Saving money on European travel with rail passes Travel to Europe is a must for many budget minded travelers, and many young college students would not dream of entering the real world without first spending a summer backpacking through Europe. Even though the costs of traveling to and within Europe have risen in recent years, European travel can still be surprisingly affordable, for independent travelers and families alike. One of the most popular ways to save money when traveling within Europe is to purchase a rail pass. Rail passes are quite popular among all types of travelers, and there are rail passes to suit just about every budget and travel need. When choosing from among the many rail passes available to European travelers, it is important to tailor the pass you buy to your needs, and consider the destinations you plan to visit before leaving home. That is because there are many different types of rail passes available. Some rail passes are good only in one country, while others are good for any country in Europe for a specific period of time. Those planning to travel only within a single country, therefore, can often save money by purchasing a single country pass. Those who plan to spend considerable time in Europe, especially those who want to visit many different locations, may want to check into buying a rail pass for a longer length of time. These kinds of extended length rail passes are often less costly in the long run for travelers who plan to stay awhile. There are a number of ways to buy European rail passes before leaving home, and it is generally a good idea to do so. Most travel agents can help you buy European rail passes, as well as providing advice on which type of rail pass best suits your needs. AAA also provides valuable information on European rail passes, a convenient way to buy them, and in some cases a good discount as well. In addition, European rail passes are now available directly on the internet from a number of sources, and it may be a good idea to purchase a European rail pass directly from these sources. Just be sure you allow plenty of time for the rail pass to arrive before you leave for your vacation. When ordering rail passes directly from European sources, remember that they may take considerably longer to reach you. Using European rail passes after you arrive is generally easy, but it is important to remember that many trains in Europe require a reservation, and simply holding a rail pass does not give you a reservation. It is important to make a reservation on the train you want as soon as possible after arriving in Europe, or ask about making one before you leave home. It is also important to remember that many overnight trains will require an additional reservation, and extra money, for sleeping compartments. This can be an important consideration for long distance trains, so be sure to inquire about the sleeping facilities that are available when making your reservation. Train travel is far more comfortable, and far more popular, within Europe than it is in the United States, and most European trains are quite comfortable, very fast and very safe. Train travel is the preferred method of travel for many Europeans, and the rail system in Europe is known for its efficiency and reasonable cost. Traveling throughout Europe on the train is a great way to see the sights without breaking your budget.