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We’ve all seen the recent headlines shouting about the mayhem of summer travel in the EU. With flight cancellations, delays, and lost luggage being the tip of the iceberg…It’s time we reclaimed the art of interrailing!
EU Rail’s Global and Single Country Passes can take you to over 30,000 destinations across Europe. You can either map out your route in advance or simply decide on the day! They offer a range of passes from 5 days to 3 months. It’s simple to use once you’ve downloaded the EuRail mobile app and they have a great online map (see below) to help you plan an itinerary.
When you activate a travel day you have unlimited train journeys on that day. So, if you have 5 days in one month, that means you can travel to as many places as you like on those days. When those longer journeys start to add up, that's where you can find savings.
*Note that some high-speed and long-haul trains require a seat reservation that will be a relatively small additional cost (between 10-35 euros, see map page 2).
Long-haul train travel in my mind, has always been a more luxurious way to get around. Prior to the pandemic, it was more expensive than the deliciously cheap European airfares we took for granted. How times have changed (maybe for the better) and a case for the Euro Rail has never been stronger. Here are 4 key reasons why you should take a serious look into the EU Rail Pass.
Level up the legroom and experience comfort that’s miles above the usual economy seats of your average budget airline. The first time I stepped onto a Spanish Renfe train, I thought I had been upgraded to first class. I couldn’t believe the legroom and even the quality of the food from the cafe on board was nothing like what I expected. Europe’s high-speed train network features modern trains with useful features like plug points and reclining chairs. You'll find no hidden fees or baggage fees either. As airlines try to claw back money, many have pulled a sneaky by making carry on luggage smaller (under 7 kilos instead of 10 and even trying to make you pay for a single cabin bag!). Trains on the other hand have minimal limits!
Of course, there are lots of factors at play but looking at relatively last-minute costs right now, it’s cheaper to travel by train. This would have seemed ridiculous to me even a few months ago but with the fuel crisis and airline staff shortages. As I’m writing this, I’m stuck in Rome after multiple flight cancellations, wishing I could hop on the train to Madrid instead. When you look at the prices, an EU Rail Multi-Pass will save you a lot of cash if you use it optimally. Especially when you factor in your time and transport to and from the airport.
The EU Rail pass encourages you to look at other cities on the way to your destination. Travel like a local. These cities might not have been on your original list but will be off the beaten path and make for a way more unique travel experience. Not to mention the views of rolling hills, vineyards, mountains, forests and small towns to keep you entertained. The scenery can show you so much more of a country! If you see a cool location out the window, pin it to your Google Maps and save it for a future trip. For example, I took a recent trip to Barcelona using my One Country Spanish Pass (which I purchased because it cost me the same for a 6 day pass as it would have for a return train ticket from Madrid to Barcelona) and I took a ride to Girona and Toledo on my travel days too. I’d never even heard of Girona and now it’s probably one of my favourite spots in Spain!
Australia’s seen record flooding and wild weather this winter and the Northern Hemisphere is in the middle of the biggest heatwave on record. At this point, you’d be living in loon loon land if you’re still in denial about climate change. Train travel trumps flights, especially short-haul and in a big way when it comes to Co2 emissions. Check out this graph from the EcoPassengers.org - a website that calculates the most sustainable way for you to travel to your destination. This was a trip from Madrid to Barcelona:
If you're still on the fence, take a look at the example itineraries to help inspire you. In the meantime, I've added my two top pieces of gear for making rail travel as smooth as possible.
The perfect size pack for stowing overhead or under your seat. The Gregory Detour 40L travel backpack is made with superior quality, including a dedicated zippered laptop compartment (up to 15 inch) and a convenient water bottle pocket to keep you organised as you wait for your train to be called. You can rest easy knowing that the lockable main access zippers, quick-access pocket and secure zipper catch have got you covered as your adventure unfolds.
It’s an ideal fit for both men and women, weighing in just over 1 kilo with a maximum carry weight of 13.6 kilos. To keep the pack comfy and to stay in line with carry-on airline restrictions you might want to keep it around 10kg. Dimensions: 55.9 x 33 x 22.9cm
Comfortable and lightweight with on-the-go design details, the Vibe 325 anti-theft sling pack is made for city exploration. The zips lock so getting pickpocketed won’t be one of your worries while strolling the city streets and the fact that you can wear it on the front and your larger backpack on the back make it the perfect place to store your passport and tickets etc.
The pack is deceptively spacious with compartments for all your daily essentials, keeping them safe and secure. Easily fitting a 10-inch tablet, E-reader, water bottle, along with slots for cards, cash and internal pockets to keep gear organised.
If you need any further help, don't hesitate to come in store to chat with our experts or shoot us a message online if you have any questions! We’ll see you out there on your travels. Share your adventures with us on Instagram at @wildearthaustralia and use the hashtag #MyWildEarth to be featured.
About the contributor:
Lauren Clark is the social media manager for Wild Earth. An obsessive gram counter who's always on the hunt for the lightest and most compact gear for hiking and travel. You'll find her overseas in one country or another attempting digital nomad life. When she's not working she's taking in as much culture as she can, eating all of the foods, hiking all of the trails and trying to find people to belay for her. Follow her adventures on Instagram.