Can I bring my dog? Rail Europe answers its most common FAQ’s

Can I bring my dog? Rail Europe answers its most common FAQ’s
Edited by Travel Weekly

    As demand for rail travel continues to grow, Rail Europe has shared its top four enquiries along with answers to help advisors and their clients gain a better understanding of the products on offer, factors to consider when planning, and how best to optimise the use of rail passes.

    1. Should I get point-to-point tickets or a rail pass?

    Rail Europe advises using these simple comparison methods that will help you determine the best option for your travel needs.

    Number of cities: Generally, for itineraries that involve a handful of cities, a rail pass might be more cost-effective. Note, Eurostar services are included on the Eurail pass and each journey is equivalent to one “day” on the pass with seat reservations to be made separately.

    Flexibility: Rail passes offer travellers a lot more flexibility than point-to-point tickets as the latter is attached to a fixed departure date and time. Passes often do not require seat reservations on many regional trains, so travellers can simply hop on to any train when they’re ready to go. Passes also allow users to enjoy unlimited travel for each “day” on the pass within 24 hours from midnight to midnight.

    Families: Eurail passes offer free travel for up to two children under 11yo per adult pass holder, while children under 16 travel for free when accompanied by an adult using the Swiss Travel Pass.

    Perks and discounts: Unlike point-to-point tickets, rail passes have different discounts and bonuses attached to them. Eurail Passes often include discounts for tour attractions, restaurants, ferry rides, Wi-Fi connections and more; while the Swiss Travel Pass grants users access to unlimited travel on all of the country’s public transportation system including boats, trains and buses, free access to more than 500 museums and up to 50 per cent discounts on cable car rides.

    Forward planning: Travellers can save up to 70 per cent off their rail bookings when planning ahead. Eurail passes can be booked up to 11 months in advance, three months for seat reservations. Point-to-point tickets are usually available three months out due to the seat reservations attached to their bookings.

    2. Are there countries where seat reservations aren’t required for Eurail Passes?

    Seat reservations are determined by the operator and type of train used. As a general rule of thumb, reservations are required for trains that are high-speed, and/or operating international cross-border, panoramic and overnight routes. Local or regional trains largely do not require a seat reservation. In fact, more than 99 per cent of trains across Europe do not require seat reservations for day-time travel; and some countries include the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Czech Republic and many more. Where seat reservations are required, bookings can be made advance via Rail Europe’s website or mobile app.

    3. How do I keep a record of places I’ve visited?

    Ans: The best way to do this is via the Rail Planner app, where travellers can easily and conveniently refer back to travel itineraries at any time. The map and itinerary can also be exported and shared via email or WhatsApp. To do that, go to the “My Trip” section in the app, click on the three dots located on the top right corner, and select the most suitable sharing option.

    4. Can I bring my dog on board when travelling through Europe?

    It is important to understand that Rail Europe’s extensive portfolio of products includes rail passes and point-to-point tickets encompassing a vast network serviced by many different train operators covering more than 30,000 destinations across 33 countries in Europe. Each train operator has their own set of rules around luggage, catering, seat reservations and other interests such as travelling with pets on board. The below provides  some insight in some policies provided:

    Germany: For travel in Germany and between Amsterdam and Germany, small dogs can ride for free in a container, while larger dogs need a ticket.

    Italy: Dogs can ride aboard most Trenitalia trains for free with a carrier of a certain size, or for a fee if on a leash. Dogs must be muzzled, have a pet passport/health certificate and cannot ride in certain classes.

    Switzerland: Small dogs travel for free in carriers, while larger dogs require a ticket or a Dog Day card for longer journeys.

    France: Domestic animals in pet carriers and larger dogs are allowed on high speed trains. You must purchase a ticket for travel for your pet. Guide dogs can travel for free on any train.

    Eurostar: With the exception of guide dogs and assistance dogs, Eurostar does not permit pets on board the train.

    It is also important to note that travelling across borders can complicate matters – if you are planning to bring a pet from outside of the EU or cross international borders, certain countries may require extensive vaccinations, paperwork, quarantine and more. Always research each country and train operator’s policies before booking a seat or hopping on board with your furry friend.

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