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iGapYear Guide to InterRail Passes

Am I eligible for an InterRail pass?

Remember that you need to have lived for at least six months in any of the 31 countries that participate in the InterRail scheme. Before you think, great I’ll get one to see Scotland with, the pass does not cover travel within the purchaser's country of residence. Inter-railing really can't come highly recommended enough if you want to see Europe. Get on and off when you want, use sleepers to save on accommodation costs and change your mind as often as you like! It is the ideal way for backpackers to get around being the most flexible, cost effective way to travel you will find.

What is an InterRail pass?

The InterRail pass changed this year – no more zones!

The European network is made up of 31 national railways. An InterRail pass entitles the holder to unlimited 2nd class rail travel on this network, and is available to both youths (under 26 years of age) and adults. It is also possible for adults to upgrade to 1st class travel. Your age on the first day of travel determines the type of pass that needs to be purchased. The InterRail pass can only be issued up to three months in advance of the first intended date of travel.

There are now two types of InterRail pass to choose from; InterRail Global - for the entire European network, and InterRail One Country – this is valid for travel in the country of your choice

Benefits of the InterRail pass:

  • Ability to choose dates of travel within a 1 month period for Country Passes
  • Choice of a Flexi Pass or a Consecutive Pass for the Global Pass
  • Unlimited 1st or 2nd-class travel in 1 or all 31 countries
  • Special discounted fares on Eurostar from London or Ashford to Paris, Lille or Brussels
  • Discounts and special offers available (eg. museum admission and local transportation)

Which countries participate in the Inter Rail scheme?

The following countries participate in the inter rail scheme:
Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey, and the ferry between Italy and Greece operated by Attica Group.

Are there any additional costs?

On special trains, such as the high-speed trains (IC (InterCity), EC (EuroCity), TGV, ICE, Pendulino, Thalys, Eurostar, Cisalpino, AVE), you have to pay a supplement. Some normal Inter-City trains in Italy are considered high speed trains, and you may have to pay a supplement. To travel by TGV in France, you have to pay a reservation fee, which costs around €5.

The InterRail One Country Pass

If you just want to travel around one or two countries, then it would be better to buy the InterRail One Country Pass. This pass is valid for a month, and you may travel in your chosen country (or set of countries as is the case with the InterRail Benelux Pass) on as many days as you have purchased the pass for – choose from 3, 4, 6 or 8 days. These days don’t have to be consecutive, allowing you flexible travel and ideal for a multi-centre itinerary. The InterRail One Country Pass is ideal for use in conjunction with flights – fly into a country and then use the pass to explore.

30 European countries, plus Russia participate in this pass. There are 4 price bands, depending on the country you wish to travel in.

The InterRail Global Pass

The InterRail Global Pass provides amazing value for money and fantastic flexibility if you are exploring multiple countries over a longer period of time.

The InterRail Global Pass is valid in all 31 participating countries except the passholder's country of residence but customers can purchase discounted return tickets in their country of residence for direct travel from the station closest to home to the station of departure from that country.

There are four types of Global Pass:

  • 5 days of travel within 10 days – Flexi
  • 10 days of travel within 22 days – Flexi
  • 22 consecutive days of travel – Consecutive
  • 1 month of consecutive travel days - Consecutive