5 tips for traveling by train in Europe

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Research the different rail passes available

If you plan to visit numerous countries, you may want to consider investing in an Interrail Pass, or what non-EU citizens call a Eurail Pass. An Interrail Pass will make your train journey easier. However, if you’re on a tighter budget, single tickets may work out cheaper (especially if you’re traveling primarily to eastern Germany). Consider your budget and do some research before you book your rail pass.

Try to reserve your seats

Train tickets and seat reservations are two different things. A ticket allows you to board a train and a reservation guarantees you a seat on a specific train. Before your trip, make sure you understand whether your train requires, recommends, or does not accept seat reservations.

If possible, try to reserve your seat, especially if you are traveling to super popular countries like France, Italy or Spain. For most trains, you don’t need to reserve your seat; however, boarding the train and hoping for the best is not a good idea. You may be asked to leave your seat mid-ride if someone else has booked your seat. When reserving your spot, you can choose whether you want an aisle seat or a window seat. You can sit back and enjoy the ride knowing you won’t be interrupted to move.

Keep your belongings safe

Traveling by train in Europe is known as one of the safest ways to travel. However, it is important to watch out for pickpockets, especially on trains that stop in major cities. Do not leave your luggage unattended on the train or at the station. On overnight trains, if you intend to sleep, be sure to secure your luggage on the rack with a small bike lock. For peace of mind, wear a fanny pack under your clothes to keep your passport, phone, and any important documents protected from would-be thieves.

Less is more: tips for traveling by train in Europe

Going from one country to another or from one city to another is a fun and exciting journey. However, the journey can become exhausting if you are carrying a heavy load. Pack the essentials and leave behind any items or products you don’t need.

Depending on the train you’re traveling on, there may be limited storage space on the racks and shelves above the seats at the ends of the cars. Instead of carrying a big, heavy suitcase, a quality lightweight backpack is another way to lighten the load.

Pack the right supplies for the trip.

Traveling through Europe provides sensational views; however, it is a good idea to bring a few key items to help pass the time, especially if you are embarking on a journey of more than 2 hours. Read a book, watch a movie on your tablet, write in your travel journal, or strike up a conversation with another passenger, and before you know it, you’ll be at your next destination.

Most trains have a restaurant, coffee cars, or snack carts that sell sandwiches, soft drinks, and more. But if you’re on a tight travel budget or have specific dietary requirements, it’s wise to pack some snacks on your trip.

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