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How to plan a European Rail holiday: Home

This guide should provide the user with a good starting point on planning a European railway holiday


Planning for train travel in another country can be daunting. This guide has been researched and assembled to give travellers the confidence to plan their own travel and navigate the many choices they will face.

  • If travelers are stumped on where to go, as it's all fabulous, users will find a Travel Ispiration section to give them some ideas.

  • The Planning section provides resources on all aspects of ticketing, from passes,  seat reservations, classes of tickets and routes. It supports sound itinerary making through suggested itineraries and an interactive map.

  • The Smartphone and Tablet Apps section highlights four great resources to assist planning, organisation, language and social media tools.

  • Safety and Security are also covered.

  • Advanced users and very keen beginners may want to consider enrolling in the CAE's excellent three-hour course Be Your Own Travel Agent which provides tips and tricks for travel planning and booking.

  • Do your research on your travel priorities and have a couple of options before considering whether any type of rail pass or individual tickets give you the best value for money.  Also, please do not consider a train transfer in the middle of the night. It will be more disruptive than imagined and the next day will be a challenge. It is not worth the savings.

  • Trip Advisor is great for forums and reviews for places to visit and things to do.  One must be able to read between the lines with reviews – look for reviews that offer practical advice and not simply a complaint or glowing review. Look for reviews with substantive information to back-up the evaluation.

  • Consider looking up prices for rail tickets in an incognito browser or through geo-blocking filter.  Occasionally there are price differences that are not favourable for foreigners (such as KiwiRail) with the obvious exception of Japan Rail Passes which are cheaper for foreign nationals and not available to Japanese nationals.

  • Consider subscribing to newsletters of Travel sections of newspapers that you read – in particular the New York Times, UK’s Telegraph and Independent newspapers are very inspirational. Also consider subscribing to a destination’s version of Broadsheet or Time Out.

  • Steer clear of purchasing guidebooks while you research as the latest copies are often at the library. The Lonely Planet publishes frequently and on its website, it will advise of the date of next publication. If you still need to purchase a resource, consider purchasing closer to the date of travel.

Enjoy your travels. All additions to this resource are welcome.