The Eurail Pass: Is it worth it?

http://www.ricksteves.com/rail/eurail.htm

Is the Eurail pass worth it? What is the Eurail pass? Do I need one? These are all common questions of a first-time traveler to Europe. In theory it sounds great.. you hear “train discounts” and people start running. Let us break down what the Eurail pass is actually offering and shed some light on the other train discounts that are available for the most common traveler.

What is a Eurail Pass?
A Eurail pass grants a passenger free transportation on an ordinary train in accordance to whichever option is chosen. Almost all students coming to Europe for the first time are given the advice to buy this pass without fully understanding how it works.

So how does the Eurail pass work?
Eurail passes are really only worth it if you have a final destination city in mind and want to stop at as many towns as possible along the way. It is this scenario that needs the Eurail because you pay each time you have to board the train. Eurail passes in Italy come in different forms and in a span of 2 months. You can choose either…

  • 3 days within two months (€140) OR
  • 10 days within two months (€256).

A travel day lasts 24 hours, from midnight to midnight and with the pass you can take as many trains as you would like. It’s NOT worth it if you only want to travel once from city to city (ex. Florence to Venice= €43 one way), but it is worth it if you use it for those three days within two months (however, you would have to leave the city you arrived in within that 24 hour time range, otherwise you have to use another day). Seeing as this is a little confusing, most people don’t end up using it the right way!

Other than the Eurail pass, there are also two levels of discount on train tickets for European destinations. For example: if you knew you wanted to go to Vienna, but waited until the last minute to book, the regular ticket would be about 100 euro. If you were able to book that same ticket about 14 days or more in advance, you could get the tickets for about 29 euro! Then, if you could book at least 7 days in advance, then you receive the next level of discount for about 40 euro. There are also similar discounts for inter-city trains throughout Italy. Moral of the story? Plan your train travel in advance.

To look into these discounts and buy train tickets, you can come into the FlorenceForFun office and work with one of our very knowledgeable staff to find you the best route and best prices. We make tickets for all types of trains that depart from Italy, meaning you don’t have to deal with the long lines and impatient Italians at the train station’s ticket office, who don’t always speak English.

The last thing to remember is that FlorencForFun is a student travel agency with discounted student prices! Our mission is to create low-cost trips that would be nearly impossible to book on your own (for the same price) to some of the most exciting and exotic places throughout Italy and Europe. If you have any other questions about the Eurail pass debate, please feel free to comment on this blog!

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