-me. The website leaves you with more questions than answers, so I, dearest readers, will share the answers with you. You may ask how I figured it out. My formula is 5 to 7 hours of surfing the web and one 20-minute hyperventilation session. I don’t recommend you follow my path. Gina and I ended up buying youth global passes continuous for one month, which cost $831 with taxes per person. (Yeah, it’s a punch in the fiscal gut)

1.    To what kind of trains do you have access?

You have access to all national and international trains in Europe. That means it covers trains city to city, but not within cities. It only works in 22 countries, so make sure that the eurail covers you. Don’t worry it goes to Dijon (the mustard capital of the world). And use the planning tab of the website to find out if they have trains in the cities you will be visiting. As an obnoxious and painful sidenote, you have to type the city all the way into the wee little box or it won’t recognize it as a place. Shouldn’t all websites be required to autofill? We are in the 2010’s now.

2.    What’s the difference between the global pass and the specific country passes?

All you need to know is if you are traveling between more than 5 countries, you need the global pass.

3.    Continuous vs. fragmented journeys?

If you are traveling between specific cities only on specific days, opt for the fragmented journey, because they are cheaper. However, if your travel dates are flexible and you will be there for longer than a month, I would opt for the continuous month. Even though they offer one with 21 days, what if you run out? What if you want to take a spontaneous trip to Hungary? What if you are trapped in a city you hate and want to leave? Better safe than sorry, and the difference is only a hundred or so dollars.

4.    Do I still have to make reservations ahead of time for trains?

YES. YOU HAVE TO MAKE SOME TRAIN RESERVATIONS AHEAD OF TIME. One would think that because you have the eurail pass that guarantees your seat, but no-siree. By using the planning tab and the packet that eurail sends you with your ticket, you can find out which need reservations and which don’t. Any trains traveling in peak season between popular cities especially on the weekends will need reservations. The last thing you want is be clutching your backpack in the aisle for an 8-hour train ride next to the vomiting baby, five feet from the bathroom that smells like death and feces and sweat.

5.    What should I know when paying for the Eurail?

Sometimes it comes up on your bank account twice. This happened to me. Imagine me, ye old college student, doing a quick check only to find that my measly bank account was charged $800 twice. TWICE. I panicked and knocked over my earl gray tea and maybe hit a person. It turns out the bank  put the second charge on as a hold, which means that your bank basically doesn’t trust you and thinks the amount is more than you would normally spend. Luckily, it is an easy fix. Woot woot! The eurail customer service is AMAZING. I spent almost an hour on the phone with a pleasant man named Martin (we discussed plans for the weekend, where he is located, if he likes his job), but getting in touch with my bank via the 1-800 number on the back of my visa was a total pain in my behind. I actually had to conference call my bank and me and Martin (phone bestie), so it could get cleared up. Eventually, the second charge was removed, and I had learned that eurail’s costumer service is baller.




  1. It has a wicked learning curve, but once you get it, it’ll seem like the best thing in the entire world.

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