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Leonard
Houston Astros Fan
New Orleans
Member since Sep 2014
3906 posts

Experience with EURail (or alternative)?

Greetings Travel Board,

My wife and I are planning a trip to Europe next spring (2 weeks, give or take). My cousin is in the Army and stationed near Venice, that lucky bastard, so we plan to anchor a decent amount of the trip there.

This will be my first time traveling to Europe, so would like to get a good variety and the option of EURail was mentioned as an option for traversing. Wanted to see if this board had opinions.

Currently our plan is an NW-to-SE development of the trip:

- Amsterdam (2 nights)
- Paris (4 nights)
- S France or Tuscan Region (2 nights)
- Venice (4 nights)

Open to suggestions for sure, but mainly wanted to see whether EURail or an equivalent would aid/hinder our travel plans. The cost for the both of us would be about 560 USD total, which seems like a steal IMO.


VABuckeye
Ohio State Fan
Naples, FL
Member since Dec 2007
31573 posts

It's a great way to travel and the trains run on time. The only thing I'll say is pack as lightly as possible for the trip because getting luggage on and off the trains and out of the station can be a PITA.


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tduecen
TBD Fan
Member since Nov 2006
158591 posts

Someone stole my battery pack once while riding. Guess they thought it was my phone or wallet in my back pocket


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geauxpurple
LSU Fan
New Orleans
Member since Jul 2014
7827 posts

I have travelled by train in France, Spain and Italy and have taken the Eurostar from London to Paris. I love it.


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H2O Tiger
LSU Fan
Dallas, TX
Member since May 2021
3188 posts

I can't speak to the trains outside of Italy, but for that portion, while Trenitalia is fine, I've had great experiences on Italo.

It's a private company and not covered on the EURail pass however. For what you all are doing, the pass may be easier than trying to piece together the itenirary separately.


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Tree_Fall
Member since Mar 2021
94 posts

Trains in EU are definitely the best and most relaxed way to travel. I've taken a train in 6 countries including from Milan to Venice... greatly enjoyed it. Fast inter-city trains are nicer than anything you have experienced in US. Once you get on small regional trains it's still nice but less luxurious.

Stations can be confusing since many cities have several. Some stations are always being renovated and have blocked access...follow the crowd.

You will find travel advice warning about theft on overnight trains and hustlers in stations. I never experienced either, but be cautious about belongings.

Have a great time,

On one of your Venetian days get out to the smaller towns in that region. We've used LINK / twice and greatly enjoyed it. The co-owner Mario can also ship you cases of wine.


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Pepperoni
US Space Force Fan
Not in Fear
Member since Aug 2013
2637 posts

It depends. I have always used and gotten First Class each trip but not necessarily for cost savings but for flexibility. Assume you have five trips check on current prices (AMS to Paris, Paris to S France, S France to Tuscany, Tuscany to Venice, Venice back to AMS)

Start here
LINK https://www.rome2rio.com/map/Amsterdam/Paris


Amsterdam to Paris up to 260 one person one way
Paris to Nice up to 220 one person one way
Nice to Florence up to 60 one person one way
Florence to Venice up to 50 one person one way
Venice back to Amsterdam by train is US$250 - US$640 one person one way
(But the trip from Venice back to AMS is lengthy, I think train/fly combo is cheaper and shorter.)
You may still need to make reservations and pay on top of that for some trips.

Also see general pluses and minuses here
LINK vagabondish.com/


LINK https://thriftynomads.com/


LINK www.thebrokebackpacker.com/

I second what geauxpurple wrote: trip with Eurostar is superb. Also what Treefall wrote, if you have the time, go by train.





Leonard
Houston Astros Fan
New Orleans
Member since Sep 2014
3906 posts

Thanks all for the responses! Sounds like an enjoyable experience to be had


Pepperoni
US Space Force Fan
Not in Fear
Member since Aug 2013
2637 posts

quote:

Thanks all for the responses! Sounds like an enjoyable experience to be had

Planning is half of the enjoyment!


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baldona
Auburn Fan
Florida
Member since Feb 2016
16843 posts
 Online 

I haven't price shopped in probably 10 years, but Eurail was built more for someone like a college kid spending a summer in Europe that was train hopping every other day. There's great value there.

If you have a known trip, in the past it was generally better to just book your tickets as you go. Especially for something like this trip where you are going to be going through 3-4 countries. As I think Eurail each country over 2 or so costs more money right?

I just did a 2 minute search and it was $85 Amsterdam to Paris and $286 Paris to Venice.

Look at the limitations on Eurail also, as in upgrades and what not. You may want to do a night train and that may not be included for example. I'm just spit balling.


Overall, I think your idea is sound. I'm not sure I'd do Eurail though but again I haven't looked into it for probably 10 years.


SpringBokCock
South Carolina Fan
Columbia, SC
Member since Oct 2003
3054 posts

The best resource is this guy: The man in seat 61. His site is a fantastic guide for train travel in Europe.

Download the Rail Europe app. It’s the easiest way to plan routes and book tickets. Note it is slightly cheaper to book direct if you don’t mind the extra hassle.

Tickets don’t go on sale until about 90 days before the trip. Europeans mostly buy the day of and travel light. If you book in advance you can score great deals on first class - which is worth it if you know exactly when and where you are going.


baldona
Auburn Fan
Florida
Member since Feb 2016
16843 posts
 Online 

quote:


Tickets don’t go on sale until about 90 days before the trip. Europeans mostly buy the day of and travel light. If you book in advance you can score great deals on first class - which is worth it if you know exactly when and where you are going.


This is a good point. I think Eurail has to be done online ahead of time right? Now given you can probably do it at the coffee shop in the train station.

But one of the bigger benefits of train travel is the flexibility. You can arrive and take the next train out and many of the lines have a train every 30-60 mins.

So you can be really flexible with your own schedule.


Leonard
Houston Astros Fan
New Orleans
Member since Sep 2014
3906 posts

Yea reading the EURail site felt very much like booking a multi-city plane ticket

I'll have to read that seat61 site...seems like we don't necessarily need to over-extend ourselves if we can show up and buy tickets the day of. As long as we're aware of the general timing of routes and distances from future hotels, etc etc


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LoneStarRanger
Houston Astros Fan
Texas/Europe
Member since Aug 2018
1977 posts

Y'all make some good points, but...

quote:

Europeans mostly buy the day of and travel light.


Not true. I lived in Europe for 3 years (2016 to Covid). And I've done the EurRail pass twice. That's definitely not the case. Many, many trains will be entirely pre-booked days in advance.

quote:

But one of the bigger benefits of train travel is the flexibility. You can arrive and take the next train out and many of the lines have a train every 30-60 mins.


quote:

I'll have to read that seat61 site...seems like we don't necessarily need to over-extend ourselves if we can show up and buy tickets the day of. As long as we're aware of the general timing of routes and distances from future hotels, etc etc


To emphasize my point, don't take this advice.

Yes for many trips that are more local, you can buy a ticket moments before the train leaves. But for the multi-city/multi-country journeys you're talking about, those trains get booked completely, often days and sometimes weeks in advance.

Book in advance.

As far as your itinerary goes, you won't need EurRail pass, it won't make sense. I'd just book your tickets in advance.

I did EurRail pass in 2005 and 2012, it's great for younger folks who have time and flexibility. You do not.
This post was edited on 12/30 at 10:40 am


SpringBokCock
South Carolina Fan
Columbia, SC
Member since Oct 2003
3054 posts

FWIW, as an American, I also book trains in advance. Always first class because you get an assigned seat and a meal for not very much more - so long as you book as soon as seats come open.

Europeans are more used to traveling light on cheap trains and those £29.99 Ryan Air flights.


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GreenRockTiger
LSU Fan
vortex to the whirlpool of despair
Member since Jun 2020
16646 posts
 Online 

As others have said - book the tickets in advance

Also, pray the Italian trains aren’t on strike - - your itinerary ends in Italy so you should be fine


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