Choosing Between Tickets and Rail Passes

Trying to choose between train tickets and a rail pass for your European travels doesn’t need to be a complicated task. Read on to learn the differences between tickets and passes so you can make an informed decision.

Train tickets are valid for a single journey between two cities. Depending on the route, they are issued as paper, print at the station or at home tickets (when looking at a ticket you will be able to see all delivery options available for that ticket).

Train tickets are ideal for travelers who are not traveling extensively throughout Europe by train. In most cases, it works out more economical to buy a train ticket or two over a rail pass. If you’ll be taking three or more trains though, you may want to consider getting a rail pass.

When applicable, a seat reservation is included in the price of your train ticket and you are provided with a specific car and seat number for the train you will be traveling on. For full information on train tickets in Europe, please see our helpful guide to train tickets.

Rail passes allow you to travel on trains in Europe without choosing a set itinerary in advance. Passes are chosen for a specific geographic area (country/countries), for a specific number of days. Depending on the country, the type of train and the route, you may need to purchase seat reservations at an additional cost.

If you plan to take more than three trips by train in Europe, or are looking for flexibility in your itinerary, a rail pass is probably the best choice for you. For more information about rail passes, visit our Rail Passes Explained page.

You can use the multi-city search function on our website, enter your itinerary and our system will search prices for both train tickets and passes. This helps take the guesswork out of what option may be best for you. To use this option, be sure to click the Multi-City radio button at the top of the search box. Begin your search now!