Make Your Train Arrangements

Train tickets can be booked only after the timetable for those dates has been released. This will generally be 3–6 months before travel. For your initial planning, use fake dates on the RailEurope.com or Trainline.com website.

Two or more traveling together will receive a discount, as will senior travelers over 60. So specify both of these to receive accurate pricing. Then determine what your options are, based on:

  1. Type of train service—regional or city-to-city.
  2. Departure and arrival times.
  3. Duration of the trip.
  4. Number of train changes.
  5. 1st versus 2nd class costs.
  6. Are reservations required?

Use RailEurope or Trainline to Plan

During your planning stages, the easiest website to use for your train bookings is RailEurope.com. Primarily owned by the French and Swiss rail companies, RailEurope has been in business for many decades and provides a robust, easy-to-use site that shows you your options and walks you through the steps to purchase your tickets. Additional options are Trainline.com and LOCO2.com.

When you actually do book your tickets, you may be able to save money by using the SNCF site, the rail system for France (SNCF.com). Country sites can be confusing, but they generally offer better fares. So use RailEurope for planning, even if you opt to use SNCF.com to make your ticket purchases.

If you do use the SNCF site, click the down arrow in the top right-hand corner of the screen and select “English” for easier navigation. When you are asked your country of origin, select “Australia” to avoid being rerouted back to RailEurope.