In many places, if you’re planning a train trip, you have two basic options: purchase the tickets for each leg of your trip separately, or purchase a rail pass that covers multiple days of travel. Rail passes work differently in different places, but they tend to share some similar characteristics, and they often provide the best deal for travelers who intend to make several trips in a short period of time. So if you’re planning to use a rail pass on your next trip, considering the following tips.
– Read the fine print. Each rail pass comes with different stipulations. They may have strict guidelines about when and how they must be activated. They may allow a certain number of travel days in a given period, or they may be usable only for a certain number of days starting on the first day of use. Knowing all the details about your specific pass is the best way to make sure your trip goes smoothly.
– Know which lines are covered. Rail passes generally cover all trains run by a national train company, but that doesn’t mean they cover every rail line in the country. Some tourist regions have small, private train networks that won’t take rail passes. Commuter trams and subways are usually operated by city authorities and are therefore not covered by the passes. In addition, some high-speed intercity trains won’t accept a rail pass either.
– Know how to use your pass. Having a pass doesn’t always mean you can hop on any train at will, even if your pass covers travel on it. For example, you may need to activate your pass at a station beforehand. You may also need to make seat reservations for specific trains, sometimes paying a fee when you do so, or you may only need to show your pass to the conductor when you board. To avoid any trouble, it’s essential to understand what you need to do in order to ride on a given train.