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How do I pay for the seat reservation fee after the tickets are added to my Eurail pass?

  • 16 January 2023
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Userlevel 2
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Hello everyone, my husband and I are doing a 3-month trip in Europe in April. Recently we tried to get our trip planned and have all the train rides booked and accommodations booked and confirmed. We bought the 1st class Eurail Global Pass continuous pass for 3 month. However, after I activated our passes, I saved some trips to our passes and turned on the button of one of the trips, and I went to “My Pass” section, clicked “show tickets”, I could see the ticket with a QR code, but couldn’t see any button for the payment options for the seat reservation fee. (it does show “seat reservations required with orange colour under the Journeys)

Could anyone please advise me how to pay the seat reservation fee on the app to secure the seat as we need to book our accommodations based on the train times. 

Thank you in advance :)

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Best answer by AnnaB 16 January 2023, 08:33

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Userlevel 7
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When you add the trains to your pass you didnt book in reality 

 

Reservations are complete seperate from the Pass and need a own booking if you share details we can advise where to book 

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

Seat reservations are completely separate from your mobile pass in the app. And you should not activate the pass before boarding the first train of your travel. 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. 

 Planning

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. 

 Reservations 

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:

https://community.eurail.com/train-connections-reservations-47/how-to-get-reservations-105

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.

Userlevel 2
Badge +1

When you add the trains to your pass you didnt book in reality 

 

Reservations are complete seperate from the Pass and need a own booking if you share details we can advise where to book 

Thanks so much for your reply. When we decided to buy the 3 month continuous Global Pass, we thought we can save and book all our train rides on the Eurail Planner App, hence all the information in the spreadsheet is based on the train rides we selected and saved to the app. We thought we can just turn on the switch on “My trip” in advance as we wanted to book have everything well planned, all the train rides booked, accommodations booked, so we won't feel stressed and also stick to our itinerary. It sounds like the Eurail pass is way more complicated than we thought.

Below is our travel plan with details of each train ride, does that mean we need to book all the trains on the rail companies’ websites individually instead of booking through the rail planner app?

Another question is that we wanted to have all our accommodation booked as soon as possible to secure a cheaper price, but it has to be based on our train rides, would all the tickets be available three months before the travel date? 

Thank you :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Userlevel 2
Badge +1

Seat reservations are completely separate from your mobile pass in the app. And you should not activate the pass before boarding the first train of your travel. 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. 

 Planning

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. 

 Reservations 

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:

https://community.eurail.com/train-connections-reservations-47/how-to-get-reservations-105

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.

When you add the trains to your pass you didnt book in reality 

 

Reservations are complete seperate from the Pass and need a own booking if you share details we can advise where to book 

Thanks so much for your reply. When we decided to buy the 3 month continuous Global Pass, we thought we can save and book all our train rides on the Eurail Planner App, hence all the information in the spreadsheet is based on the train rides we selected and saved to the app. We thought we can just turn on the switch on “My trip” in advance as we wanted to book have everything well planned, all the train rides booked, accommodations booked, so we won't feel stressed and also stick to our itinerary. It sounds like the Eurail pass is way more complicated than we thought.

Below is our travel plan with details of each train ride, does that mean we need to book all the trains on the rail companies’ websites individually instead of booking through the rail planner app?

Another question is that we wanted to have all our accommodation booked as soon as possible to secure a cheaper price, but it has to be based on our train rides, would all the tickets be available three months before the travel date? 

Thank you :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seat reservations are completely separate from your mobile pass in the app. And you should not activate the pass before boarding the first train of your travel. 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. 

 Planning

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. 

 Reservations 

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:

https://community.eurail.com/train-connections-reservations-47/how-to-get-reservations-105

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 so much for your answer Anna :)

I have already activated our passes as I thought I had to activate them to be able to plan the trip and save all the train rides under my pass and then book the tickets while they are available for sale (3 months before the travel date I suppose). As we have already booked our return flights to Australia, I know our travel dates would be from 15 April to 12 July, that’s why I thought I could activate the pass as we only planned to travel for three months. 

Should I deactivate our passes now or should I keep them activated?

I am worried if I deactivate the passes I won't be able to save the trips to our passes.

Below is the screenshot of my pass:

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

Apart from the link Anna B provided, you can also reserve your seats via Eurail/interrail. A bit more expensive though, since they ask a handling fee per reservation: https://www.interrail.eu/en/book-reservations#/

A nice trip you’ve planned. A had a quick glance at it. Although for some trips I have some suggestions:

Don’t take the Thalys between Cologne and Brussels (when you come from Hamburg). It’s reservation fee is too expensive for a relatively short trip. Take the ICE (only optional reservations) instead or local trains (changing at Aachen and Welkenraedt).

Thalys between Brussels and Amsterdam is also bad value for money with their extortionate reservation fee. Best take the hourly intercity, without any need for reservations. It’s only half an hour slower. Or try to reserve a Eurostar from london directly to Amsterdam (they’re 2 a day if I’m not mistaken).

The route of the Bernina Express is also doable via hourly regional trains, without the need for any form of reservation. Which also means you can get off where you want, if you like a certain environment to take pictures.

Best reserve your train from Kings Cross to Edinburgh via LNER, again mentioned in the reservations link of @AnnaB, or GWR. Seat reservations in the UK are for free (except Eurostar)! Any amount of money that you pay, as a waste.

Spanish AVE’s you cannot reserve in advance, only at the station ticket offices. Best do those reservations on your first day in Spain, so that you’re carefree for the rest of your stay or have some time to provide alternatives, if a train should be fully booked.

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

I suggest you deactivate your pass. All planning can still be done.

If the validity of your pass has started and you for some reason can't travel, you never know what will happen, then you can't get a refund.

Regarding reservation, some can be made already now and some will be available one month ahead. Spanish domestic trains are the most tricky ones as they more or less only can be made in Spain. 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

@bleusquirrelBest deactivate them again, and only activate them a bit before you’re taking your first train. You never know what’s gonna happen. The last months saw plenty of strikes and cancellations. With high inflation levels persisting a bit longer, and weak economic outlook, it’s not unthinkable that you will come against some strikes during your trip, for which you need to alter your plans.

Besides that, there’s always a small risk of incidents (some tree that fell into the tracks, engineering works, something that broke down,...) that might force you to reschedule some routes.

For the rest, don’t rely on the rail planner app solely during your trip. Always check the operators’ website for real time information (engineering works, delays, other changes,...). The times often differ. Always trust the local companies app or website when it comes to information. The planner of Deutsche Bahn is quite good, up to date and encompasses most of Europe: https://www.bahn.com/en

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

I can already see that you need to amend your plan. There are no pass holder seats on the Eurostar from London to Amsterdam on the 7th of May. There are pass holder seats from London to Brussels on the 7th and from Brussels you can take the reservation free IC train to Amsterdam. 

 

There is a limited number of pass holder seats on the Eurostar and on popular departures and during high season those sell out weeks, and sometimes months in advance.

The best place to see the availability of passholder seats and make reservations on the Eurostar is 

https://www.b-europe.com/EN/Booking/Pass#TravelWish

Press "later trains" and eventually you will find the next available connection. There is a fee of 4 EUR per booking so make all your Eurostar bookings at the same time.

 

If you have a mobile pass you need to generate a Pass Cover Number in order to make the reservation at b-europe. You do that here in the PCN generator:

https://community.eurail.com/news-and-announcements-39/pass-cover-number-generator-is-live-5653

 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Another unexpected hint for OZzies whilst still down yundah-back or before Bourke:

do NOT make any RES early in YOUR day-as the system often translates the time to that still prevailing here in EUR=1 day earlier then. THis may also lead to birthdates in the data that are 1 day off.

The major risk by activating way too early is that unexpected/unhoped for actions may prevail-you may fall sick, there is yet another strike (quite frequent in some countries right now-fast rising prices) or some nature mishap on that line.

Userlevel 2
Badge +1

Apart from the link Anna B provided, you can also reserve your seats via Eurail/interrail. A bit more expensive though, since they ask a handling fee per reservation: https://www.interrail.eu/en/book-reservations#/

A nice trip you’ve planned. A had a quick glance at it. Although for some trips I have some suggestions:

Don’t take the Thalys between Cologne and Brussels (when you come from Hamburg). It’s reservation fee is too expensive for a relatively short trip. Take the ICE (only optional reservations) instead or local trains (changing at Aachen and Welkenraedt).

Thalys between Brussels and Amsterdam is also bad value for money with their extortionate reservation fee. Best take the hourly intercity, without any need for reservations. It’s only half an hour slower. Or try to reserve a Eurostar from london directly to Amsterdam (they’re 2 a day if I’m not mistaken).

The route of the Bernina Express is also doable via hourly regional trains, without the need for any form of reservation. Which also means you can get off where you want, if you like a certain environment to take pictures.

Best reserve your train from Kings Cross to Edinburgh via LNER, again mentioned in the reservations link of @AnnaB, or GWR. Seat reservations in the UK are for free (except Eurostar)! Any amount of money that you pay, as a waste.

Spanish AVE’s you cannot reserve in advance, only at the station ticket offices. Best do those reservations on your first day in Spain, so that you’re carefree.

 

Thank you so much for your advice Brendan :)

All the train rides we currently planed are all based on the timetable showing on the Eurail Planning App, we didn't even know that it’s better to book through the rail companies directly. We tried to book either the earliest train on the day or the shortest ride or rides with minimum interchanges. We tried to book all direct trains or no more than one interchanges because we are worried if the first train arrives late, then we won't be able to make it to the next one or not enough time to run to a different platform to change to another train. 

Even the night train on the 3 June, from Venice to Munich NJ236, it’s the only direct night train on the app, but we can’t book it yet until 3 months before the travel date, so I am still a bit worried the timetable could change after our accommodates are booked. (non-refundable hotel prices are cheaper than free cancelation ones)

The train from Luxembourg to Marseille is the only direct train I found on the app that’s why we chose that one even if it’s going to be a whole day spent on the train, and also that train seems only run on a Monday. We had to adjust our plan to add one extra day in Amsterdam to be able to make it to the train.

Also the train on the 16 June from Cesky Krumlov to Ceske Budejovice, on the app it shows only one train without mentioning “Not in pass network” , so we assumed that we can only take the train IC534 at 14:07 as that's the only one doesn't have “not in pass network” written next to.

Some trains in Italy also has a condition for “One Country Pass” holders only, which made our options very limited.

We are so confused of how the Eurail pass works, and didn't want to make mistakes and mess up our entire travel plan. Now I feel like we could be totally wrong with our theory. 😢

Userlevel 2
Badge +1

I suggest you deactivate your pass. All planning can still be done.

If the validity of your pass has started and you for some reason can't travel, you never know what will happen, then you can't get a refund.

Regarding reservation, some can be made already now and some will be available one month ahead. Spanish domestic trains are the most tricky ones as they more or less only can be made in Spain. 

 

I activated our passes about 8 days ago, can I still deactivate them without affecting anything? Does that mean I can still make bookings on the Rail Companies’ websites with my pass reference number?

Userlevel 2
Badge +1

I can already see that you need to amend your plan. There are no pass holder seats on the Eurostar from London to Amsterdam on the 7th of May. There are pass holder seats from London to Brussels on the 7th and from Brussels you can take the reservation free IC train to Amsterdam. 

 

There is a limited number of pass holder seats on the Eurostar and on popular departures and during high season those sell out weeks, and sometimes months in advance.

The best place to see the availability of passholder seats and make reservations on the Eurostar is 

https://www.b-europe.com/EN/Booking/Pass#TravelWish

Press "later trains" and eventually you will find the next available connection. There is a fee of 4 EUR per booking so make all your Eurostar bookings at the same time.

 

If you have a mobile pass you need to generate a Pass Cover Number in order to make the reservation at b-europe. You do that here in the PCN generator:

https://community.eurail.com/news-and-announcements-39/pass-cover-number-generator-is-live-5653

 

 

Oh no, it seems like I can’t fully trust the availabilities shown on the Eurail Planner APP. I may have to check out all the provider’s websites and readjust our travel plan :(

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

@bleusquirrelDon’t worry, no stress needed you have a solid plan. The timetable can differ, but not that it will look completely different! It’ll mostly change a couple of minutes, sometimes half an hour. But the broad lines stay in place. It’s not that some connections will disappear completely ;)

And in case of off delays, cancellations and missed connections, also no stress needed. It happens a lot. If you have a seat reservations, it’s the company’s responsability to found another place for you on another train (only valid for trains with mandatory reservations, like in France or Spain or on Eurostar) or they announce the alternatives in the train.

And in 99% of the cases alternatives always exist should a connection fail. And you travel only between very well connected cities and places which are very well connected by train. Only the north of Scotland (Mallaig) sees fewer services.

Only strikes are a bit more annoying, and you should try to work yourself around that. But hopefully you’ll be spared from that.

Alternatives sometimes require an extra connection, or you have a similar connection just an hour later, or via a slower route. But you’ll always get to your destination. For a lot of trains with mandatory reservations, reservation free alternatives exist. Only Eurostar is difficult to avoid. Only for your Eurostar trips you need to check now, and get your seat reservations asap!  They can sell out, and no good alternatives exist. You might also want to get your reservations soon for the Paris-Barcelona too.

Most train companies are very flexible. Train missed? Then you take the next one a bit later. Some countries are a bit trickier, with rigid reservation rules and more limited timetables (like France and Spain). Other countries, like the UK, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic,... are super easy. You can basically take any train you want, without mandatory reservations.

You just might want to double check your times via the Deutsche Bahn planner, about a month before you leave.

You can use the Eurail pass for 95% of the trains in Europe, for a small percentage of the trains you need seat reservations. And usually that’s on the routes that overseas tourists are most interested in. :) It seems difficult at first, but once you got the hang of it, you will make good use of it. it’s a true pleasure that flexibilty.

And that condition for one country pass users, you can ignore. You have a global pass which is valid and most trains in Italy.

Userlevel 2
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Wow thanks so much for your help :)

Our entire travel plan is actually based on the timetable from the Eurail planner app. We were trying to make our travel as easy as possible. On the app it we would pick the train with less/no interchange, early morning ones, less travel time, but it only shows the Train number without showing the train operater’s name, do you think we should still do the same with our planning but double check each train ride on the operator’s website and book through them? Or should we check operator’s websites and book all the train rides through them instead of trusting Eurail Planner App?What if we don't book seats in advance (even if most trains don't require seat reservation), and there would be no seats available anymore when we buy tickets at the station on the day of our trip? I apologise for having so many questions...

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

I always book seat reservations via the national companies (when available). You avoid a booking fee, and most rail companies send some information in case of delays, cancellation, routes changes, which can be usefull.

Just take a bit of your time to read this community made reservations guide carefully. A lot of uncertainty and unclarity will clear up. You’ll also find the different companies listed up :)

Just book your Eurostar trains as soon as you can, and the Paris-Barcelona and your night trains (if already possible). 

 

Userlevel 2
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Thanks so much Brendan, I’ll read it now, really appreciate your help 🙂

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

Wow thanks so much for your help :)

Our entire travel plan is actually based on the timetable from the Eurail planner app. We were trying to make our travel as easy as possible. On the app it we would pick the train with less/no interchange, early morning ones, less travel time, but it only shows the Train number without showing the train operater’s name, do you think we should still do the same with our planning but double check each train ride on the operator’s website and book through them?

The Eurail planner can be good to get an over all picture but not all trains are shown and the times shown should be double checked with the operator’s websites.

Or should we check operator’s websites and book all the train rides through them instead of trusting Eurail Planner App?

If you book with the operators you will, as@BrendanDB says get information about delays and other important information. This might not be the case if you book through Eurail.

What if we don't book seats in advance (even if most trains don't require seat reservation), and there would be no seats available anymore when we buy tickets at the station on the day of our trip?

For trains with mandatory reservations you should make those reservations as soon as they are possible.

For trains with optional reservation the national railways like DB and SBB will show on their website or in the app if a train is expected to have high or low demand. If you check this about a month before your travel and the demand is expected to be high, then you can make a seat reservation.

By the way, to get the terminology correct, the Eurail pass is your ticket, so you will not need to buy any tickets unless you would travel with a train that not is included in the Eurail offer.

 

Userlevel 2
Badge +1

I always book seat reservations via the national companies (when available). You avoid a booking fee, and most rail companies send some information in case of delays, cancellation, routes changes, which can be usefull.

Just take a bit of your time to read this community made reservations guide carefully. A lot of uncertainty and unclarity will clear up. You’ll also find the different companies listed up :)

Just book your Eurostar trains as soon as you can, and the Paris-Barcelona and your night trains (if already possible). 

 

I just checked London-Brussels, and Brussels to Amsterdam on b-Europe.com, both seats reservations are available for May 7, but on OBB website, for Paris - Barcelona April 17, it shows the screenshot as the below:

I changed a few different date of different months, they are all the same. Which websites are the best for Paris-Barcelona and Venice-Munich? Thank you in advance :)

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

Eurostar is open to booking for the next 11 months. The TGV’s from SNCF usually opens bookings 3-4 months before departure. Sometimes less. Like now, they’re a bit late (https://www.sncf-connect.com/aide/l-ouverture-des-ventes. Just wait until January 25-26 and you’ll be able to reserve them.

P.S. Didn’t you want to leave from Barcelona to Paris according to your schedule posted above?

And this connection (Barcelona - Paris) is one of the only trains on your trip that is best done via the Eurail reservation service, since all other options involve calling to a number or booking it at the station itself according to the reservation guide :)

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

Oh no, it seems like I can’t fully trust the availabilities shown on the Eurail Planner APP.

The rail planner app cannot book any reservations, not does it show availability. It doesn't have any real time information and it is not updated frequently enough to be reliable. It should really only be used to register your journeys, not for any planning.

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

do NOT make any RES early in YOUR day-as the system often translates the time to that still prevailing here in EUR=1 day earlier then. THis may also lead to birthdates in the data that are 1 day off.

This is only true for the Eurail website.

Userlevel 2
Badge +1

Eurostar is open to booking for the next 11 months. The TGV’s from SNCF usually opens bookings 3-4 months before departure. Sometimes less. Like now, they’re a bit late (https://www.sncf-connect.com/aide/l-ouverture-des-ventes. Just wait until January 25-26 and you’ll be able to reserve them.

P.S. Didn’t you want to leave from Barcelona to Paris according to your schedule posted above?

And this connection (Barcelona - Paris) is one of the only trains on your trip that is best done via the Eurail reservation service, since all other options involve calling to a number or booking it at the station itself according to the reservation guide :)

We will be heading to Barcelona from Paris on April 17, then after Spain and Morocco, we’ll be going back to Paris from Barcelona on the 1st of May. Thanks for the advice, I will book these two train rides through Eurail Reservation service :)

Userlevel 2
Badge +1

do NOT make any RES early in YOUR day-as the system often translates the time to that still prevailing here in EUR=1 day earlier then. THis may also lead to birthdates in the data that are 1 day off.

This is only true for the Eurail website.

oh no, does that mean when I book seat reservations I should change my time to Europe time first to make sure no mess ups?

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

do NOT make any RES early in YOUR day-as the system often translates the time to that still prevailing here in EUR=1 day earlier then. THis may also lead to birthdates in the data that are 1 day off.

This is only true for the Eurail website.

oh no, does that mean when I book seat reservations I should change my time to Europe time first to make sure no mess ups?

Indeed :)

Userlevel 2
Badge +1

Oh no, it seems like I can’t fully trust the availabilities shown on the Eurail Planner APP.

The rail planner app cannot book any reservations, not does it show availability. It doesn't have any real time information and it is not updated frequently enough to be reliable. It should really only be used to register your journeys, not for any planning.

But can I still book Paris-Barcelona and return through Eurail website as @BrendanDB suggested?

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