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5 mistakes to avoid when booking trains

Mistakes happen - especially when you are in a rush to book your next train journey. We have looked at some of the most common mistakes that happen and provided a couple of tips on how to avoid them.

Don't forget: Throughout the booking process, you can simply click on the Live Chat widget in the lower right corner to connect with one of our agents that can assist instantly.

1) Names, dates and countries matter

Railways might not be as strict as airlines when it comes to checking passports against the name on the ticket but that doesn't mean you shouldn't double check all the details before you book. Here are a few key points:

  • All names should be spelled as per passport and special attention should be given to the date of birth and the country of residence.
  • This is especially crucial for rail passes and French electronic tickets.
  • Keep in mind that any instant purchase products are issued automatically and may be non-refundable.
  • For certain types of tickets names are not crucial - give us a call to check.
Rail Plus tip: Double check all the details - especially instant purchase fares. If something goes wrong, call us immediately.


2) Choosing the right pass

Travelling with a rail pass
Travelling with a rail pass

Rail passes are an amazing way to discover the world by train. They are convenient, flexible, easy to use and offer many additional bonuses. With many different types and regions covered, it's important to know you select the correct regions/countries, the correct class of service and the appropriate number of days.

It's really easy to book a 5-day pass and accidentally add seat reservations that span across 6 different days, so make sure you always count your days - if you realize you need more, it might be as easy as upgrading the pass.

Additionally, pay attention to the countries you need for your journey. For example, if passengers are travelling from Rome to Amsterdam, they could be going either through France or Austria and Germany.

Last but not least - if you booked a 2nd class pass, make sure your seats are booked accordingly. You are not able to use a 2nd class pass to travel in 1st class. In some cases, you are able to pay for an upgrade but a regular 1st class seat reservation will definitely not be enough.

Rail Plus tip: Count the travel dates, review the countries travelled through and double check the class of service. When in doubt, ask one of our friendly consultants.


3) Not travelling? Cancel your tickets and passes

If in the worst case scenario, the trip needs to be cancelled, do not forget to let us know as soon as possible. In many instances, the tickets are refundable, especially if cancelled in time. This applies to most passes and open tickets, so don't forget to claim the refund. Also, by cancelling an existing ticket, you free up space for another traveller - you will make someone's day!

If you have an electronic ticket, it's as easy as sending a request through to our refunds department, however, if the trip requires a paper ticket, things get slightly more complicated. In order for us to cancel a paper ticket, we need to have it sent back to us. Paper tickets are like money, so make sure you send them via a trackable service. Once the ticket is received, we can proceed with the cancellation. If the ticket has a cancellation deadline, keep that in mind when choosing the delivery method.

Careful: The tickets need to be cancelled and received prior to the travel date (or even earlier for certain fares).

Save the money
Save the money


4) The payment deadline helps you save money

If you are booking with us, we want to offer as much flexibility as possible, so all the payment due dates are there to protect you from pricing changes. Every time a payment deadline is missed, the booking has to be reinstated, which can result in a higher price. If you think you won't be able to make payment in time, let us know, so we can try to reinstate the booking and extend the deadline at the same price.


5) Small print? It can make a difference

Different carriers offer various fare types that all differ in refund conditions and travel flexibility. Anything with "Book early" or "Promo" in its name is usually non-refundable and most likely available only as an instant purchase, so double check your booking to avoid additional fees. Don't forget to look at all fares if you require extra flexibility. Some tickets will allow you to travel on any train within a set period (open tickets, flexi fares), where others are limited strictly to a specific train (most trains in France, Italy and Spain for example). 

If you are unsure about the terms of the ticket or don't know what the best option for the journey would be, just email us or give us a call. Our rail experts will be able to find the best solution for you in no time. Sometimes you want the cheapest ticket where you don't care about cancellation fees or exchange options, whereas the next time you want to have as much flexibility as possible - no matter the price.


We hope our tips will help you avoid any issues when you book train tickets and rail passes with us. If you have any additional questions, leave a comment below or get in touch with us and we will be happy to assist.

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