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Gap year travel - travel by train

Why should you travel by train?

Did you know that train travel is the safest means of transport? Also, the good news if you are worried about your carbon footprint whilst travelling, is that train travel is better for the environment than either planes or cars – using 17 times less fuel than planes and being five times more efficient than a car carrying the same number of people, and using the least amount of CO2 than other powered journeys.

If you are travelling around Europe, it is the most cost efficient way to explore Europe’s vast countryside and to help you to discover the real flavour of European life - from sleepy villages to vibrant cities. Trains frequently go through wilderness areas with spectacular scenery that is not easily or safely accessible by any other means.

Europe’s rail network is over 100,000 miles, covering an astonishing number of destinations. If you are travelling less than 400 miles, travelling via the European high-speed train lines can be quicker than flying by plane. And you won’t have any of the hassle of hanging round airports and losing your luggage.

Another benefit of train travel is that you can save money on accommodation by travelling overnight, and it can be possible to get a good night’s sleep in the reclining seats found in most modern standard carriages. It's a good idea to have a blanket or light sleeping bag to hand in case the air-conditioning becomes too much, and choose a seat away from the doors so you won’t be disturbed by people moving around.

The best value train fares – how to travel cheapest by train

To get the best value train tickets, follow these simple steps:

  • Book in advance and book online
  • Buy single tickets
  • Specify return dates (if buying a return ticket)
  • Travel off peak
  • If you intend to do a lot of travelling in Europe, buy an InterRail Pass.
  • If you will be travelling in USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or Japan, buy a Global rail pass.

When to choose the InterRail pass

Choose to purchase an InterRail pass when you have residence in Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States (former Soviet Union), Turkey, Morocco, Algeria or Tunisia. The InterRail pass is the best pass to buy, whether you want to visit most of Europe, or one or two countries in Europe. An InterRail pass allows you unlimited 1st or 2nd-class travel in your chosen countries on as many days as you choose to cover. There are a variety of InterRail passes available depending on what your travelling needs are.

If you do not have residence in one of these countries, then you can't purchase an InterRail pass. However, there are lots of other different passes available, depending on what type of travel you wish to do. Visit the European Rail Guide for more information.

International & Global Rail travel

Wherever you are from, and whichever country you want to explore, the flexibility and value for money that train travel offers makes it the perfect choice for people who want to go a long way on a limited budget.