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Train Tickets Europe - How to buy train tickets in Europe

europe train tickets

Most Americans are confounded when they discover that all of Europe appears to run on trains. With motorways largely relegated to commuter traffic and large trucks, the vast majority of tourists, or even persons traveling long distances in Europe, tend to do so through the use of the train system. This means buying lots and lots of train tickets, something that most Americans aren’t used to. What is a fair price for a train ticket? How does one purchase a train ticket? Is there any way to get a good deal on one?

A quick observation of any European train platform will reveal that most of the locals purchase train tickets at the station from either kiosks or at ticket counters. Most of these locations have English as an option, or at least have English-speaking attendants to translate. This is the most popular option for train passengers since it offers the maximum amount of flexibility to the rider. Planes are similar to trains in that tickets must be purchased not only for a specific route, but also for a specific time, and on a specific train. The use of tellers and automated kiosks allows train ticket purchasers to buy a ticket from where they are to where they want to go, and even allows them to compare prices and time tables on the fly. Most locations also have printed time tables in case a traveler wants to purchase tickets in advance, or plan to catch a specific train.

Train ticket prices can’t be negotiated and are generally set using government standards, meaning that they are already as low as possible. In fact, most trains in Europe are deliberately run at a loss, with tax dollars being used to make up the difference between the cost of a trip and the ticket price. This is to encourage travel via train, which helps keep the roads and airports from becoming clogged. This low price does mean that trains are often very crowded with passengers, since it is a cheap option for anyone traveling long distances.

Those who want to really save money on train fare should consider the purchase of a Eurorail Pass. The Eurorail pass is accepted in lieu of a ticket on most trains, and can be swiped at many kiosks in order to receive a ticket anywhere one is required. All trains on the Eurorail network will accept the Eurorail pass for its duration, which can be as little as a week or as much as several years. Eurorail passes tend to cost about 100 Euros per week, but the price fluctuates in certain parts of certain countries during the year in order to encourage tourism. Eurorail passes are often included as part of a vacation package deal. They may be purchased online or at a kiosk or ticket counter. The vast majority of Eurorail trains can be found in Germany, Spain, France and Italy. Eurorail passes are not accepted in England, nor are they accepted for the cross-channel train.

Some package trips that follow a strict schedule include train fare. This is becoming increasingly popular as a way to reach remote areas quickly, since the European rail system is, in many ways, superior to the road system. It is possible to purchase train tickets online, and in many cases it is not necessary to pick up a second, later ticket when arriving at the station. Many local trains do not need tickets at all, and can be paid for using tokens or simply putting Euro-denominated coins into a coin slot. Certain trains have specially discounted tickets for disabled persons, although this generally requires a state-recognized ID that distinguishes a person that they are disabled. Persons with disabilities should contact the train office ahead of time to ensure that someone will help them onto the train and that they will receive a reduced fare if they deserve one.

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