I knew that train traveling in Europe is very convenient and that it was an inexpensive way to get around so before I came I looked into buying the EuRail Pass. What I didn't realize is how expensive the pass is or how many options there are! After doing more research and talking to some of my friends, I decided to not buy pass for my own trip. Instead, I would buy tickets either online or at the station. So far it has worked out for me.
Lets break down how the EuRail Pass works. There are four different categories: Global Pass, Select Pass, Regional Pass, and One Country Pass.
The Global Pass offers you the most freedom and you can visit 22 countries in Europe in any order you like. You can also choose from a variety validity periods. From 10 days within two months to three consecutive months of continuous travel. While this is the most expensive pass, it also offers you more flexibility in the sense that you can go to 22 different countries on your own time schedule.
The Select Pass lets you choose how many countries you wish to visit: three, four, or five countries. Then you can choose on how many days of travel you wish. For the three and four country passes your options are five, six, eight, and 10 travel days within a two month period. For the five country pass there is an additional option of 15 travel days within the span of two months. *Note: You choose your starting country and the subsequent countries must all boarder your first country. There are also other conditions with this pass, so you should find out all the specifics before committing to this.
The Regional Pass. If your trip only consists of France and Spain for example, then you can try the France-Spain Pass. They offer four to 10 travel days valid within two months. Finally there is the One Country Pass. As the name suggests, these are only valid in the country that you bought it for. The options are three, four, six, and eight travel days valid within two months. If you are using either of these two passes, some countries are less inexpensive while others are more. Take a look to see where you will be heading. Also if you are traveling for around two months, then these passes might be useful for you but make sure you buy enough travel days as you won't be able to buy more passes once you are in Europe.
From my own experience, I am glad that I didn't purchase the EuRail Pass. The primary reason I did not purchase the pass is because it was too expensive and I will be stopping in several locations for more than just a couple days. Also I knew that even though I had the pass, there is still a reservation fee that I would have to pay. It didn't seem worth it for me. Instead I went online or the ticket window at the station to buy my tickets for the trains while traveling in France. Another reason is that I will be doing a bit of flying. I found some airfare to be about the same price or even cheaper than the rail.
While I was here in Marseille, I met a girl from Australia, Kat, and she bought the One Country Pass for France. She told me that it was a life saver for her as she was stranded one day and needed to get back to Paris. Her EuRail Pass was the only thing that would allow her unlimited access to the trains during that 24 hour period. This is definitely an advantage with having an EuRail Pass, you never know when it might come in handy and save you from a jam.