Last Updated on October 26, 2023
Traveling through Europe by train is a wonderful experience that offers a unique and authentic way to explore the continent. It is a cost-effective and sustainable way to travel that gives you a chance to see the breathtaking scenery of Europe.
However, train travel can also be overwhelming for first-timers. That’s why we’ve put together this guide on traveling through Europe by train like a pro.
Make an Itinerary
The first step to traveling through Europe by train like a pro is to plan ahead.
Research your Europe tour destinations and create a rough itinerary of the places you want to visit, as well as the duration of your stay. You can use websites such as Rail Europe or Eurail to plan your train journeys and book tickets in advance. This can save you money, time, and heartache on your adventure!
Buy a Rail Pass
If you plan to take multiple train journeys during your trip, buying a rail pass is worth considering. A rail pass allows you to travel on most trains in Europe without purchasing individual tickets for each journey. Different types of rail passes are available, depending on the length of your trip and the countries you want to visit.
Utilize Nearby Luggage Storage
When traveling through Europe by train, you may find yourself in a situation where you need to store your luggage temporarily. This can happen if you arrive at your destination before your hotel check-in time or want to explore a city without carrying heavy bags.
Fortunately, many train stations in Europe offer luggage storage facilities. For example, if you’re spending the day in St. Pancras, simply look for luggage storage in St. Pancras. Now, you can explore the city with peace of mind — and no heavy bags weighing you down.
Choose Your Train
When traveling through Europe by train, you can take high-speed trains, regional trains, or overnight trains. High-speed trains, such as the Eurostar or TGV, are faster and more expensive than regional trains. However, they are a smart option for longer journeys or days you want to travel between two distant cities in a short amount of time.
Regional trains, on the other hand, are slower but cheaper. They are an option if you want to explore smaller towns and villages along your route. Overnight trains, such as the Nightjet, allow you to save time and money by combining transportation and accommodation.
One of the advantages of traveling through Europe by train is the ability to easily move from one place to another. However, this can be difficult if you are carrying a heavy suitcase. Therefore, it is important to pack light and only bring the essentials. A backpack or a small suitcase is ideal for train travel.
You should arrive at the train station at least 30 minutes before your train departure time. This allows you to find your platform, check the train timetable, and board the train stress-free. After all, when a train says it leaves at 10:00, you best believe it’ll be on the move promptly at 10:00.
Additionally, arriving early can give you time to grab a coffee or a snack from one of the many cafes at the train station.
Validate Your Ticket
If you have purchased individual train tickets, don’t forget to validate them before boarding the train. You can do this at the yellow validation machines located at the train station. Failure to validate your ticket can result in a fine if you are caught by a ticket inspector on the train.
Keep Your Ticket Handy
Once you have boarded the train, it is important to keep your ticket handy. Ticket inspectors may ask to see your ticket any time during the journey, so it is best to have it easily accessible. Additionally, some trains have a designated area for luggage storage, so be sure to keep your bags in the appropriate area.
Bring Your Own Food
While some trains have dining cars or food carts, it is always a good idea to bring your own food and snacks for the journey. This can save you money and ensure that you have something to eat if the train has no food options or limited options.
Enjoy the Scenery
Last but not least, one of the most important things to remember when traveling through Europe by train is to take the time to enjoy the scenery. Europe is home to some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes and architecture, and traveling by train allows you to see it all from a unique perspective.
Traveling through Europe by train is a fantastic experience that offers a unique and authentic way to explore the continent. With these tips, you can travel like a pro and make the most of your journey. Remember to plan ahead, pack light, and most importantly, enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way.