Raileurope.com is the best way to purchase rail tickets when traveling in Europe. Because each European country has different train lines, different brands, and many inter-country routes, it can be difficult to piece together routes by visiting each individual rail operator’s website. This is where Rail Europe comes in – it’s a one stop shop for purchasing tickets, that are conveniently either mailed to you, or sent to your email inbox.
Rail Europe is currently running the following promotion:
- Save 5 Euros on an order of 150 Euros or more – Promo code 7ESS14
- Save 15 Euros on an order of 300 Euros or more – Promo code 8ESS14
- Save 50 Euros an order of 600 Euros or more – Promo code 9ESS14
Here in the US we have Amtrak, one of the only rail providers for commercial passengers. Aside from that, you’re real only other option from getting from one place to another is flying (unless you’re close enough to drive). In Europe, trains are the premier method of travel, and are often cheaper and more convenient that planes, since they provide downtown to downtown access.
Just this past week, I booked tickets on Rail Europe’s website for train travel from Barcelona Sants station to Pamplona, Spain, and then a return from Pamplona to Madrid Atocha. The train that operates this route is run by the Spanish rail company Renfe, on their Alvia line. Navigating the Renfe website on your own is difficult even for fluent Spaniards, and purchasing tickets on the Rail Europe website is much easier.
The website is run similar to an airline, where your enter your departure city and destination, and dates. What pulls up next is a schedule of the trains operating that route, as well as pricing according to the class of service you wish to purchase. In general, there are two types of classes operated on European rail routes.
According to Rail Europe’s website, First Class provides, “The crème de la crème awaits you in Premier Class. Available only on trains offering the highest level of comfort and the best quality of service, these seats are for discerning travelers looking to enjoy a high-end travel experience. Benefits start with a complimentary meal served at your seat or in a dedicated buffet car, but extend well beyond to luxurious accommodations and station amenities. For example, with Eurostar Business Premier, AVE Club Class or TGV First Class, you’ll enjoy generous legroom in spacious, sophisticated and quiet coaches. On British trains and SJ High Speed trains, all Premier tickets include free WiFi. Premier tickets for RENFE night trains and TGV trains offer access to first class lounges at the train station. If traveling overnight, enjoy a double or single deluxe compartment, which includes your own shower and bathroom for an unrivaled level of comfort and privacy. The range of services across all train companies is vast and varied – from free magazines and drinks to concierge services. When booking, simply click the “details” button below the Premier fare to see a detailed description of the deluxe services you can expect. Plus, you’ll often find exclusive perks start before you even board the train, like access to lounges and priority check-in.”
Speaking from experience, booking a 2nd Class fare is more than fine. The greatest benefit of the First Class car is that many, if not all, have single seat options, where 2nd Class is almost always in a 2×2 configuration. If the difference in fair is not more than 20 Euros, I’ll usually splurge to purchase the Premier fare, however if it’s more than that, I’m more than content in 2nd class.
Ticket prices are displayed in either USD or Euros, and are the same prices you’ll pay if you book elsewhere. If you’re wondering, charges are made via an office in NYC, so there shouldn’t be a foreign transaction fee, or worries about conversion rates.
I’ve used the Rail Europe site many times before, and will continue to do so since it provides the quickest way to purchase train tickets abroad in Europe.
Visit Rail Europe’s website HERE.
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