The countdown is on! Only ten days until I start my 3-month journey.
I’m not a procrastinator, but I waited longer than I should have to purchase my Eurorail Pass.
Why? Because it’s not as easy as the online-world makes it sound! Seriously, what is simple about picking a pass? Okay, I admit, if I had an itinerary in mind, I’m sure buying a pass would be simple. BUT, I am going with NO plan.
I’ve been on a few sites, including Rick Steves, for advice, but couldn’t really decide on the best course of action.
So, I headed onto the Eurail site and started comparing prices. Are you ready?
(Note: These are youth prices).
Eurail Global Pass: 10 days in 2 months – $548
Eurail Select Pass: 8 days in 2 months (3 countries) – $384
Eurail Regional Pass: 8 days in 2 months (France-Spain) – $364
Eurail One Country Pass: 8 days in 2 months (Spain) – $384
Alright. Do you see what I see? Let me break it down for you.
Why not the Global Pass?
I am going to be in Europe for a total of 3 months. A 3-month unlimited pass (not shows) is over $1000! No thank-you! I only plan on visiting 4-5 countries max, and the countries I am going to be in aren’t connected as well as Eastern Europe. Sure, if I were going to be in Eastern Europe, a global pass may have made sense. But, Ireland I plan on traveling via bus or one-way train tickets. France I only plan on traveling through, and maybe stopping for a night or two. Portugal is also a country not that well-connected via the rail network. Global pass (for me) is out!
One Country Pass – I think not!
I think this is fairly self-explanatory: why would I pay the same for a one-country pass (same amount of days) as I would for a regional?!
Regional vs Select Pass
I wasn’t sure if I was going to travel in France. I may decide to fly instead from London to Spain (<$40), but I don’t know. But I figured for an extra $20 I’ll have peace-of-mind. That’s the same for portugal: I’ve tried looking online for tips on getting around this small country, but haven’t really stumbled on much. A friend of mine who visits there frequently told me that the bus system is the best option. But, if I decide to train into Lisbon for a few nights, nothing is stopping me. Also, what if I decide to do the Mediterranean tour in France and over to Italy? The options!
Cost: $401 (including shipping and insurance) for the regional pass.
I chose France, Spain and Portugal.
How did you decide on the amount of days?
This was a tough decision. Do I choose 7 days in 2 months or 10 days? I opted for 8 because I figure I will be spending a lot of time in certain areas. I love to stay in one place for an “extended” period of time (more than 3 days) to really soak in the culture. Honestly, it was a total guess as to how many days I might need. I’ll be kicking myself if I realize I need more.
So, for those of you looking into buying a Eurail Pass, I’m not going to lie and tell you it’s easy. It’s not! Even if you have an itinerary, spending a lump-sum like this is never easy to do, and what happens if your plans change? Do yourself a favour, and RESEARCH. I wish I would have seriously looked into this a lot sooner.