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I'm planning to buy an Eurail pass to travel Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany and Czech Republic (not necessarily in that order), I have an idea about how does this system work, but I'd like someone to confirm (or decline) that:

About the buying: From what I can understand, I just select the countries on this site and add the pass to the cart, then I select my country (Colombia) and then pay the respective money of the shipping and the pass. After 8 days, I get the pass.

About the functionality: It says that the pass is valid during 5 days within 2 months. I don't know whether those days must be consecutive or not and also if it counts the time of travel or the time of departure (for example, if a leave an station at 8pm and arrive other station at 6am, would this count as two days? or one?).

Another question is if this pass allows me to use any train at any station at any time within the countries I've selected (day, night, international, local, etc). I know there are some limitations about reservations and another things, but I don't know anything beyond that.

Any assistance you can give me will be extremely appreciated. Thanks in advance!

PS: Any further information you need me to give, just tell me please.

  • The Eurail pass is valid in 3 time zones, one of which only connected by overnight ferry or flight. But you can start out about 7 pm and travel through the night and following day till midnight the next day. Roughly 30 hours. But you will be hard pushed to find trains that suits those hours and most people will glad to be off the train. – Willeke Aug 9 '15 at 10:23
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More than I can explain you will find on the site of the Man in Seat Sixty-One.

Eurail, as well as other rail passes in Europe, have passes for a selection of days in a longer period as well as passes that are valid over a period.
And they have passes for a selection of countries (starting with just one) as well as passes for the whole of the network.

You said you plan to travel in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany and Czech Republic. While this is 5 countries, Eurail combines BElgium, NEtherlands, and LUXembourg into one 'country' ("Benelux") for the purposes of the pass. So a 4 country pass will do. You can find the explanation on this page of the Eurail site. Within the validity of the pass you can travel as much as you like and in any order.

As you are looking at a 5-days in two months pass, you need to know that you can use just those 5 days, and those days do have to fall within the two month period the pass is valid for. The other 55 days (roughly) you can not use the pass. If you want to travel by train more than 5 days you will have to buy tickets for those day or buy a different pass, which will cost more. With one exception, if you want to use an overnight train, you can sometimes start the travel on the evening before the day the pass is validated.

While the pass pays for your tickets, you will still need to pay for reservations and at time surcharges. For some trains the surcharge for a pass holder can be as much as a ticket bought well in advance. And when traveling in summer and in weekends round the year as well as peak hour trains that commuters might want to use you need to make reservations well in advance.

So, unless you want to use that pass 5 times, like to travel from the airport to your first country, from there to the second and only use the pass for long travels on trains that do not require reservations, I would buy point to point tickets as far in advance as possible. Even two days ahead of time you can get fair reductions on many connections, if you are flexible with the time of day you want to travel.
And there are many trains connecting the countries you mention, often one every two hours and sometimes even every hour. Within the countries it is not unheard of having hourly direct trains and additional trains on the alternative half hour.
Train tickets within countries are mostly cheaper than international tickets. Travel all the way across the Netherlands is always cheaper than 1/5 of the rail pass.

The site of the Man in Seat Sixty-One has a kind of tool for working out whether the pass is worth it for you.

A good site for time tables everywhere in Europe as well as prices for trains within Germany, and often across the borders, is the German rail planner.

  • Thank you very much for your time! I took a brief look to those website and they seem amazing, they contain a lot of useful information and I'll read it carefully. Also, the informationyou provided was extremely helpful. Thanks again! – Daniel Aug 10 '15 at 1:50

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