The Euro is Down – Take Advantage and Hop on a Train in Europe

Use a Eurail Select or Global Pass to travel to Alicante-Playa de San Juan - Valencia, Spain
Use a Eurail Select or Global Pass to travel to Alicante-Playa de San Juan – Valencia, Spain

It’s no secret, the Euro has declined in value against the Dollar, that’s great news for those looking to travel to Europe this Spring and Summer! This downward trend in exchange rate means that things you once only dreamed of doing can now be a more obtainable reality.

For this post we’ve compiled a list of bucket-list items that you can easily check off without going broke while the Euro is down. So before you begin researching destinations outside of Europe, with the expectation that Europe is out of your financial reach, give this post a read, we think you’ll find it may change your mind.

Explore France For Less

France is among the European countries that is typically top of the list of dream travel destinations. The country has it all, from posh cities, rolling vineyards, gorgeous coastlines and everything in between. Individuals travel here for the history, culture, art and of course, the food (and wine).

You can add this country to your itinerary with a France Rail Pass. See all of France with this pass that provides you with access to the national rail network of the country. With the fluctuation in exchange rate, right now the 3-day 1st class France Rail Pass can be purchased for almost 18% less than it was in 2014. With the savings you’ll get on the pass, it leaves money in your wallet for some great sightseeing activities – museums, wine tastings, day-trips and more!

Why stop at France though? With the France-Spain High Speed train, you can experience Madrid and/or Barcelona as well! We have excellent offers on train tickets for Paris to Madrid or Barcelona, see our site for booking.

Sacré-Coeur - found in Paris, France. Photo © Paris Tourist Office - Photographer : Jacques Lebar
Sacré-Coeur – found in Paris, France. Photo © Paris Tourist Office – Photographer : Jacques Lebar

Choose Your European Pass Savings

The Eurail Select Pass allows you to create your own rail pass – sort of like choosing your own adventure! You can select 4 bordering countries to travel in with this rail pass. The cost of the pass depends on the countries you choose. A 5-day 1st class pass can cost you as little as $190 or as much as $459 – whereas in 2014, the same pass would have set you back $577 – just think of what you can do with the savings on this pass!

With four European countries to explore, your options are pretty limitless. You can choose to experience western Europe and visit France, Spain, Italy and Germany, or maybe set your sights on eastern Europe and explore the Czech Republic, Croatia/Slovenia, Bulgaria and Slovakia.

And if you’re traveling with children (age 4-11) you can count on even more savings – new for 2015, up to 2 children travel for free with a paying adult on the Eurail Select Pass. That means you can broaden the horizons of your children without dipping into their college funds! Bring the history books to life with the Eurail Select Pass.

Backpack Through Europe Without Breaking the Bank

Most of us have had the fantasy of taking time off of school/work and setting across Europe – with a backpack and no set schedule. To be completely spontaneous and make plans as you go. That is exactly what the Eurail Global Pass allows you to do.

This pass gives you unlimited rail travel on the national railroads of 28 countries in Europe. You can travel short distances during the day and take overnight trains for the longer treks – allowing you to see more as you can see the sights all day, and travel while you sleep, arriving refreshed the next day to conquer the next city. With 28 countries to explore, you will have plenty of options to create the ultimate European vacation.

A word of warning – when you have that 28-country pass in your hands, and you start looking at all of the possibilities, something happens to your mind, you suddenly want to make it a mission to add as many stamps as possible in your passport, checking off country by country and adding more and more cities to the itinerary. Before you know it, you’ve included 14 countries and 67 cities to your plans, in one-month! With the convenience of train travel in Europe, a schedule like that would not be difficult to achieve – go ahead and make this European dream come true!

This pass also allows up to 2 children to travel free with a paying adult – just another benefit, you can take the kids along on your adventure, paving the way for them to do a similar trip after they’ve graduated high school or college!

Gorgeous scenery surrounding a lake in Switzerland
Gorgeous scenery surrounding a lake in Switzerland

See Switzerland While Saving

The Euro is down, but it’s not the only currency on a downward trend – the Swiss Franc has lost some strength too. And while this is the trend, there’s no better time to visit this alpine country. Of course, the Swiss Travel Pass is a must-have for any visit to Switzerland. This pass doesn’t just allow you to travel on trains, it provides access to the entire Swiss Travel Network including trains, boats and buses. Also included with this pass is access to over 480 museums throughout Switzerland.

If you’re considering Switzerland as a summer travel destination, your wallet will appreciate the near 14% reduction in price of the Swiss Travel Pass over 2014. And if you’re taking the kids with you, keep in mind that children under the age of 16 travel free with a parent or legal guardian with the Swiss Family Card.

With the the money you’ll be saving on Swiss Travel Passes, why not add some activities to your trip. mountaintop excursions, city tours, etc, etc…Rail Europe has a wonderful selection of products that can truly enhance your Swiss experience.

mainz germany
The setting sun over the Rhine, with the Theodor Heuss bridge in the background in Mainz, Germany

Less Green for German Travel

Last, but certainly not least, on our list is Germany. The German Rail Pass has the largest reduction – you can purchase this pass for over 30% less than the cost in 2014! Now is the time to travel the Romantic Road, or wander around the Fairy-tale route. There is so much to see and do in Germany that you will not find yourself bored. Historical monuments and sites, museums, world-renowned factories (BMW, Porsche, Steiff, etc, etc…) and more await your arrival.

Good news for families traveling to Germany, along with the Eurail and Swiss Travel Passes, up to 2 children (age 6-11) travel free with each adult passenger. So you can bring the kids to Bavaria and introduce them to a whole new world. Let the fairy-tales you’ve been reading to them at night come to life as they walk in the footsteps of the Pied Piper, Rapunzel and other characters written about by the infamous Brothers Grimm.


Go Now While the Euro is Down!

To summarize, this is the year of European travel, especially by rail. This is also the year to take the kids along for the adventure – with all of the free-child advantages, you’ll have plenty of money remaining for some nice souvenirs for the kids to bring in for show-and-tell in the Fall!

Let us know where you plan to travel this spring and summer – help inspire other community members as they create their travel plans.

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