Wanderlust UK – September 2019

(Nancy Kaufman) #1

142 wanderlust.co.ukSeptember 2019


Shutterstock; Alamy

How to


OEurostar: Last-minute one-way tickets
go from about £25 on Eurostar Snap; you
just need to be lexible about when you
set o , as you can only book for ‘morning’
or ‘afternoon’. snap.eurostar.com

OBudget rail:France’s Ouigo (ouigo.com)
expanded to Toulouse in July, halving the
usual TGNF fare from Paris by stopping at
‘secondary’ hubs (from €65/£58). Flixbus,
a Europe-wide budget bus company, has
also added a train service in Germany (and
is set to expand across Europe by 2021)

to its ‘ive cities for €99/£88’ pass.

OGap month:Should Brexit drag on (and
who would bet against it), the EU’s scheme
to o er thousands of 18-year-olds across
Europe a free Interrail pass for a month
will continue to please young travellers.

OSingle-country passes:Most of these
passes cost the same as Interrail’s, so o er
little di erence, but the Swiss ‘Half Fare’

card (CHF120/£96 for a month) is handy if
you plan on doing four or more big trips in
this pretty costly country. swiss-pass.ch

OTime it right:The Eurostar, German and
Austrian rail networks all sell tickets 180
days in advance (most are 60 to 120 days),
and buying early means better fares.

OPlanning:Germany’s Deutsche Bahn site
has the best timetable for most European
lines, and its DB Navigator app (Android/
iOS) is invaluable for planning. bahn.com


TheManinSeat 61

Long-distance train travel across
Europe (see p60) can be a ba ling
a air, especially when you factor in
the number of third parties trying
to hawk you tickets at inlated costs.
So, here’s what you need to know...

Because each European country
has its own operator, there is no
Europe-wide ticketing system, and
a lot of ticketing sites add fees.
Some third-party ticket sellers
do have an angle, though. On the
Trans-Siberian, you can only buy
tickets up to 60 days in advance,
but Real Russia (realrussia.com)
take bookings at 180 days, buying
up seats when available, so you’re
front-of-queue for rare ‚irst-class
cabins – although it’s no guarantee.
Others are not quite as useful. “If
you don’t use the right site,” says
Mark Smith of The Man in Seat 61,
“you may be sold a ticket using an
almost-obsolete inter-operator
system called TCV (tarif commun

voyageurs) that uses a pricey full-
‚lex international rate, plus a fee
for a hard copy to be posted.”
Mark recommends the fee-free
Loco2 (loco2.com), which links
to the British, French, Spanish,
Italian, German and Austrian rail
networks, among others, as the
print-at-home service closest to
local prices. However, even this
doesn’t connect to Hungarian,
Czech or Swedish networks.
“The only place where you’ll ‚ind
a €21 (£19) ticket from Prague to
Budapest with print-at-home
delivery is on the website of the

Czech national operator České
dráhy (cd.cz),” he adds.
Then there’s Interrail (interrail.eu),
which marks 50 years in 2019, and
isn’t just for teens. Continuous one-
month passes (€893/£800; ages 28
to 59) work out at €30 (£27) per
day, which is worth it if you’re a free
spirit who doesn’t book in advance.
Sleeper trains are also back in
vogue, and can be a comfy budget
choice. The Paris-to-Venice Thello
(thello.fr) and Germany-to-Italy OBB
Nightjet (nightjet.com) ‚lit Europe
for less than £100pp for a two/three-
bed cabin. Far better than a hotel!
Free download pdf