Optional reservations

  • 29 June 2021
  • 4 replies


Hi guys, 

My friends and I bought a global pass and I have 2 different questions

  • First, I see that for some trains in Germany reservations are OPTIONAL but not COMPULSORY. What do we risk by not buying reservations ? 
  • Second, for some trains in Italia we need to take reservations (ex : train Venizia - Verona). However the reservation via interrail cost 12€/person while buying a normal ticket without interrail on costs 9€/ person. How is it possible that a standard ticket is cheaper than a reservation ? Can we buy a reservation cheaper ?

Thank you for helping me !


Salut tout le monde, 

Avec des amis on a acheté un pass global et j’ai quelques questions. 

  • Tout d’abord, j’ai vu que pour certains trains en Allemagne les réservations ne sont pas obligatoires mais optionnelles. Que risque-t-on en ne prenant pas de réservations ? 
  • Ensuite, pour certains trains en Italie (ex : Venise - Vérone) on doit prendre des réservations. Cependant les réservations via le site interrail coute 12€ par personne alors qu’acheter un ticket normal sur le site sans posséder d’interrail revient à 9€ par personne. Comment est-il possible qu’un ticket normal coute moins cher qu’une simple réservations ? Est-il possible d’acheter une réservation moins chère ailleurs ?

Merci d’avance pour votre aide!


Best answer by Mattheas 30 June 2021, 00:30

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4 replies

Userlevel 5
Badge +1

Bonjour Julie!

  • With optional reservations the only risk you have is that there is no seat left when the train is full. This usually only happens when there is a high demand in Germany, for example during weekend or on holidays. However, you can still travel with this train without a reservation.
  • I reckon it's because the distance is very short and therefore a loose ticket is quite inexpensive. You can either buy a loose ticket or choose a reservation-free alternative. There are frequent regional trains between Venice and Verona, which only take slightly longer. Choose “No reservation needed” in the rail planner app. (As a general rule, I only take reservation on long routes, for example Venice to Rome.)

Hope this helps! 

Userlevel 5
Badge +4

Hi Julie,

1- Don’t be peturbed by the near-total absence of obligatory reservations in Germany - it’s a good thing, and a nice throwback to the totally spontaneous Interrail experience of yesteryear! It also makes Germany one of the very best value places to use a pass.

If you don’t buy reservations you do run the risk of not being able to find a seat (or not being able to sit together in a group), but realistically this will be the exception rather than the rule. Maybe make reservations for a couple of long-distance trips at peak commuting hours, but otherwise don’t worry too much about it. Unlike in the UK where I am, in Germany many trains are double-deckers, which helps to accommodate more people.

2- Interrail reservations are always the same flat rate, which is based on the category of train rather than the distance. This makes some countries less economical than others. The absolute worst is Spain, where €4 is charged for almost every regional train, and the traveller almost seems to be monetarily penalised for going off the beaten track.

But Italy is better than that. In normal times, the only trains there that are obligatory-reservation are the high-speed trains (Frecciarossa, Frecciargento and Frecciabianca), which cost €10 each. It’s not good value to pay this for a short trip like Venice to Verona, but it definitely is when travelling further, i.e. to Rome or Naples. Booking any train through the Interrail booking service will incur an extra €2 booking fee per train, but booking in person at an Italian station does not.

Anything else should be free, although because of the pandemic and social-distancing, some regional trains (RV/RE) have been made temporarily reservation-obligatory and are subject to a €3 fee.

Intercity (IC) trains are a special case - these are always obligatory-reservation for ordinary passengers, but Interrail passholders can board them without reservation, though they may have to keep changing seats because those reserved by others will not be indicated! If you want to avoid this, reservations are €3. The nuance of this irregular situation is unlikely to be reflected in the Interrail timetable app, but it does apply nevertheless.

Speaking of the app - if you look to the left of the screen, below the destinations bar and above the train times, you’ll see a tab labelled “Reservation Type”. If you click it and then click “No seat reservations required”, you will be shown only trains which don’t require reservation. There are reservation-free direct regional trains between Venezia Santa Lucia and Verona every hour at --:10 :-)

Thank you so much for your help guys !!

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

2- Interrail reservations are always the same flat rate, which is based on the category of train rather than the distance.

international TGVs to/from France are an exception because they have variable rates according to the distance (and often quite expensive) and a limited quota for Interrail/Eurail reservations.