Should I reserve all my trips before I get to Europe

  • 11 July 2023
  • 6 replies

So confused. We have planned a 5 week trip to 5 countries. We know how long we are staying at each location. Should we make all our trip reservations in the Rail Planner now before we leave?  We are pretty firm on our travel dates but if something happens will we be able to change the reservation?




Best answer by Al_G 11 July 2023, 05:41

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Userlevel 7
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You can’t BOOK through the planner app. Think of it more like a log. You can add all your plans as an overview of your trip, these can be changed or deleted at any point but it is best not to activate the pass in advance as once a day has begun you can no longer cancel it.


Seat reservations for some routes should be done in advance, these must be done either from Eurail website or rail company sources that are often the better option, see here:


Thanks for the reply. I purchased the 10 days in two months pass. Does it still matter when I activate the pass? 

Am I making this too difficult?  Scenario, I purchase seat reservations either through Rail Planner or the train company directly in advance. Then on the day of travel I just show my Eurail pass and my seat reservations and go. Then I have used up one travel day.  Right?

Userlevel 7
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Activating the pass or a travel day is best not done in advance. You can only cancel until 23:59 CET before validity starts. If something happens after that, e.g. you wake up ill, then it will be too late to cancel and you can loose travel days. The only reason to activate your pass in advance would be to test that it works and to try out the app. You can do that with a date well in the future and the best is to cancel activation after you're done testing.

To travel, you always need the QR code in the app, plus a reservation in case it is mandatory.

Userlevel 7
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The recommendation from the experienced travellers in the community is to only make reservations through the Eurail website if no other options are available. Please read more about that below. 


Here is some useful information from the experienced travellers in the Community regarding both planning, reservations and activation of pass and travel days. 


The rail planner is normally not up to date, as it only is updated once a month, so to be sure of the time table you better check the timetable and availability on the websites of the national railways. The bigger national railways, like DB (Germany) SBB (Switzerland) and ÖBB (Austria) cover several countries. 


The advice from the experienced travellers in the community is to use other ways to make reservations than the Interrail/Eurail website.  You can look at the guide in the link:

If you, after having looked at the guide, have questions about how to make specific reservation, please give your travel details (departure date, time and route) preferably in a new topic, and you will get advice.

Please note that Interrail/Eurail charges an extra fee of 2 EUR per person and train in addition to the fee for the seat reservation.

 Activation of pass

During the activation process you choose the start day of the validity of the pass. Once the validity has started it can't be changed even if you haven't travelled. The advice is therefore to wait with activating the pass and starting the validity until the first day of your travel as you only can deactivate the pass no later than 23.59 CET on the day before the validity starts. If your travel plans change in the last moment you can't deactivate the pass and change the validity. 

It can be wise to make a test and activate the pass with a start date well in the future and then deactivate the pass immediately, just to see that everything works.

 Activation of travel day

The advice from the experienced travellers in the community is also never to activate a travel day, that is connect a journey to your pass and create the ticket (QR code), until just before boarding the train, otherwise you might loose a travel day if your travel plans change in a late stage  You can't delete a travel day in the past. A travel day can only be deleted until 23.59 CET the day before the travel day.

Thank you all for some great answers. I’m getting a feel now as to how to use the Rail Pass and the train system.  

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You’lld best look into following webpages as well, as you’re probably relatively new to European (train) travel: (introduction to train travel in Europe by train) (intro to Eurail passes and reservations).

Give a shout here in this community if something needs clarification or when you need other help.

Rule of thumb: if you plan to travel around holidays (e.g. Christmas end of december) it’s best to reserve a loooot in advance. Especially for Eurostar trains (London-Paris/Brussels/Amsterdam).

And on the other hand, on an average blue tuesday somewhere mid october you’ll probably have plenty of seats on any long distance trains.