Posted 2 weeks ago
From what I understand, one can now purchase a Eurail Global Paper Pass at a European station (this was not the case pre-pandemic or pre-mobile).
However, from the Eurail website suggests that it is more expensive to buy in Europe - but I've not found pricing. Nor can I determine whether the the current "early bird" pricing is available. Delighted to learn more.
Where have you seen that they can be bought at stations? The page you linked doesn't mention sales, Eurail aid desks have been around for a long time.
Interrail passes can be bought at stations in some countries and do cost more than Eurail in some duration options but they have different conditions and are only available to residents of the Interrail pass area (who have severe restrictions on use in the country they live in.)
The info that a pass could be bought at stations came from the Eurail Help Desk. However, so far I've not been able to find any collateral "official" evidence on the Eurail Website that this is indeed possible.
Please see below for the reply I received when enquiring if there were alternatives to having the pass snail mailed to me in North America (current delivery times for March 1 were May 1st)!
I've requested additional info from the helpdesk - but so far I've not heard back - hence my question to this forum:
Thank you for choosing Eurail Support Team,
Unfortunately, the estimated time that is given when checking out is the most accurate one. And we do not offer express shipping.
Your next choice will have to be the mobile Pass indeed, or you can also buy the Pass at any Major Local Station in Europe.
What we also can do for you is ship the Passes to the address you will stay in Europe. I can imagine you will need to do some reservation before departing so once the order has been placed, I will send you your Pass Cover Number so you can start booking reservations.
Please let me know how you would like to proceed, I would be happy to help!
Customer service team
The only description of European Train stations in the context of Eurail was the link I included in my question to this forum.
I found another 3rd party link that mentions the possibility of purchase in Europe - but is not officially substantiated:
If you are curious about my reluctance to use a Mobile Pass - it is based on:
a) I'm based in North America and don't connect to the European Mobile Network except on Hotel Wifi (so trips would need to be planned in detail for the day before leaving the hotel with a Mobile Pass)
b) In the past the flexibility of Eurail appealed to me - I don't necessarily know where I'm going for a day trip until I arrive at the station and check destinations/times - or I change destinations (trains) at the last moment due to weather, delays, etc.
With a mobile pass it seems that you need to load the possible trips *before* boarding (or in my case before leaving the hotel), while with a paper pass one can document the train used shortly *after* boarding.
Thanks again for suggestions... (my travels start in a few weeks - not two months - and given the value of passes, I'm reluctant to order a paper pass and have it shipped to my first hotel).
Also, since I'm planning to travel in some combination of Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Slovakia, and Switzerland - reservations aren't necessary in advance and a continuous Global Pass seems to be a good flexible choice over a month or two.
Always refreshing to see how much Eurail/Interrail know about their product and care about their customers. :)
ÖBB (Austrian Railways) apparently only sells Eurail Austria Passes at select stations: https://www.oebb.at/en/tickets-kundenkarten/oesterreich-europa/travel-paesse/eurail
Whether they would also sell Global Passes or if other companies in other countries sell Global Passes - I don't know.
That information from the Eurail office in Netherlands is dubious to say the least. The pass is definately not available at any station in Britain - the train operators accept Eurail and Interrail but don't sell by any means. Swiss Federal Railways recently stopped selling Interrail at stations which suggest they probably don't sell Eurail either.
I notice that ACP Rail, the official seller for North America, is now only dealing in Mobile Passes. Has your phone network provider actually said you can't use it in Europe? It's more likely that foreign roaming is switched off as default and needs activating (but check the cost!!!)
Which airport would you land at? It's possible that the station ticket office at a big airport may sell the pass.
By the way, for the countries use www.bahn.com/en for schedules rather than the Eurail planner.
Thank you to MisterSteve and Flo for confirming my concerns that Eurail Paper Global Passes are unlikely to be available for purchase at European Train stations.
I'm resigned to the possibility that I may have to purchase a Mobile Pass - but as outlined earlier, I yearn for the flexibility of a paper pass to make day-of or moment-of decisions on travel - e.g., swiching trains based on weather, delays, spur-of-the-moment planning.
Based in North America - my cellular provider does indeed enable global roaming at a cost of $10/day. For two travellers, who may not always travel together - the roaming cost doubles. Perhaps it is time to invest in a European SIM card - however, that adds unnecessary complication to our travels.
Since we are beginning our travels at Frankfurt Airport - we could leave the decision of Mobile vs Paper Pass to our arrival - however, I'd rather not waste time asking about the availablity of Paper Eurail Passes unless there is a good probability that they are avilable for sale (and as MisterSteve and Flo have indicated - I have my doubts too)!
Thanks to all for your insight!
According to Deutsche Bahn website they indeed sell paper Eurail passes at stations with Eurail Aid Offices: https://www.bahn.com/en/offers/passes/eurail-pass
However the link to the actual list of stations with these offices is dead - it links to a list from 2021. Eurail website lists Frankfurt Airport station as a Eurail Aid Office though. I would recommend to contact DB directly to sort this out.
Maybe try the email here: https://www.bahnhof.de/frankfurt-am-main-flughafen-fernbahnhof
Of all the stations in europe that might sell Eurail Passes, Frankfurt Airport is the one I would bet on! It's the number 1 incoming point for foreign visitors to Germany and well used by Americans. The link is also available in English www.bahnhof.de/en/frankfurt-am-main-flughafen-fernbahnhof
However, I've just found something better than my bets. Hidden away in the DB website www.bahn.com/en/offers/passes/eurail-pass scroll down past the links that take you to the Eurail website and in FAQs click "Where can I purchase a Eurail pass?" -past the Mobile or Online order options - it confirms that they are sold at Eurail Aid desks at DB stations. The airport has two stations, Fernbahnhof is for long distance and the office there has the longest opening hours.
Thanks for the pointer!
PS I'll email them and report back. I hope to discover paper pass availability and pricing (I'd like to also confirm that DB offers the "Spring" sale pricing)!
However I doubt if it is a real problem not be able to make a change at the last moment in the itinery at the app. I suppose it is not possible after departuretime with the official timetable, because it disappears after departure, but there is still a possibilty to do it manually, I think. Assuming Eurail works the same way as Interrail (for Europeans in another country).
with regards pricing "variant" - don't forget prices in Germany will be quoted in Euros but if you use the Eurail site from USA it should quote in dollars.
I've heard back from Deutsche Bahn and they have confirmed that indeed Eurail Passes are available for purchase at certain stations (see below)! Thank you to all for your suggestions!
Thank you for your e-mail.
Please excuse the broken link. The Eurail Pass can be purchased at the following stations in Germany:
Berlin Airport (BER)
Cologne (Köln Hbf)
Dusseldorf (Düsseldorf Hbf)
Frankfurt (Main) Hbf
Frankfurt (Main) Airport (Frankfurt(M)Flugh)
Hanover (Hannover Hbf)
Munich (München Hbf)
Munich Airport T (München Flughafen Terminal)
Please notice that "Hbf" means central station.
You can get Eurail passes at Frankfurt Airport at the regional train station and also at the long-distance train station.
Opening hours of the travel center Frankfurt (Main) airport regional train station
Monday to Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m
Saturday, 7:00 a.m. to 14:30 p.m
Sundays and public holidays, closed
Opening hours of the travel center Frankfurt (Main) airport long-distance train station
Monday to Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m
Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 18:00 p.m
Sunday and public holidays, 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m
We would be glad to continue to welcome you on our pages and in our trains.
Your bahn.com team
Further to my follow-up with Deutsche Bahn. They've advised me that while they do sell paper Eurail Passes at the Frankfurt Airport train stations, they do not provide the "spring" 10% discount available online via Eurail.com as per:
"The Spring Sale is only available online as it is an offer directly from Eurail.com, not Deutsche Bahn. We are a partner of Eurail just like the other European rail companies. Deutsche Bahn currently does not offer a promotion pass. We kindly ask for your understanding."
This news is disappointing and somewhat surprising. C'est la vie :-) /sdf