While not necessary on most trains, reservations are recommended in order
to be sure that you have a seat on a specific train. A ticket or railpass
will get you on most trains, but it won’t ensure a seat. Reservations
are not included in the price of your pass. You can make reservations
at the train station in Europe on or before the day of travel,
or in advance through our online Passholder Reservation
system for an extra fee. To Reserve or Not?
Most regional trains (shorter trips) you can just walk on to the train with your
rail pass and sit in any unreserved seat. We do recommend checking into your local
rail office the same day or a day before your journey to make sure you don't need
a specific seat reservation. When traveling on premier/high speed trains you will
most likely need to make a seat reservation before your journey at the departing
rail station. Any seat reservation fees or supplements will be charged to you
then and you will be guaranteed a seat.
If you are running late or making a tight
transfer you can board your premier/speed train and make your reservation and
supplement payment with the conductor providing that the train has available seating.
Peak travel months are (May,June,July,August), while peak travel times are usually
during the business morning and evening rush. ( Between 7:00am-9:30am and between
4:00pm-6:00pm) During peak travel season or if you are traveling with a large
group we do recommend making seat reservations to insure that you will be on a
specific train and will be seated together. First class passes will also increase
your ability to secure a seat during peak/rush time periods as usually 2nd class
cars fill first, and in most cases there is always space available in first class.
However, if your travel itinerary is flexible and you want to save money, we suggest
that you make your seat reservations before your journey, or when you arrive in
Europe. This will allow you more flexibility in your travel plans, and you will
save money on not having to secure any pre-journey reservations. Most trains including
premier/speed trains run frequently, therefore if by chance you cant get onto
one train there is always another one that runs after it or you can opt to travel
on slower regional trains that may require some transfers, but will get you where
you want to go. First class passes will also help you in this case, as you will
find a free seat more easily (2nd class fills up first).
To board the train you must present your rail pass, passport and any
seat/couchette reservations required. Your rail pass will only be accepted
if it is attached to the sleeve into which it was originally secured.
You can pre-plan your trip before you go or just wing-it. Most trains run on a fixed daily schedule apart from weekends and holidays and run several times a day. A free Eurail timetable will be included with your
Pass order or you can search the the online time tables below.
Click here for
online rail schedules in Europe.