To buy or not to buy pass?

  • 26 April 2022
  • 4 replies

Hi there, 

I am doing a little research on whether I want to buy a Global pass with Interrail and I need some help from experienced travellers here. My travel plans are basically flexible travel whenever I want to go somewhere I hop on the train. I want to go towards the south of France and Spain first, probably going into Portugal at some stage, move back up through Switzerland and Italy, Germany etc. 


Now, I am looking at a slow travel plan, so go from Amsterdam to Paris, from Paris to Lyon etc etc. 

BUT, If I look up the train from Amsterdam to Paris on this website I get:

 We can't find any trains that match your search. Please change your search and try again.

If I look it up on any other booking website such as Omio, there definitely is a train available..? 


Then I look in the Interrail App if I can find trains (mind you, I do not have a pass added yet) and they state that there are trains but the seat reservation is FROM €35!? Per person? that seems insanely pricey after spending 730 euros for this Global Pass… especially if this is a regular rate for these fast trains. 



  • is this something you guys experience? These high priced seat reservations? 
  • And is it worth it to buy such an expensive pass (the Global 2 month all inclusive one) keeping in mind a lot of pre-reservation trains are not even available for interrailers is something I read too. 

Hope someone can share! 



Best answer by rvdborgt 26 April 2022, 15:57

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4 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +9
  1. If you want flexible travel, don't go to Spain, since you need a reservation for anything faster than a suburban train. And really consider if you need to go to Italy and France, since flexible travel is only possible in regional trains. And while you can still get to most places, it can take a lot of time, depending on the route. If you don't like reservations, go to the UK, Benelux, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Czechia, for example.
  2. The most expensive reservations are for international high-speed trains from/to France. The operators are free to set these fees. There are ways to avoid or reduce them but it will take more travel time. The rail planner app will show the fastest options by default and from/to France, these will have the highest reservation costs.
  3. For what date was your search? Also check if there's an app update.
  4. Anyway, do not use the app to plan. It's offline, only gets an update once a month or so and therefore is not reliable enough for planning purposes. Use national planners or the operators’ own planners, and for international planning, use German railways planner. Is has about the same coverage as the rail planner app, but is updated twice/week.

Hi @rvdborgt 


Thank you for getting back to me so quickly, sure appreciate it! However, I am a little confused by this: 

If you want flexible travel, don't go to Spain, since you need a reservation for anything faster than a suburban train. And really consider if you need to go to Italy and France, since flexible travel is only possible in regional trains.


Isn’t the whole concept of Interrailing that it’s flexible? And excluding Spain + France + Italy seems like you have these main dishes on your menu but, the kitchen wasn’t supplied with the ingredients..? lol 😆


Anyway, let’s say I will use the Pass - where do I book the tickets then? You say don’t plan in the App, use the Deutsche Bahn. But where can I actually book the seat reservation then? I am assuming not on the DB website, because how will I enter my Interrail Pass? 

Basically: Is the planning App different from the bookings? Where do I book the travels with my pass? 🤷


Again thank you! 



Userlevel 7
Badge +9

Spain is not flexible, because Spanish railways basically are one of the most customer-unfriendly bunch and require reservations for most trains. Also if you have Interrail. In Italy and France it's not quite as bad but these railways still don't like pass holders (or passengers in general) too much.

You don't book tickets, since your pass is your ticket. For trains that don't require a reservation, you just add it to My Trip and (shortly before boarding) to My Pass and then a “ticket” for your travel day will be generated, to show for ticket inspection. Or to enter a station (want ik zie nu dat je uit Nederland komt...)

Reservations can be booked in many places, online and offline. You can book most via Eurail/Interrail (log in to see availability) but that is often the most expensive option because of their added charges. There are also alternatives. If you want specific advice, then please provide details of the trains you want to book a seat for (origin, destination, date, departure time).

Note that reservations are separate from the app. Reservations will not appear in the app.

By the way, on the DB website, you can book seats (click on “Seat Only”) for trains with optional reservations from/to/via/in Germany. DB only charges once for a journey that can contain multiple trains (4€ in 2nd class), whereas Eurail will charge 8€ per person and train, which can really add up if you change a few times.

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

ELK/each of these 33 countries in the scheme (well, 1 is free anyway, but the smallest-LUX) has its very own, little or often more burocratic state railways and they all set their own rules on how to travel. At the mo there are also somehwere extra containment measures due to covid=prevent overcrowding. Thats the joy of travel: to discover that its all sometimes different as back home. They also differ-a lot- in how they treat their customers and how often they strike, run late or give help after delay etc.

En ja- elke NLer weet altijd alles beter, het gaat je niet helpen. Wees blij dat hier niet van die zoetgevooisde PR-girls zitten die enkel positivo praat kunnen uitslaan en je de actuele situatie verneemt.