Eurail Global Pass
The Eurail Global Pass (formerly known as the Eurailpass) is the standard pass, available for unlimited first-class travel for consecutive periods ranging from 15 days to three months. The pass is valid in the following 22 countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Keep in mind that if you choose, say, the 15-day option, you must travel for 15 consecutive days; if you skip a day because you want to linger a little longer in Paris, you'll lose that day of travel.
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Eurail Global Pass Flexi
If you're planning to spend a few days in each city before moving on, the Eurail Global Pass Flexi may be a better option. This pass offers first-class travel for any 10 days or any 15 days within a two-month period. With this type of pass, you'll want to choose your travel days wisely; if you're taking a brief hop between two nearby cities, it may be more cost-effective to simply buy a point-to-point ticket for that day and save the travel days on your pass for longer, more expensive trips.
Traveling with at least one buddy? Try a Saver pass, which grants a 15 percent discount to two to five people traveling together. To take advantage of this pass, you and your companion(s) must travel the same itinerary together at all times.
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Passes for Youths and Children
Travelers between the ages of 12 and 26 (on the first day of use) can save 35 percent by purchasing the Youth Pass, which essentially provides the same benefits as the regular Eurail Global Pass, except that you travel in second class rather than first class. Passes for children age 4 - 11 cost half of the adult fare, and children under 4 travel free.
Eurail Select Passes
While Eurail Global Passes are ideal for extensive multi-nation transportation, travelers who are visiting only three to five countries may be better off purchasing a Eurail Select Pass. With this flexible "designer" pass, you may choose to travel within three, four or five bordering European countries for a duration of 5, 6, 8 or 10 days within a two-month period. If selecting five countries, you also have the option of 15 travel days. The 23 different countries available allow for hundreds of different combinations. As with the Global Passes, the Select Pass also comes in Youth and Saver varieties.
If you're visiting only one or two countries, or if your itinerary is limited to a specific region (such as the British Isles), you may wish to consider a European Country Rail Pass.
Rail passes can be purchased in the U.S. from travel agents or directly from RailEurope.com. In most cases, they cannot be purchased after you arrive in Europe. Be sure to compare all of your options carefully before you buy, and weigh the price of the passes against the cost of individual point-to-point tickets. You can see individual fares and purchase all of the rail passes mentioned above at RailEurope.com.
For help purchasing your pass, see Buying a European Rail Pass.
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