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Selecting The Right Rail Pass For Your Upcoming European Vacation

Selecting the right rail pass for your upcoming European vacation

Join the club and become a citizen of the European rail community this summer

Are you planning on traveling in Europe this summer by rail but don't know which one of the many rail ticket offerings available best meet your needs? Don't feel alone. Choosing between the "Eurailpass" or "Eurostar Tickets" or the "BritRail Pass" or the "France Rail Pass" or "Deutsche Bahn Tickets" can be a very confusing and daunting undertaking. It doesn't have to be, though. Provided, of course, you know in advance precisely where it is you want to go.

"That's the ticket" when it comes to figuring out which ticket is the right one for you; knowing the countries you will be traveling to and through. And this, of course, depends upon how much time you will be able to spend in Europe. Not enough, I know (it never is), but it's time to face reality.

Are you planning on visiting just one or two countries in Europe? If that's the case, then purchasing regular tickets at the counter "on the spot" (or on board) is the most reasonable alternative. This is certainly one of the most flexible ways to get around and by being able to buy your tickets whenever you like you will also be in the position to take advantage of any special deals that might be available on short notice. And don't forget that most national train systems also offer discount cards, usually for a one-time fee, which can in fact reduce your overall ticket costs should you be planning on taking a large number of trips within that given country. The BahnCard in Germany is an example of one such card (www.bahn.de), as are certain offers made by BritRail in the UK (www.britrail.net), but train station information agents at any other country you will be traveling to will be able to tell you about their particular discount card program, as well.

Do you plan on seeing a little more and wish to visit three to five European countries? Then take a look at the Eurail Selectpass offer. If you plan to explore Germany, Italy or France, for example, the Eurail Selectpass can offer you unlimited rail travel in these three countries at a moderate price. Within a 2 month period, for example (and depending upon how much you wish to pay), you could take advantage of 5, 10 or 15 days of rail travel within these three to five bordering countries. Read more at www.eurailnet.com.

And if you are intent on getting all the bang for your buck possible, then the Eurailpass is definitely the way to go. This "mother of all passes" is the one you want in your pocket if you want to see it all. The difficult question to answer here is more often than not whether or not you will actually have the time to do so. Eurailpass holders enjoy the luxury of virtually unlimited travel in the 18 countries from which they have to choose. With a Eurailpass at your disposal, you can wake up in the morning with vague travel plans for Paris dancing in your head and then decide at the train station to head off to Rome instead. You're as free as a bird, only you won't have to be doing any flying. And it's precisely this kind of vagabond freedom of choice that has fascinated generations of young Eurailpass travelers finding their way through Europe. Get all the details at www.raileurope.com.

And of course, for residents of Europe (i.e. foreign students etc.), the Inter Rail is still alive and well. For nearly thirty-five years now, the good old fashioned Inter Rail pass has been a hassle-free passport for spontaneous travel throughout an ever-growing network of European countries. An Inter Rail pass is nothing more than an unlimited 2nd class train ticket with which you can travel through 30 IRC (Inter Rail Community) countries for a clearly-defined period of time. These countries are currently organized into 8 zones which are broken down as follows:

Zone A United Kingdom, Ireland Zone B Finland, Norway, Sweden Zone C Austria, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland Zone D Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia Zone E Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands Zone F Morocco, Portugal, Spain Zone G Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Turkey Zone H Bulgaria, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro

You pick the zone(s) and the times you want and then pay accordingly. Read more at www.interrailnet.com.

so, what is there left to say? Grab your passport, your toothbrush and your sleeping bag and head off for the airport. You do have your flight tickets, don't you? Because I'm sure that you've decided on the rail tickets you'll be using in Europe this summer by now.

By Englishpro - I've done lots of travelling, mostly in Europe. I speak twelve foreign languages and can bench press 734 pounds. I have climbed the Materhorn without oxygen. That's not my picture over there. I translate Ger...  





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