Swiss Railways train in Zurich Station
SOME TRAVEL TIPS FOR INTERRAIL
It can be a complex business booking tickets for an international train journey, as you often have to make a series of separate bookings using different train operator websites. That is why Interrail is so handy, as you can plan and make reservations for all your journeys via the Interrail website or app.
There are endless opportunities to travel with the Interrail Global Pass which gives travellers access to 33 European countries or the 28 Interrail One Country Passes which allows travellers to choose one country to explore. The pass also offers discounts on some private railways and ferry services.
When Interrail was introduced in the early 1970s it was only for young people, but for many years now it has been available for travellers of all ages. Furthermore, it is not just suitable for backpackers, but can also be used for travel on business, especially if your business is in more than one city – such as from London to Munich and then on to Berlin. You can also buy a First Class Pass which is normally only about 25% more than for Standard Class. Nowadays all passes offer different prices for Young People, Seniors, Families and Adults.
For a Global Pass you can choose 4, 5 or 7 days within a month 10 or 15 days within 2 months. You can also buy 15 or 22 continuous days within a month and even 1, 2 or 3 whole months worth of travel. For a one country pass you can only buy a pass for 3,4,5,6 or 8 days within a month.
You may have to book a reservation on certain long distance trains – including Eurostar where it is compulsory – but a good travel agent or the app can help and advise you. What you cannot do is buy an Interrail pass at a rail station in Great Britain. However, it is possible to buy your Interrail tickets directly from https://www.interrail.eu/en. Alternatively, members of the Association of European Rail Agents sell them at (www.aera.co.uk), as do the Rail Delivery Group via their website https://www.myinterrail.co.uk . Please note that Interrail passes are only for residents of Europe and Eurail passes are only for residents from the rest of the world.
SOME ADVANTAGES OF INTERRAIL:
- They are useful for a series of long and more expensive journeys and can work out cheaper than paying high fares for a flexible single/return ticket.
- Most people now have the pass on their phone using the easy to use Interrail app.
- The website and app now gives you access to the timetable for most train services across Europe. This can be very handy for planning, reserving or changing your plans.
- The website and app allows you make reservations for most services whether compulsory or not. The reservation fees are usually between 10 and 20 Euros. In some cases, you can get a partial refund or change your reservation for a small fee.
- If your plans change, changing a reservation for a small fee could be a lot cheaper than losing money on an advance non-refundable fare and then having to pay again for another service.
- For Eurostar the fixed reservation fees of 30 or 38 Euros may seem high, but are much lower than the normal fares, which can be very high. They also apply to all departures throughout the day.
SOME DISADVANTAGES OFINTERRAIL:
- Some train operators restrict the number of reservations available to pass holders on busy services.
- You are advised not to waste a day of your pass for a series of local journeys. The local fares may not be very high and there are often “good value for money” local or regional day passes on offer.
TG & NP 19/10/2023