Some people are under the impression that rail travel is prohibitively expensive. While it’s true that trains can be more expensive than buses or in some cases, even regional flights, there are ways to save money on train travel to Europe. What’s more, riding the rails provides an opportunity to explore the countryside in comfort.
In this post, we will offer a few tips to saving money on train trips in Europe, with a special focus on France, which is often known as one of the more expensive countries in Europe.
When it comes to saving money on trains in France, one of the first things you can do is focus on the travel times and the level of comfort. If you are traveling in first class in a high-speed train, like the TGV for instance, you will find that your travel expenses will quickly rise. If you insist on traveling on the fastest train and in the highest class, then you will want to do it during down times, when train travel is at its lowest level. Otherwise, you should consider taking a slower train and a lower class.
In some cases, a rail pass may actually save you a lot of money. If you are planning on traveling frequently between cities and towns, an unlimited pass can save you hundreds of dollars. This of course depends on the length of your trip, however, and the number of travel days you plan on taking. If you are only planning one or two major excursions while you are in France, then it doesn’t really make sense to get the rail pass.
An alternative plan to consider is to focus most of your money on bus travel, which is often the cheapest mode of travel, but to set aside some funds for a few specific train rides that may be particularly enjoyable. For example, perhaps you really would like to see the countryside of southern France. If this is the case, plan to ride the rails in this area of France, where you can enjoy a comfortable seat and cabin, and take bus travel for a trip in a different region.
There is no right or wrong way to travel, of course, and when it comes to saving money, you often have more options than you think. Feel free to share your own advice below.