Europe train tickets with discounts and promotional fares

One of the best things about train travel in Europe (except for the UK) is that you can usually get the same fare if you buy just as the train is pulling out of the station as you can get months in advance. We’ve discussed the fact that for most people it’s not wise, but there are times when you should buy European train tickets in advance.

It’s not widely discussed, but Rail Europe, which is the company that dominates the buy-in-advance scene, has a list of special discounts at any given time. This is something everyone should check out before they start a trip around Europe by train.

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>>>Rail Europe specials and promotions

To be honest, if you buy tickets in advance on Rail Europe you’ll be paying around 10% more than you would if you bought them in person at the station. Now, that’s not unreasonable in order to save you the headache of having to stand in line for most of an hour in a country where half the clerks only know a few English words, but for some people they don’t like to pay more than they have to for anything.

Right now they are showing discounts of around 20% off quite a few of the rail passes and certain trips on high speed rail in France. Other times of the year the discounts are different, but obviously it’s wise to see if they have any discounts that match your plans because you’ll get by far the lowest fare if they do.

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  1. Rahul says:

    Hi,Could you help me in deciding which Rail Pass I need to buy (or not)as I have planned : 7days in Switzerlan , 3 days in Vienna ,3 days in Salzburg and 4 days in Prague .My trip woild start around 23rd of May 2014 . Please advice which train pass would be suitable and economical for me to cover these above places as we are 4 people in a family .thanks.

    1. Roger Wade says:


      One thing I’d need to know to recommend the best rail pass (or if a rail pass is a good idea at all) is how many rail trips you plan on taking within Switzerland in those 7 days. If it’s only 1 or 2 trips during those 7 days then I think you are better off just buying tickets as you go, or trying to buy them online through official rail sites of each country a few months early. You aren’t really covering too much ground here so most of the Global Eurail Passes wouldn’t save you any money. And depending on how far you’ll go within Switzerland, each of these legs is fairly cheap to begin with.

      Rail passes are great for people traveling between 4 and 8 hours or so on each journey, and most of yours will be more like 2 to 3 hours. -Roger