Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The EuroRail Pass

Some of you may be thinking that all of this travel must have cost a fortune. Well since I was under 26 years old, I was able to purchase Youth Eurarail Passes. The youth pass costs 65% of the adult pass.

More specifically, I purchased Youth Eurarail Flexipasses. It is a flexible ticket accepted by most countries in Europe with the notable exception of Britain. There were two different types that I purchased. If memory serves correctly, the first was ten days of travel within two months at a cost of $250 and the second was five travel days within two months for $300. That was in 1991. The prices and the types of tickets may have changed. Though, I may be wrong and the types of tickets have not changed. In any case, you get the idea.

How they work is that the day you start using the pass you have it validated at the station. Each day you choose to travel, you mark the date on the pass and it is verified by the conductor in order to be allowed to travel. So during the date marked on the pass, you are allowed to jump on any regular train that departs before midnight of that date to anywhere served by the pass. It is an amazing amount of freedom.

And there are some tricks. If you are taking an overnight direct train that departs after 7PM, you are allowed to mark the following day. This can give you an extra day when you start the pass. Plus you can do it to take an overnight train and arrive in a city in the morning, then depart (or return) on an overnight train that night to another destination (or back home). I used this trick often during my stay there.

It was a great asset to be able to choose the days of travel within the two or three month time period. And if there were unused days toward the end, it made for a good time to get away. The freedom and relatively cheap price of travel made the pass and incredibly valuable part of my travels. That and my Thomas Cook Train Schedule.

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