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There were (and maybe still are) good value go anywhere European rail passes for the young. Unfortunately, I am now at the other end of the age range. Are there any similar go anywhere tickets for the old? I could use an over 60s one now. If 65 is required then I could not yet but I could plan a little ahead.

In case it matters, I am a dual UK / Irish citizen. I'd like a pass which covered at least the whole of the EU. A bit further would be ideal. I currently live in the UK so it would be good if that was included but it would not be serious if it was not, I could buy a separate ticket to get to the coverage area.

Despite my age, I am still tough enough for low budget backpacking type travel. I don't need luxury.

Additional detail. I am dithering between just wandering at random on a whim (I did that when I was younger) or more systematically visiting the EU and, if possible EEA, countries that I have not visited. Unfortunately, these are widely scattered e.g. Latvia and Cyprus.

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    Have you checked the Interrail pass? This is probably what you're thinking of for young people, but there is a version for seniors that is only a little more expensive than it is for youths interrail.eu/en/interrail-passes/global-pass
    – jdouglas
    Mar 26, 2022 at 12:43
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    Although after reservation fees etc. I don't know how good of a deal it is (anymore) compared to early booking discounts. But if you're looking to just go where the wind blows, it might be a good option
    – jdouglas
    Mar 26, 2022 at 12:47
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    That might suit me. The option of a number of days in a period could suit my complete the EU set plan. Make your comment an answer and I will up vote it and maybe accept it (depending on what else comes along).
    – badjohn
    Mar 26, 2022 at 12:55
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    For the love of all that is holy, I can not recommand Interrail. The service is utterly terrible and you'll likely end up paying much more, due to all the reservations or already booked trains. If you still think it's worthwhile, absolutely read through all the the changed terms and services. A couple years ago I would have still recommended them, but not anymore. Mar 27, 2022 at 8:07
  • @infinitezero Yeah, I'm getting the impression that they are more trouble than they are worth. Its heyday has passed. (Irish vernacular is appreciated.)
    – badjohn
    Mar 27, 2022 at 8:23

2 Answers 2

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Other than the InterRail pass, good for many random hops on non-reserved trains, you can get around as cheap if you buy tickets dedicated to a single train early.

Just like in the UK now, you can get very good deals when you buy your tickets months in advance. This means that you will not be able to travel on a whim, but you can often cross whole countries for as little as €25, if booked about 3 months before travel and using trains which are less popular. (The really popular trains start as cheap but the cheap seats sell out quicker.)

You can also do a combination, get a cheap ticket far out, buy a shorter term rail pass for the area, and buy an other ticket back home. Or do local, short distance/not expensive tickets within the country you end up.

A site with a lot of train travel information is the site of the Man in Seat 61. He has a page about travel passes and when/whether it is useful to buy one. He does give tips to work out whether a pass is financially the best option.
I did travel with a pass once because I enjoyed the idea of just hopping on trains, where tickets bought early might have been cheaper.

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  • Thanks. I need to decide whether to do my "complete the EU" tour or just random hopping first.
    – badjohn
    Mar 26, 2022 at 16:52
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You may be thinking of the Interrail pass for young people, but there is a version for seniors that is only a little more expensive than it is for youths.

Some trains, mainly high-speed and overnight services, require a paid reservation (the fee chart can be found here). The average fee is €10-€20, but can be much higher depending on the trip length and class. This, combined with the fact that many operators offer early-booking discounts, means that it can be cheaper to just book in advance. But if that suits you will depend on your travel style.

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