Rail tickets, Eurail, Interrail
Interrailing has been around for decades, it basically means buying a train ticket that you can use in multiple European countries, except the one you live in (you get one return trip for the country you live in to get you started).
Why go by train?
Did you know that train travel is the safest means of transport? Also, the good news if you are worried about your carbon footprint whilst travelling, is that train travel is better for the environment than either planes or cars – using 17 times less fuel than planes and being five times more efficient than a car carrying the same number of people, and using the least amount of CO2 than other powered journeys.Interrailing is also way cheaper than buying individual train tickets or travelling by plane, its greener and offers a great level of flexibility.
Who can get one?
European in this context is in the geographical sense rather than politically. So despite Brexit the UK counts as being in Europe despite not being part of the EU any more. British citizens still do not need to apply for a visa in advance of travel to the EU as a short-term visitor (up to 90 days in any 180-day period).
The big difference is in what you can do while you are travelling around Europe. Where before Brexit GB citizens could just find a job and stay as long as they like in any EU country, eligibility to work in an EU Member State now depends on the host country’s visa requirements. As an exception to the above, British citizens can interrail in Ireland and live / work indefinitely and vice versa.
If you are not a resident in a European country (again the UK is geographically still a European country) then you need what’s called a Eurail pass. The Eurail pass is more or less the same as an interrail pass but for none European residents.
Buy a Gobal Pass from the UK or Ireland
Europe’s rail network is over 100,000 miles, covering an astonishing number of destinations.
If you are travelling less than 400 miles, travelling via the European high-speed train lines can be quicker than flying by plane. And you won’t have any of the hassle of hanging round airports and losing your luggage.
How much does Interrailing cost?
There are two types of pass, multi country and single country, on a continuous or flexible use basis. That single country cannot be the one you are resident in. Then the tickets are separated further by validity, meaning how long the continuous pass is valid (up to 3 months) or how many days per month you can travel on a flexible pass. The costs are then separated by age range, Here we are focussing on those under 27 as part of the ethos of this scheme is to mix and integrate European young people.
A global (multi country) continuous pass for those under 27 ranges from £300 for 15 days to £620 for 3 months.
A One Country Pass costs from 50 quid a country for a pass that lasts a month and gives you 3 travel days. For those under 27 the cost of a Global pass (thirty odd countries) ranges from £150 to £650. The more expensive the pass the more days per month you can use it.
How to plan and buy a ticket
• British residents can get an interrail ticket via National Rail.
• Irish Rail administers Interrail tickets for Irish citizens and has laid out the costs in an easy to read table.
• If you are not a European resident you need a Eurail pass
Remember you get a return ticket to and from all the other countries covered for the start and end of your trip. You can't use the ticket in your own country apart from this.
Another benefit of train travel is that you can save money on accommodation by travelling overnight, and it can be possible to get a good night’s sleep in the reclining seats found in most modern standard carriages. It's a good idea to have a blanket or light sleeping bag to hand in case the air-conditioning becomes too much, and choose a seat away from the doors so you won’t be disturbed by people moving around.
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