Planes, Trains, and Travel Tips

Planning a backpacking trip to and through Europe involves much to figure out, and the first thing that we look at are travel tickets.

First of all, I purchased a round-trip ticket to London through Expedia. When I went, a round trip ticket from Portland, Oregon went for $800 and had a layover on the east coast. However, you can also fly non-stop from Seattle to London, England.

London doesn’t make the greatest base for starting the trip due to the country not being on the list of countries that the Eurail travels to. However, I adore England, so the choice was obvious to me where to start. London offers underground train passages to Brussels and Paris with Eurostar, which charges about $120 a trip. The duration of the passage runs about 2 hours. Once you reach  Brussels or Paris, you must have your Global Pass with Eurail stamped, otherwise you cannot travel on their trains yet. The pass can be stamped at the station at either location once out of London.

I found that the best pass to buy from Eurail is the Global; this allows you to travel all trains under them. I took at least 40 trains when I went without any problems. The Global Pass allows you to catch unlimited trains all across western Europe within a time period that you chose. Going while you are under 26 remains a huge value; if you want to spend a month with the Global Pass as a youth compared to being charged as an adult, you save at least four hundred dollars.

One thing that I did not anticipate quite so much so were the reservation fees. On many trains, usually in Spain, Italy, France, or an overnight, you must pay a reservation fee. The fees can run from a few to about fifteen Euros, which is about three to twenty-five dollars. You must pay these to get a seat on the train, otherwise you can try to figure out a new route of taking multiple smaller trains which can take a long time to your destination and will save a little money in the process  – remember communication to others working at the train stations will most likely not be highly fluent in English. It’s just best to pay the fees.

The train system is going to be the mode of transportation that you take 96% of the time when you’re in Europe, it’s best to research as much as you can before you go. I found that when you spend at least a week there, you’ll become the master of train system. Also, right after you purchase your train tickets online at http://www.eurail.com/home, they will send you a railway map of Europe and the train schedule for every country they travel to and from.

The next thing to master in preparation is your backpack, which I will discuss in the next blog.

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