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Traveling Around Europe By Train
- Book up to 60 days in advance
- Regional trains
Many agree that traveling by train in Europe is the preferred method of getting between cities because train travel is part of the experience, not just a means of getting from one city to the next. Trains in Europe are sleek and efficient and offer a warm and welcoming atmosphere, generous legroom and typically, amazing scenery outside ! Whether you choose first or second class, you’re sure to have a great ride on-board a train in Europe.
On many trains in Europe, travelers can enjoy the company of other travelers in a bar-buffet car offering a complete selection of food and beverages for purchase. (These types of bar-buffet cars are available on many major routes but should be confirmed at the train station before the train departs.) European train stations are typically found in the city center, so when you depart or arrive, you’re right in the heart of the city – a major advantage over flying, no hassle or extra cost of going from an airport to downtown.
For longer journeys, night trains are a great option as they get you where you want to go while you sleep soundly, saving money on a hotel for the evening. Night trains vary according to route. The most common compartments are Singles, Doubles, and Couchettes. Some night trains offer T3, T4 and Deluxe sleeping compartments as well. You can read more about Night Train sleeping compartments by visiting our overnight accommodations page.
Receive your ticket directly to your address. Just take them with you and you are ready to travel. Shipping fees apply.
- Regular trains tickets are open for booking 60 days ahead.
- Get the lowest prices by booking early and don’t wait until the last minute as cheaper seats sell the fastest.
- Opt for off-peak trains when you have to travel short notice. They are more affordable than morning and evening trains along with those running on holiday eves, Friday and Sunday afternoon.
A class apart
Classes of service
|Second class||First class|
|Regionals trains (Intercity, TER Express Regional Trains…) allow for more comfort in 1st class, offering spacious seating with generous legroom.|
|Regionals trains (Intercity, TER Express Regional Trains…) provide basic comfort in standard seats.|
Common Questions, Simple Answers
Q. How do I use my Italo print at home e-ticket for travel in Italy ?
A. While Italo train tickets are considered print at home e-tickets, you don’t actually need to print anything or retrieve a voucher or boarding pass at the station.
All that is required is the confirmation (PNR) code printed on your Rail Europe booking confirmation email. Just present your e-ticket confirmation code and a valid photo id to the conductor on the train - it’s that easy !
Q. Do I need to do anything to my train ticket before boarding the train ?
A. If you purchased and received a paper train ticket in the mail, there is nothing further you need to do.
If you purchased a print at home e-ticket, be sure to print your ticket before you leave home and keep your train ticket safe and secure. For Italo tickets, just print your Rail Europe email confirmation which includes your unique e-ticket confirmation code(s). This e-ticket confirmation code along with your photo i.d. will be checked when on the Italo train.
If you purchased a print at the station e-ticket, you’ll need to visit a self-service kiosk to print your train ticket (remember, you’ll need the e-ticket confirmation code included on your invoice). When retrieving your e-ticket in France at an SNCF kiosk or in Italy at a Trenitalia kiosk, you will need to “stamp your ticket” (composter votre ticket as French say) prior to boarding the train. Should you have any problems, just ask the conductor of the train to do it for you when you board the train.
Q. Is there onboard medical help in case of emergency ?
A. Currently most trains do not carry emergency medical equipment. In case of a medical emergency, conductors on board will radio ahead to the next stop so that help will be ready and waiting.
Q. Can I customize my group trip (meals on board, train station transfers) ?
A. We love groups, and we do everything we can to make the experience as pleasurable as possible. We offer onboard catering, motor coach transfers to and from the train station, as well as luggage handling at select stations. For more information fill out our Group Quote form and a dedicated group consultant will respond to your request.
Q. What are the fees associated with getting a train ticket refunded ?
A. The first type of fee is carrier penalties. These are charges determined by the rail carrier depending on the exchange and refund conditions associated with your original train ticket. For example, there may be a 15% penalty assessed for exchanges, which means that only 85% of the value of the original ticket will be carried over for the purchase of a new ticket. Or there may be a fixed penalty charged for exchanges, or no fee at all.
When browsing fares on our website, you can read a brief description of each fare flexibility level, and then see the full exchange and refund conditions for each fare.
Once you have booked a train ticket with us, its exchange and refund rules will be indicated in your Rail Europe booking confirmation email, as well as printed with your train ticket and/or on the ticket jacket in the case of paper tickets. Please note that train tickets must be received for exchange or refund within the allowed time frame mentioned in the exchange and refund conditions.
The second type of fee is Rail Europe’s administrative fee. This fee is charged in addition to applicable carrier penalties. The processing fee is 7% of the cost of the original train ticket.
Q. What should I do if a strike has been announced in the country I’m traveling to ?
A. Typically, a strike only affects a few trains along certain routes. If a strike is called within a country, you may continue your travels if there are train services operating. If your train is affected by a strike, railway officials typically provide accommodations for either alternate train, or in some cases, bus transportation.
If a train is canceled by the railroads due to a strike, and alternate transportation has not been offered or if you decline the alternate transportation, then a railway official at the origin station must cancel your seat and they must stamp the back of your ticket/reservation “Not Used Due to strike” before the original train departure time. Our partners at the European Railroads will not allow us to process a refund unless this step has been taken.
This process will allow you to submit that train ticket/reservation for a refund. Please be sure that all refund requests are received by our Customer Relations department within 30-days of the train departure date.
Q. Why should I purchase my train tickets before I leave for Europe instead of while there ?
A. While you can purchase train tickets locally, it has been our experience that 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. And considering how precious your vacation time is, why not spend it relaxing instead of worrying about your next train ticket ?
Q. What does the “Login with Facebook” button do ?
A. The “Login with Facebook” button allows you to log in to the Rail Europe website with your Facebook login credentials, even if you have never registered to the Rail Europe website before.
Q. How do I request an exchange through the Rail Protection Plan™ ?
A. To apply for an exchange under the Rail Protection Plan™, please contact us via our Contact Us page. Rail passes/train tickets/reservations/city passes/tours may be exchanged for the same or new products.
Q. What should I do if I am downgraded due to equipment issues, or affected by a traffic disruption or a strike ?
A. If your travel is affected by circumstances beyond your control, such as a strike or mechanical problems, the railroad will often put in place measures to compensate travellers.
If a train is canceled by the railroads due to a mechanical issue and alternate transportation has not been offered or you decline the alternate transportation, then a railway official at the origin station must cancel your seat and they must stamp the back of your ticket/reservation “Not Used Due to Mechanical Issue” before the original train departure time.
Our partners at the European Railroads will not allow us to process a refund unless this step has been taken.
Please send the ticket to our Customer Relations department within 30-days from the train departure date so that they can process any applicable refund.