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Using the Interrail pass, is there a requirement to go straight from the departing station to the desired border crossing point when travelling in the country of residence? Or is it possible to take some detours and start exploring before being abroad?

Of course, this would be using the global pass on the inbound or outbound days.

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The so called outbound and inbound trips on an interrail pass can not be used for arbitrary travel in your country of residence. The requirement is that the outbound trip is used to travel from any location to a border, airport or port and vice versa for the inbound trip.

The travel within the country of residence must in any case be completed within one day, which sets an absolute limit to how far you can try to bend the interpretation of the rules, but travel within the country of residence, with clearly no intention to use that trip as part of a reasonable route to leave the country, is not covered by the interrail pass.

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  • This seems like a no biggie for Luxembourg but a mayor drawback for Germans, French and Spanish people Apr 15, 2023 at 2:16
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    @QuoraFeans Interrail is designed to let people explore other countries, not their own. Apr 15, 2023 at 6:20
  • Do you have a definite source for the statement that the part of your trip in your home country must be completed within a single day? Asking because the Man in Seat 61 disagrees in his examples …
    – Jan
    Apr 15, 2023 at 10:20
  • @Jan What exactly do you think he diasgrees with? You even quoted the part where he writes '2 outbound/inbound days', that is one outbound and one inbound day. This is unambiguously related in Interrail's terms and conditions. Apr 16, 2023 at 7:46
  • @Tor-EinarJarnbjo If you look at the last-but-one paragraph of his that I quoted. For reference here: ‘So if you did want to go Dundee–London on day 1, stay overnight, then go London–Brussels–Cologne on day 2, and were happy buying a normal ticket to return to London & Dundee on your final day, that would be OK.’
    – Jan
    Apr 16, 2023 at 11:31
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There is no requirement that your inbound and outbound days must be the first and last days of your pass period or the first or last days that you travel on. In theory, you can use them at your liberty during the validity of the pass. They should, however, form a continuous journey from your home station (or wherever you happen to begin your trip) to a border or ferry port.

For example, say you lived in northern Scotland and wanted to take an overnight train to London and then an early Eurostar to Paris at the beginning of your Interrail trip. This would be allowed, however, it will cost you both your inbound/outbound days at the very beginning of your trip.

Detours are possible, but they should make sense. For example, when I used to live in central Hessia (Germany) and was planning on using Interrail to get to Brussels and then London, the shortest and fastest path would have been a couple of cross-country local trains to Cologne and then an ICE to Brussels from there. However, it was much more convenient to travel to Frankfurt first, board the ICE there and then take that ICE through Cologne to Brussels. I probably could not have gone to Fulda (due East, i.e. the opposite direction), take an ICE to Hannover (due North) and then an ICE to Cologne (due West) to do the same trip though.

For the sake of completeness, I don’t know how comprehensively train staff will be checking your ticket. Assuming you have a mobile pass, they’ll scan the QR code probably to confirm that you have loaded the correct train into your trip. If you can argue well and are good at bending the truth, maybe you can say (for example) that your actual destination is the Czech Republic and therefore you are going due East for the first train of my example above. Whether you want to risk this is up to you.

To add some source material, I will be quoting part of what the Man in Seat 61 says on Interrail outbound/inbound days. Note that he is not authoritative (but usually correct).

You don’t get unlimited travel in your home country – but are allowed 2 outbound/inbound days

[…]

The journey in your home country can involve more than one train, but must be a continuous single journey between a point of origin (typically your local station) and a border, airport or ferry port.

If you live in Britain, Eurostar counts as a train in your home country, so triggers an inbound/outbound day.

Apart from that limitation, the inbound/outbound days work just like any other travel day, unlimited mileage and unlimited trains from midnight to midnight, you need to record the journey on your pass as normal, and if you have a flexi pass an inbound/outbound day counts as one of your travel days — they aren’t additional!

So if you live in Britain, that first inbound/outbound travel day could cover travel from your home station to London, a Eurostar passholder journey, and onward trains on the Continent, all on one pass day.

For example, if you lived in Dundee you could use the first day on your pass to go from Dundee to Edinburgh, Edinburgh to London, a Eurostar passholder journey from London to Brussels, then Brussels to Cologne, all on one pass day. But you couldn’t travel Dundee to London on day 1, stay overnight, take Eurostar London to Brussels on day 2, then use your pass to return Brussels–London–Dundee at the end of your trip, as this would be 3 outbound/inbound days and you’re limited to 2. Got it?

For the record, although the intention is clear, technically your two inbound/outbound days don’t have to be first & last. You can use them on any two days during the validity of your pass. So if you did want to go Dundee–London on day 1, stay overnight, then go London–Brussels–Cologne on day 2, and were happy buying a normal ticket to return to London & Dundee on your final day, that would be OK.

Also for the record, it’s not a problem if you want to return to your home country during the validity of your pass, then go off travelling again. Although as you only get 2 inbound/outbound days, you’ll need to buy regular tickets to get you out of the country & back on your second trip.

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    I'd argue that the example of using 2 home country days to travel Scotland to London on one day, then Eurostar to next day is against the conditions of use (sec 5.2) - this defines the outbound journey as to a border and the inbound journey as from a border. interrail.eu/en/terms-conditions/…
    – Nibor
    Apr 19, 2023 at 12:54
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Section 5.2 of the conditions of use covers the usage of the global pass in the country of residence:

The Interrail Global Pass has a specific convenient price which assumes that you are traveling abroad to experience Europe. Therefore the product cannot be used extensively in your country of residence since the pricing for such a usage, in some countries, would be higher. In case of extensive misuse, the railways would decide to increase globally the price of the product which would be unfair towards the travellers who really want to experience Europe. In case a ticket inspector observes misuse of this condition, e.g. in case of frequent travels from and to the same destination, he/she can issue a fine and ask for blocking of the Pass to limit further usage. An Interrail Global Pass may only be used for two specific trips in the country of residence of the traveller (provided this country is an Interrail participating country). These two trips are referred to as the outbound and inbound journey.

• The outbound journey can be used to travel from any location in the country of residence to the border or an airport or port.

• The inbound journey can be used to travel from the border or an airport or port back to any location in the country of residence.

During these trips, the traveller may travel with more than one train, provided the trips are within the same day. Please note that the special rule for travel with an overnight train also applies. In order to make use of these trips, the traveller must indicate the relevant date and journey on the Interrail Pass Cover and on the Travel Calendar on the ticket, in case of a Flexi Pass (see also § 3.2). One Country Passes are not valid in the country of residence of the Pass holder. Residents of Belgium, the Netherlands or Luxemburg are entitled to buy the Interrail BENELUX PASS, however they will need to comply that the Pass cannot be used within the respective country of residence.

As others have commented, there is no requirement for the outbound and inbound journey to be at the very start and end of the pass, you could use them to return to your home country for example during the validity of the pass.

I'd say that using the pass to travel from say Scotland to London on one day, then using the Eurostar on the next day, would be against the conditions of usage, as they define the outbound journey to be to a border and inbound journey from a border.

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  • What is "the special rule for travel with an overnight train also applies." as that would presumably apply with getting the overnight train from Scotland to London? Apr 19, 2023 at 15:56
  • Very interesting, although my point is the ability to take a less direct route within the country of residence that still fits in one day. The "in case of frequent travels from and to the same destination" especially. I wonder how is this criteria supposed to apply.
    – DavGin
    Apr 21, 2023 at 17:50
  • This is the best answer because it's the only one that quotes the authoratative source.
    – Tom
    Aug 29, 2023 at 21:52

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