How To Buy Tickets

HOW TO BOOK ON DESKTOP VERSIONS OF BOOKING SITES (mobile versions and apps coming soon):
 

Austria - How to Buy Tickets on OBB

Belgium (International Train Tickets) - How To Buy Tickets on B-Europe

Denmark - How To Buy Tickets on DSB

France - How To Buy Tickets on Voyages-SNCF (desktop)

Germany - How To Buy Tickets and Reservations on DB-BAHN (desktop)

Italy - 
How to Buy Tickets on Trenitalia.com

Switzerland - How To Buy Tickets on the SBB Ticket Shop

The Netherlands (International Train Tickets) How to Buy Tickets on NS INTERNATIONAL

GENERAL GUIDES:
 

Advice On How To Buy Tickets At The Cheapest Possible Price Read More:

 

An Overview Of Seat Reservations On European TrainsRead More:

WORTH KEEPING IN MIND:

How to book train tickets online can be straightforward, even if you’re not a resident in the country in which you will be travelling by train.

The most heavily used European train ticket booking sites all have excellent English translation and the core aspects of using them are universal – the steps required to make a booking always are:

1. select a start and end point (normally by using drop down menus),
2. select one way OR return/two-way tickets,
3. select a travel date,
4. choose a departure from the multiple options you will be provided with,
5. choose a ticket (1st/2nd class/discounted/standard), (steps 4 and 5 can be reversed)
6. choose a delivery option,
7.  make a payment.

Once you’re used to using a particular system it takes a matter of minutes to book a journey -  but you won’t always save money when you book online, so in those circumstances booking online vs booking at the station becomes a personal preference.

 

Would you rather using a booking site or a ticket machine at a station or a ticket booking counter? – The choice is yours.

However, in a scenario when you’re visiting a country and won’t be saving when booking in advance online, the balance tips in favour of booking at the station.
You can avoid the risk of error when making an online booking and at major stations the ticket counter staff are usually multi -lingual - and they will sell you the cheapest possible ticket.
 

Examples of European train services on which you won’t save money by booking online include:

- any journey within Belgium and The Netherlands,
- TER (regional/local) trains in France,
- Regio trains in Germany,
- Regionale/Regionale Veloce trains in Italy,
- Oresundtag trains between Denmark and Sweden.
- REX trains in Austria.
 

You will also usually save only the equivalent of a couple of €s if you book long distance express trains online for journeys within most Eastern European countries including Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.
Though you can make bigger advance savings on international train tickets to and from these countries.

OVERVIEW OF BOOKING DISCOUNTED TICKETS ONLINE:

In Western Europe (Belgium and The Netherlands aside) it usually nearlly always pays off to persevere with booking online in advance if you want to/need to travel by express (fast) trains – including journeys by non-high speed trains.

If you will be taking a high speed train then it is ALWAYS cheaper to book in advance online.
 

So it’s possible to make significant savings if you book online in advance for journeys by express trains within, Austria, Denmark*, France*, Germany* Great Britain*, Italy*, Norway, Poland*, Spain*, Sweden* and Switzerland.
The most heavily discounted tickets are more than 50% less than the standard price in the countries marked with an*.
 

(Those links go to the general ticket information for each country on ShowMeTheJourney – and more countries will be added soon – Spain is next in the queue!)

You will also save money if you can book international express daytime and overnight trains in advance – including EC (EuroCity), Eurostar, Lyria, Nightjet and Thalys services.
 

When booking discounted tickets online, the following ALWAYS applies:


(i) Discounted tickets are train specific – you have to travel by the specific departure(s) you selected when making a booking.

(ii) Book the cheapest type of ticket and subsequently change your plans and you won’t be able to claim a refund, or swap your ticket to another departure free of charge. (or even at all).

(iii) The inability to refund or exchange also applies if you miss the train you are booked on, to due to circumstances beyond the control of the train operator.

 For example a breakdown of a metro/subway train, or a taxi to a station getting stuck in traffic.

(iv) If you’re travelling within a country on a journey that involves a change of train – and you miss a connection, due to a train being delayed-  your tickets will be valid on a subsequent later train that you then have to take.
(not always true when booking multi-journey  end2end international tickets).

(v) Prices can vary between departures on each date – the most heavily discounted tickets inevitably sell out faster on the more popular trains.

(vi) The most heavily discounted tickets may never be made available on certain departures/routes/at certain times.