Traipsing Through Europe
Do not assume, however, that buying a Eurail pass is the only way to take the train. Especially for travelers making only one or two additional jaunts on their European adventure, one-way billets provide reasonable, fast, and comfortable accommodations as you zip to the next stop on your itinerary. In Western Europe, train travel makes day-tripping from, say, Amsterdam to Belgium for a brewery tour, an effortless outing. Nor is there any need to limit your travel ambitions to nearby citiesParis to Prague is an easy overnight trip, replete with sleeping accommodations for an extra fee. Sleeping on the train beats ferreting out a hotel when you arrive late in a foreign city, plus if you arrive in the early morning, you'll be that much more refreshed to scope out the hotel situation and then get sightseeing! Meanwhile, if you're traveling from the UK, the sleek Eurostar will take you from central London to Paris or Brussels in around two and a half hours. For this option, though, plan on booking ahead to score the best seasonal deals, as standard last-minute fares can get pricey.
When it comes to traveling by rail there are a few things to keep in mind, and one of those is theft. While it pays to keep a close eye on your valuables wherever you go, there are instances of thieves patrolling trains and helping themselves to bags as soon as backs are turned. Check out the Pacsafe line of backpack "nets" as one useful way to secure your bags from the attention of prying hands while you slumber (www.pac-safe.com). Otherwise, stay alert and keep things like passports, traveler's checks, cameras, mp3 players, and other valuables close at hand.
The other thing to consider is train supplements. Overnight trains and some high-speed lines require patrons to pay an additional surcharge. Make sure to check at the ticket counter and pay the appropriate fee before boarding.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication