Train Travel - The Way to Go!
I use train travel to get around many countries throughout
the world. In Asia and Europe it's the preferred way to go.
Getting around Europe is a snap. Always
check the introduction to each country in your guidebooks for
specific details on travel. Study it and remember the particulars.
Here are my secrets on train travel through a foreign country.
Staying in one general area longer, to me, is a
lot more fun.
- Purchase Eurail
Passes or country-specific passes. The general rule of thumb is if you go more than
1500 miles in two weeks then you can use a pass. Buy
regional or country passes, if you limit the areas you visit in
- There are all kinds of deals concerning Eurail
Passes. There are consecutive day
passes, less expensive "flexipasses", where you travel a few days out of a set period like three weeks. There are youth and senior passes, passes for couples. There is even mixed passes that allow
you to travel by train and then rent a car with the same pass.
Check guide books or go on line.
- I tend to avoid all train passes myself,
because I've already done my long distance European train travel. I
concentrate on one area for the entire trip, say, England and Wales.
Then I return another time to visit, say, Germany and Switzerland.
- I buy point to point tickets. I make sure I know not only the
time and track number of the train, but also which car on the
train I need to be on. There is a sign on each car giving the
class, smoking/non-smoking and destination. Ask a conductor or a
man in a suit (they know) if you can't figure it out. On the
platform there is usually a Composite of the Train with all cars
and destinations. Look for it.
- When I get off, I check the time tables for departures and what
track they are leaving on. This saves a lot of panic when you
are departing in a rush.
- Remember, in many places in Europe a train leaves for your
destination every half hour or so. So relax. Confirm this on the
departing schedule (above) as soon as possible.
- Keep your eyes open for local, excursion trains that go all over the place including up into the Alps.
It's less stressful. I try to learn the
local language before I go. That way it's easier to meet the
locals and understand better what's happening around me when I'm
I did buy a Eurail Pass one summer.
I bought it in Egypt. Started it in Greece and traveled by train
all the way to Copenhagen, Denmark, to visit friends I met in
France. That's a proper use of a Eurail Pass. Today, it's
sometimes cheaper and a whole lot quicker to fly within Europe.
For train travel, I usually purchase
point-to-point tickets. This is because I tried to keep
long-distance travel in Europe to a minimum. I try to stay in one
area for the most part and explore it thoroughly. That way I keep
culture shock and languages to a minimum, always a good idea.
It’s much easier to try to be a French person for two weeks than two
days. That way I study up on the French language and French ways before I
take the trip.
If I do purchase a point-to-point ticket, I usually
visit the best train travel website in Europe.
That is the Deutsche Bahn or German Railway.
German Railway can help plan and sell ANY rail journey
anywhere in Europe, in English and German. It gives all
routes, travel times, transfers, travel class (1st, 2nd, high speed,
etc.), smoking/non-smoking, arrival times and a whole lot more. It’s easy
I learned about this trick from a Swedish Railway Ticket Seller, who found and booked my
trip from Sweden to Norway and back. This was not on the Swedish Rail
System but on the German Rail System.
In the USA, I use Amtrak for planning and booking.
America has some of the best railway journeys in the world. Try the
Coast Starlight (Seattle - Los Angeles) on the west coast or the California
Zephyr (Chicago - San Francisco) through the Rocky mountains.
General ticket sales and Rail Passes:
National ticket sales and Rail Passes by country:
Note: Brackets  indicate dates of operation, Senior discount age and price.
Try Scenic Train Travel
Less expensive scenic train
travel can be a blast
it, you'll like it!
Here are a list of important transportation topics:
Go to the Page on Airline Flights
International Traffic Signs