Wednesday, October 1, 2014

"What's in your suitcase?" Wednesday: Eurail Pass

So this doesn't exactly fit the normal mold of my Wednesday posts, but I just had to find an excuse to share this incredible view:

That would be the Alps in the distance. This is taken from my seat in the train going from Austria to Italy. Since arriving in Europe, I have traveled exclusively by train from country to country. Here are some of the benefits of train travel as opposed to flying:

  • You get to see spectacular views the entire ride
  • There is usually plenty of leg room
  • Luggage restrictions usually don't exist (within reason), meaning I have been able to stress less about packing back up between countries
  • Some trains have free Wi-fi; most have power outlets
  • You have the option to get up and walk around whenever you need to


I had originally planned to travel by plane throughout Europe, but someone gave me advice to compare prices for the Eurail pass instead. It turned out to be about the same cost as flying between my destinations would and definitely more flexible. There are lots of options for the Eurail pass, but I chose the Global Pass, which allows you a set number of "travel days," between all of the covered countries in Europe, over a set period of time. This means that whenever it is time to go to a new country, I just find an itinerary using the online timetables and go! The pass is all I need to show when train staff check tickets. A pass like this is ideal for my fellowship, since I often get suggestions for other organizations from the ones I am currently working with, and some of these are not on my original itinerary. I'm already considering an unplanned trip to Romania based on a connection like this!

While this may not be ideal for everyone (booking each individual train ticket is sometimes a bit cheaper), I highly recommend it if you're traveling to lots of countries within Europe over a short span of time and want flexibility in your itinerary. It really has helped me to focus on my current location because I don't have to worry about booking my next form of transportation.

You can see all of the countries that are covered by Eurail passes on the map below, along with popular routes. If you want to find out even more, visit the official website here. I got so excited when this map arrived in the mail - there's something exhilarating about knowing that you could jet off to one of these countries at a moments' notice.

Keep an eye out for a reflection post about my time in Europe so far! Thanks for your patience as I try to wrap my head around all of the factors that play a role here in women's vulnerability to sexual exploitation and violence.


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