Be Wary of Touts on Trains
There are a number of things and people to be wary of when you’re traveling by Eurail. Although most are harmless, it can still cost you some pride and a bit of cash if you’re not careful. In addition to common sense advice such as keep your bags close to you at all times, wear a money belt to protect your valuables and leave if another passenger makes you extremely uncomfortable, there are other things that it doesn’t hurt to know.
For example, be wary of touts. Just because you’re on a train and not off of it, it doesn’t mean touts are. Touts are people who recruit travelers to come to a specific restaurant, hostel or business. Usually, these are places that are off the beaten path…and not in a good way. For instance, a hostel in Central London would not need the services of a tout because of its good location. However, ones that are located at the edge of a sprawling city would never get business it it wasn’t for touts.
Touts may insist that the hostel you planned on using is closed, or fully booked, or not conveniently located. 99% of the time they are lying in order to get your business – don’t believe them. However, if you are desperately seeking a room when most are full due to an event or celebration, a tout may be your lifesaver.
If you plan on going with a tout’s recommendation, insist on seeing a map. If he doesn’t have one – forget it. Do not give him any money for your reservation or pay in advance. You should ask to see the rooms before agreeing to drop the dough.
Keep Valuables Close when Napping
If you are planning on napping on your train, keep all of your valuables close to you, in your money belt if possible. Set an alarm so you do not miss your destination.
Know the Name of the Station Prior to your Stop
If possible, learn the name of the station that is prior to your destination so that if you do not see a sign, you know where to get off.
Look for the Right Information Booth
When asking for information in train stations, make sure you got to the right information booth. Tourist information and train information booths serve different purposes. If you cannot find what you need, ask a train employee to help you.
Pay Attention Before Boarding
Do not get on a train that arrives at your track early without an indication of being the train to your destination. It could be a train waiting to be cleaned or moved to the yards.
Watch for Tunnel Stops
If your train stops in a tunnel at the time it should be arriving at your destination, it may be at your destination. Check or you may be missing your stop.
Ask for Seating Change if you have Problems
If you have a problem with your compartment mates on a reserved ticket, ask the conductor if you can change.
Stike up Conversation with Conductors
If your conductor is friendly and speaks English, strike up a conversation. You may get a free drink in return.
Read Eurail Train Rules
If there are rules posted on your train in a language you understand, it is your responsibility to read them. For example, Tren Italia prohibits passengers from using the toilet while the train is in the station.
Eurail and Cinque Terra
If you are doing the Cinque Terra 12 km hike between the 5 towns in Italy, you can either purchase a day pass valid for using the train between the 5 towns and entrance to the park for 5,40 euros, or can get entrance to the park for 3 euros. If you have a Eurail pass, it is valid on these trains, so keep it handy.
Flash your Pass and Save
If you are planning on taking the train to Jungfraujoch in Switzerland, you can save 20 Swiss francs by simply flashing your Eurail pass when buying your ticket. (It is not covered by Eurail, and does not use up any days in your Flexipass.) Just show the pass to the ticket clerk.
Read Eurail Rules
As soon as you get your Eurail pass, read all of the rules at least once. Read them again when you start using it to ensure you know what you are responsible for.
Overnight Train Rules
If you are making several connections before midnight on a night train and are traveling with a flexipass, be sure to understand the rules regarding dates. If you are taking a direct night train leaving after 7pm, write the next day’s date in the box. If you have to make one or two trains to connect with an overnight train, you must write the current date in the pass or buy a ticket for that portion of the journey. Consult a ticket agent for further questions.
Watch Your Step
Be especially careful when rushing up stairs and elevators in train stations with a pack on the back. The wrong step could leave you lying on your back like a turtle.
Information Booths Closed
Many information booths at train stations close in the evenings and weekends. If you think you will need assistance when you arrive at your next train station, such as directions or ticketing questions, ask ahead if you can.