Scott graduated law school, studied, and took his bar exam.
If you know anything about law school–it’s how much of a pain in the a$$ it is to study for the bar. Given that this was a grueling time for Scott, we decided to plan a trip to Europe. Something we had always dreamed of. 🙂
We Googled “Cheapest airfare from Boston to Europe” and it gave us answers! Fly into Amsterdam (layover in Iceland) and leave from Berlin (also layover in Iceland).
Okay–done! Now what?
We traced a route from Amsterdam to Berlin and decided to stop places along the way. We read up on Eurail Passes and decided to take that route. We chose the “Select” pkg which allows travel within 4 countries. It saved us lots of money on train tickets!
Warning: You still have to purchase your tickets from country-to-country (if you want to travel via high-speed train) but they are at a very steep discount and your request is treated with priority. It’s also a good idea to choose 1st class. We didn’t realize we signed up for it until we were there…but it was very well worth it.
First things first >>
Before your first trip you’ll need to validate your ticket at the ticket counter, but after that you are golden. Once you have done that, you can just hop on the train and the staff will approach you once you start moving. They check your ticket and passport and with no further questioning.
Eurail Fun >>
The train rides were generally very enjoyable. We played tons of cribbage. If you don’t know how to play–learn! It’s so simple and fun. It takes some practice…but once you know all combinations of 15’s (9+6, 8+7, 10+5 etc…) you’re golden. We played with this one from Barnes and Noble, but Amazon sells it too. It’s perfect for travel. When we weren’t playing cribbage we were eating, drinking coffee, or sleeping.
Eurail Ease & Flexibility >>
The train stations in the cities we went to were usually in the center of town which made them super easy to access via public transit. Overall, having a Eurail was very flexible, and was the perfect fit for our journey. That is especially so when traveling for a long period of time.
We planned out the cities we wanted to visit in advance and approximately how long we’d stay, which made planning our travel a bit easier. When we got to any new destination we would immediately book our train for our next departure so that we didn’t have to worry about seats filling up and not making it on a train. The local and regional trains run just about every hour but the high-speed trains do not, which is why we booked our trips in advance.
Traveling via Eurail seemed to be far more convenient than traveling by bus or airplane. For one, busses can’t go as fast as the high-speed trains, and as for airplanes well, you get to skip going through security and checking in an hour before your departure.
Eurail Itinerary >>
The Eurail Pass cover Europe from Portugal to Turkey, up through Sweden and to Ireland, but some of this travel requires additional fees. Lots of people think it’s not worth the Eurail pass because of the additional fees. We could have chosen to take local and regional trains from place-to-place but we decided it was worth incurring extra fees to cut down travel time. Like I mentioned earlier, we would purchase tickets at each new destination for our next trip, but having a Eurail pass significantly cut the cost of those tickets. If you are on a tight budget for your trip and don’t want to incur fees like this, than traveling via local and regional trains is for you!
To sum things up, a Eurail itinerary is easy to organize and there are lots of options for travel.
This was our Journey >>
Boston->Iceland ->Amsterdam->Paris->Munich -> Vienna->Prague-> Berlin->Iceland->Boston!
Eurail Fees >>
As I mentioned, there can be additional fees and fares if you choose to go with the high-speed travel option. These fares are broken down in depth on the Eurail website (we chose the “Select” pkg). Each country’s fees are different. One of our trip we decided to take an overnight train because it was ultimately cheaper than renting a hotel room or airbnb. Why not spend your time wisely right? Eurail has a reservation guide which gives a wonderful breakdown of when you’ll need a reservation, how to book them, and how to avoid them.
Was the Eurail Worth it? >>
It’s an incredible way to experience Europe. When you fly you have to spend lots of time in airports and in the air, but when you travel via train you are able to see the beauty as you pass it by, and maybe even plan another trip out of it! We saw so many places along the way that we’d love to visit next time….whenever that may be.
Traveling via train really allowed us to stay present and enjoy the journey as a whole. We weren’t looking ahead to where we’d be next, ya know…kinda like waiting for Friday every week. It wasn’t like that. We loved spending time together on the trains, meeting people, enjoying the scenery, taking cat naps (why aren’t they dog naps?), and most of all playing cribbage & drinking coffee. It was well worth the bucks to us.
Travel Tip >>
If you don’t want to carry around a map, and won’t have access to 4g on your phone (but still have a phone) here is what we did before we left in the mornings:
We would take pictures of places we wanted to go via google maps. Google maps will still pick up on where you are with a location dot, but we couldn’t actually use our phones throughout Europe so we took screenshots of directions. To take a screenshot just press the power and the home button at the same time. This was a huge lifesaver!