Tips for Traveling by Train in Europe

The best thing about Europe is that travel is easy. If you want to visit France for a day, you can probably do so. If you want to spend a day in Germany, you can hop on a train and make it a day trip. Europe provides one of the best travel experiences there is. Each nation has something unique to offer like monuments or museums you must visit at least once in your lifetime.

Europe also has a very complex rail system given that its nations are rather small and close to one another. Hopping on a train from Paris to Luxembourg is just as easy as taking a subway from one end of New York to the other end. When you’re in Europe, you can expect you’ll take the train at least once, whether it’s for a quick ride into the city or on a scenic rail tour.

However you choose to travel by train across Europe, here are some Europe rail tips to keep in mind:

Always double check ticket information

This truly goes for any planned travels you might have, but trains are different than airplanes or ships. No travel method is exactly alike. Always have your tickets in hand before boarding a train. Some train systems might accommodate for mobile tickets. Check with your train company before assuming this, however, because not being prepared with a backup hardcopy of a boarding ticket can slow down the boarding process for everyone.

Unlike with airports, you may not have to arrive an hour or two in advance, but it is recommended that you arrive 20-30 minutes early to make sure you have the correct plaform and boarding details. You’re in a different world in Europe, so preparation is key.

Book overnight trains to save money

sleepingSome Europe trains offer overnight accommodations for travelers. This option is particularly ideal for budget travels who might be looking to save a little extra on hotel expenses. If you’re considering booking a sleeping car or having an overnight trip, you will need to make sure to reserve. Economy class will have reclining seats, comfort class will include a small compartment with a sink, and first class will offer private compartments with a lock, a shower, and a restroom. Usually overnight train trips include breakfast and dinner depending on how long you ride.

Be safe and observant

Whether it’s your first time in Europe or your tenth time, you should always be vigilant. Always be aware of your safety and your personal belongings. Notice what is around you and keep an eye on your luggage. Lock luggage if you feel the need to, and always report suspicious behavior.

Keep luggage light

You’ll find on most Europe train lines that luggage is pretty flexible. While passengers aren’t usually limited on the amount they bring, it’s a great idea to keep it light. Some train lines might have a two bag limit, so always inquire what the luggage limitations are. Smaller bags can always be kept at your side (purses, small backpacks, and satchels with personal belongings) and larger sized luggage can be placed in racks near each door. Some trains also have luggage compartments in the bottom of the train.

article-1166651-007CA50800000578-922_468x366Relax and enjoy the views

Lastly, traveling by train in Europe is a one-of-a-kind experience. You’ll see some of the most amazing views. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. Train rides are very soothing. Find a good book to read or rest your head on the window and observe the beautiful views as they pass by. To pass the time, bring some games to play or listen to some music.

About the Author: Cameron is a guest contributor from America by Rail, providing rail tours throughout North America and Europe. Learn more at their website.

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