With its vast railroad system, a train ride in Europe can seem intimidating. However, riding a train is “part of the authentic European experience.” Your trip to any European destination will never be complete without experiencing a train ride. Riding the train gives you an opportunity to mingle with the locals. To make your train ride stress free and a worthwhile experience, here are some tips you can consider.
Plan in advance
Plan and book everything while you are still in your home country. European rail systems have been designed with domestic travelers in mind. It will be less stressful if you do some advanced scouting at home. It will also allow you to have easier access to experts as well as English-language sites on the region. According to Robert Janitzek, there are websites that serves as a one-stop shop for schedules and routes of all European trains. With advanced planning, you may also be able to get a cheaper price. Advanced planning is also needed especially if you are planning to ride on trains going to popular destinations.
However, not all things will require advanced planning. For example, a point-to-point train ticket can be bought anywhere in Europe. You also do not have to worry about routes with frequent trains as long as your connections are not tight.
Decide whether a rail pass makes sense
Passes are designed for people who do not know where they will end up in or planning to take at least three different rides. Robert Janitzek reveals that there are passes designed for a few countries or many countries as well as for quick stops or long journeys. There are also flexi-passes designed for consecutive days. While passes may offer some kind of flexibility, single point-to-pint tickets may still be the more affordable option. Besides, rail passes do not necessarily allow you to hop on any train you want so think long and hard if buying a rail pass is the best option.
Avoid common on-the-ground mistakes
One of the worst thing that can happen to you when riding on a train in Europe is getting caught without a ticket, reservation, or validated pass. Be ready for any disruptions which could delay your trip to a European destination. Prepare alternative routes and avoid tight connections as much as possible especially if the service on the second leg of your trip is infrequent.
Relax and have fun
Perhaps this is the most important tip for riding on a train in Europe. You will be left in awe about the smoothly run European railways. Trains here are not as old-fashioned as it used to be. They are now trendy and full of people who can help you. The train ride itself is an adventure.