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Seat reservations with Eurail Global pass

  • 11 June 2024
  • 3 replies
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I plan to travel by rail this summer through Germany and Switzerland with my family. Originally, I liked the Eurail Global pass because i thought I could be flexible on which train to take as each day presented itself rather than purchase specific routes ahead of time. However now I am learning that a seat reservation should be purchased because of possible crowded conditions with tourists and such. I also learned that you must purchase seat reservations 24 hours prior. If this is correct, then I am back to specific routes and times with no flexibility. What advantage is a Eurail Global pass if you have to buy seat reservations the day prior?  It seems like I should just buy specific tickets which is a bit cheaper. What am I missing…thanks.

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Best answer by rvdborgt 11 June 2024, 07:50

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Userlevel 7
Badge +9

Reservations in Germany and Switzerland are optional. In Germany, it may be wise for some trains to have a reservation though. You can see how busy a train is on bahn.com.

Reservations in Switzerland are not needed and are basically a waste of money.

In addition, there is no rule whatsoever that you have to book a reservation 24 hours in advance. Not sure where you would have seen this. You can typically book until 5 minutes prior, although the choice will be limited after the train has departed from its origin station.

Okay that’s good to know. Not sure where I saw it. That gives me more flexibility at least. 

Userlevel 4
Badge +4

Germany and Switzerland are two of the most flexible countries for this sort of travel.  Other countries (Hola, España) have imposed various restrictions which can make it much more difficult to use the pass the way it was intended, but Switzerland and Germany retain the original ethos - turn up, get on train to wherever you want.

The only exception might be some of the ultra-touristy trains (Glacier Express for example) in very scenic locations where there is a tourist premium service, in which case it’s you vs. the other tourists when it comes to getting the reservations first.  However, these trains also convey non-premium carriages where you can still “turn up, get on train”.

If your requirement is to get from A to B then you won’t have a problem in these countries.

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