There’s no denying that Europe has been a hot spot this summer. With COVID-19 restrictions eased in most travel destinations, tourists are flocking to the continent for their travel fix. The number of inbound visitors has approached pre-pandemic numbers and it is expected to be a popular choice in the coming months. If you are planning a trip soon, one of the best ways to get from one country to another is by train.
Trains not only mean you bypass long airport security lines, but they also travel to and from the heart of any city or town. Most train stations are centrally located, meaning you can spend less time and money on taxis and more time exploring. Also offer some scenic routes that you might not see otherwise. For those who want to get around by train, the Eurail Global Pass offers flexible travel to 33 countries and can save you money. While these passports have traditionally been printed on paper, there is now a mobile version with an accompanying app for your convenience. Now if you are considering whether to buy one or have already done so, there are a few things to consider. To help you with that, I have outlined some key points regarding the Eurail mobile pass and the app.
1. Duration and Class Options
There are 10 Global Passes to choose from, ranging from just four days of travel in one month to unlimited rail travel for three months. Once you have selected the duration that best suits your trip, you will have the choice of a first or second class ticket. These only matter on high-speed trains with different carriage classes, but the former provide access to first and second class carriages, while the latter only applies to second class carriages. A first-class pass costs more, of course ($263 versus $198 for a four-day pass), but you have the added comfort of wider seats and less crowded cars.
Reservations are not required for local trains, but if you’re traveling primarily on high-speed or sleeper trains, you’ll need to reserve a seat. This can be done from the Eurail platform, sometimes from the train company platform, or at the station. Booking online usually adds a nominal service charge to the seat reservation fee, while buying in person only adds the latter. Unfortunately, reservations cannot be made through the Rail Planner app, and if you book them through the Eurail website, remember that they’re not integrated into the company’s app either, meaning you’ll need both your mobile pass and also need to show the reservation card to the staff on the train.
3. Last minute planning
Spontaneous travelers benefit the most from Eurail’s Global Pass because, like flights, rail tickets become more expensive the closer you book to the travel date. For example, the Eurostar between London and Paris starts at around $60 (or less during promotions) if you plan ahead, but if you wait until the last minute they can skyrocket to as much as $200. With this in mind, train companies only allocate a certain number of reserved seats to pass holders on bullet trains, so you might encounter the lack of seats problem, especially in high season. In this case, it’s always worth checking each day before your desired departure, as cancellations or extra seats can happen if travelers don’t book them at full price.
4. Adding friends or family members
If you’re traveling with friends or family members who are also using the Eurail Global Pass, link your accounts and select all passengers when booking reservations so you can sit together on crowded trains, or at least sit as close together as possible. Otherwise, you may end up having several trainers apart.
5. Data Free Access
If you’ve decided not to add an international data plan to your cell phone and don’t have access to Wi-Fi on the train, don’t worry. Fortunately, the app is designed so that you can still get the Global Pass on your device. You can also view timetables offline in case you want to plan something while you don’t have a signal.
6. The app may crash
Reviewers have reported glitches with the Rail Planner app where all saved rides for your trip crash or get deleted. Unfortunately there is no way to restore them, so you will need to add all your upcoming train journeys back into the app.
7. Is the Eurail Global Pass worth it?
If you are only traveling through one country, no. In this case, the company’s One Country Pass might be a better fit. If you are visiting multiple countries, then possibly. It all depends on the routes you take and how far in advance you book your trains. The best way to determine whether you are saving is to calculate and compare all prices with and without the pass. But if you are a last minute traveler then the answer is most likely yes.