Placing a booking
Who can book on your website?
We are authorized to sell to travelers who reside in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, and who have a passport, permanent residency card or resident alien card/alien registration card (example: a US Green Card) from the country of residence.
If you are a resident of one of these areas but carry a passport from a location other than those mentioned above, you can purchase most train tickets, Eurail products, Swiss passes and activity products from our website. When completing the traveler information that is requested during the booking process on our website, this country of residence must be the country you should select.
Please note: it is necessary to supply both your passport and permanent residency card to an overseas rail official if so requested.
If you do not reside in one of the above locations, please visit one of our sister companies for more information on where you can purchase European train products.
Does your website display all trains operating for the route searched?
We strive to provide the most comprehensive European rail booking engine online. We have specific partnerships with most European railroads. These partnerships determine the extent to which we are able to provide complete and accurate schedules through our booking engine.
For many countries, our schedules match the complete offerings of the European train companies. But occasionally, some train companies do not load schedules for all local trains. Also, schedules for certain private trains may not be available through our booking engine.
We work relentlessly with European railways to ensure that we can offer our customers the widest range of travel options possible.
When I compare your schedules with European railroad sites, I notice some differences. Why?
Although this is not typical, you may occasionally find some discrepancies between the train schedules shown on our website and the ones listed on a rail carrier’s website. This is generally due to the fact that the rail carrier has not yet made available its complete schedule range in the European train schedule database we use to populate our booking engine, or that it has incompletely loaded its schedules.
We continuously work with individual European railroads to establish partnerships that ensure our direct access to all inventories in order to provide you with the fullest range of travel options.
Can I add products to an earlier booking and avoid paying the shipping or booking fees?
Unfortunately, once a booking has been finalized it’s being processed and we’re unable to alter it.
However, when you add products to your itinerary on our website, you can save it to your account for up to 24 hours. When you save your itinerary, we guarantee the price and space whenever possible. By doing so, you can retrieve your cart, add more products and finalize everything at once and only pay one shipping fee. Please note that some tickets, such as British and Spanish train tickets are only available for immediate confirmation and we cannot guarantee the prices on those tickets.
How can I book an itinerary with multiple cities?
For itineraries that consist of two or more segments, your best option is to use our multi-city booking tool.
You simply enter the cities you plan to depart from, arrive to, and your travel dates. Our system will then search the database to provide the best matching schedules. In addition to the price per segment for your train tickets, you’ll be given the cost of a rail pass for your route for comparison. All to take the guesswork out what the better deal is, train tickets or a rail pass.
Do you offer student, family and/or senior discounts?
Yes. Rail Europe offers a wide range of train tickets and rail passes that provide discounts to children, youths, seniors or groups of people that travel together.
These discounted rates vary depending on the type of train ticket or rail pass you are purchasing and are not always offered. Please read more about discounted fares offered on train tickets or discounted rates offered on rail passes.
We always attempt to find the cheapest fares for your traveling party and get you the discounts you’re eligible for. This is why it’s important to accurately indicate the composition of your traveling party when requesting fares and schedules or rail pass prices from our website. You may also have to enter the age of certain travelers, so we can determine whether they’re eligible for certain age-related discounts.
How can I find the cheapest train tickets?
There are two ways you can ensure you get the best price. The most effective way is to book your train ticket in advance. Many rail carriers operating high speed trains or night trains make a limited number of cheaper seats available for advance purchase. Once those seats have been sold or the purchase window has passed, prices go up. That’s why we recommend booking 60 to 90 days prior to the train departure, especially if you plan on traveling during peak season (summer and holidays).
The other way to ensure you get the best rate is to correctly indicate the composition and number of your traveling party when requesting your fares and schedules. This will allow us to determine eligibility for some reduced fares such as child, youth or senior fares when offered by the rail carrier.
I placed a booking on your website but received a message saying my booking needs to be reviewed by a Travel Consultant. Why?
Sometimes, certain products within your booking are not available for confirmation at the time of booking and one of our Travel Consultants needs to manually confirm your booking. Once the booking is confirmed, they will contact you to advise it has been finalized and issued.
There are various reasons that could prevent a product from being automatically confirmed. You’ll find below some of the most common situations that can prevent your booking from being confirmed immediately:
- A price change may have occurred between the quoted fare and best available fare found at the time of confirmation. In these cases, we will attempt to confirm your trip at the current available fare. If the fare is less, your booking will be processed at the reduced rate. If the fare is higher, we will request your approval before finalizing the transaction.
- Due to unavailability of the rail carrier’s reservation system, immediate confirmations may not be possible at the time of booking for some of your products. For these cases, as soon as the carrier’s system becomes available again, we will attempt to confirm your itinerary. If a fare increase should occur, we will request your approval before finalizing the transaction.
- Our fares and schedules database may at times become temporarily de-synchronized from that of a European rail carrier. This typically happens when train schedules are being updated for summer and winter travel. During summer, additional trains may be added to accommodate the increased volume of travelers, whereas winter usually has extra trains being removed.
Whatever the reason, our Travel Consultants will review your booking and contact you within two business days if there are any changes to your itinerary or if the price has increased.
I just placed a booking and realized I made a mistake. How can I make changes?
Just call our Contact Center normal business hours to make changes to your booking. As long as it hasn’t been invoiced yet, it’s usually not a problem to fix it. However, please note that an exchange fee and price change may be applicable depending on what needs to be changed.
I recently saw a fare on your website that I can’t find anymore. Why?
Just like airfares, rail fares fluctuate over time. In most cases, the fare you’re quoted on our website is based on current availability at your time of request. It’s possible that the fare quoted to you has sold out and become unavailable. However, know that the new fare you see on our website is always the cheapest fare offered, based on current availability.
What information do I need to provide in a booking to purchase with Rail Europe?
We require your name as it appears on your passport (first and last name only), gender, and (in some cases) date of birth. Please note that this same information will be necessary for all travelers in your travel party.
We’ll also need a physical mailing address where we can send your travel documents. We send documents using UPS, and the package will need to be signed for. In addition, we’ll need a valid email address so we can send you an invoice, and a phone number in case we need to contact you regarding your booking.
If I don’t live in North America, can I book with Rail Europe?
This Rail Europe site is dedicated to residents from North America. However, you can book with a Rail Europe that covers the country you reside in. Prices will be quoted to you in your local currency, and you’ll be able to provide a shipping address in your country of residence. Rail Europe has country-specific websites for the following countries:
If you do not see your country of residency in the list above, please click here to purchase your rail product(s).
How far in advance can I buy my train ticket?
We know, you can’t wait!
Train tickets can be purchased 60 to 180 days in advance, depending on your route of travel. Rail carrier policy varies, depending on when their schedules are available for sale.
For the best deals, purchase your train tickets three months in advance, if possible. But always book as far in advance as you can to assure the best price and to avoid your class of service being sold out (especially during peak travel season on high-speed trains).
Why should I purchase my train tickets before I leave for Europe instead of while there?
Well, you can purchase your train tickets in both places. But as explained in the article about finding the best fares, the earlier you book the more likely you are to get the best fares. The longer you wait, the more likely the cheaper fares will be sold out. By booking early, you can avoid a higher ticket price.
Buying in advance also can save you a lot of time. You won’t have to wait in line at the train station window. And considering how precious your vacation time is, why not spend it relaxing instead of worrying about your next train ticket?
Should I buy my rail pass or train ticket before I leave for Europe?
Yes. We find that when traveling abroad, it’s always best to book before you depart North America. That way, you’ll arrive with the proper paper documents in hand and avoid fully booked trains that can disrupt your travel plans. This is especially important during the summer months when trains in Europe tend to sell out quickly due to increased tourism.
Most trains are available for purchase 90 days in advance of the day you’d like to travel. Again, it’s best to reserve as soon as possible to guarantee that you’ll have a seat on-board.
I have my train ticket. Do I also need to buy a reservation?
No. In most cases when you buy a train ticket from Rail Europe, you don’t need to buy a reservation to ride.
Only travelers with a rail pass may need to buy seat reservations. To learn more, read our detailed article on reservations.
Rail Europe train tickets always include a reservation whenever possible. In other words, if you’re taking a train that requires a reservation, one will already be included with your train ticket from us. If you’re boarding a train that offers reservations but doesn’t require them, tickets sold on our website will include one, if available, at the time of booking.
For certain trains that offer reservations but don’t require them, it is possible that we do not include a seat reservation with your train ticket. This may happen when we don’t have access to those reservations, which can only be purchased locally. Rest assured that even if this is the case, your Rail Europe train ticket will still allow you to board and sit at any unoccupied seat.
Can I still buy train tickets from you once I’m in Europe?
Yes, but only for trains that offer print at home or print at the station e-tickets. In general, we don’t ship paper tickets to Europe. If the train you want only offers a paper ticket, you will need to buy it locally at the station.
And while in Europe, you can still access our website, mobile site and iPhone app to browse fares and schedules and buy additional e-tickets.
Can I book a rail pass and a seat reservation at the same time?
Absolutely, and we encourage it. This way, you can avoid being charged multiple booking fees. Once you’ve added the pass you want to your booking, simply go to our reservation booking engine to search for your reservations.
We always recommend buying your reservations before you leave because high speed and night trains often have a limited number of seats set aside for rail pass holders, and these seats tend to sell out. So the earlier you secure your reservation, the better.
Where do I find my booking number?
Your unique booking number is located in the upper left-hand corner of your email confirmation, or the upper right-hand corner of the invoice that came with your documents. (Your tickets do not contain the booking number.)Please note: this is NOT the number you will use to retrieve your print at the station tickets locally in Europe; please reivew your invoice for the applicable e-ticket confirmation codes needed to retrieve your tickets.