Europe Rail Star : Help You Travel in Europe with Ease

Rail Drive & Rail Fly Passes

Not all of Europe is accessible by train, many charming small towns and rural areas are best visited by car, and you’ve got to take a boat or a place to get to the Greek Islands. So Rail Europe offers a range of passes combining car rentals or plane tickets with rail passes. Remember to factor in gas, though, which can exceed US $6 per gallon. Note: Unlike a regular car rental, car days on a rail ‘n drive pass need not be used consecutively.

The price of rail ‘n drive passes is based on the class of car you drive, and the available cars vary from country to country, so check out www.raileurope.com for the full details. Generally, you’ll pay a big premium for an automatic transmission.

Car rentals in Europe are generally much more expensive than in North America, and although these passes are discounted, U.S. and Canadian travellers may get hit by sticker shock. For instance, an add-on car day for a tine economy car with the Eurail Global Pass ‘n Drive is $56; for a car with automatic transmission, you’ll pay $105 a day. Single-country passes vary widely in affordability and the availability of automatic transmission. In France, a compact car is $57 per day and a full-size is $120; in Spain, an economy car will cost you only $42, but a compact car cost $114 per day. Germany is the most economical country, charging between $46 and $88 per day depending upon the size and transmission you select, but the prices are still rather high. Before you decide you absolutely need a car, make sure you can’t get wher you need to g by train or bus.

These passes are all for non-consecutive days. Rail ‘n drive passes include:

  • Eurail Global Pass ‘n Drive: Cover 4 days of train travel and at least 2 days’ car rental within a 2-month period in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Luxemburg, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Manual and automatic transmission car are available through Hertz, although automatics are not available in every city. Beware that the largest cars available are “intermediate” seating five. Price: From $569 and up.
  • Eurail Select Pass ‘n Drive: Covers 3 to 15 days of train travel, and at least 2 days’ car rental within a 2-month period in 3, 4, or 5 adjoining European countries. Rent manual and automatic transmission cars (where available) from Hertz, but beware that the largest cars available are “intermediate”, seating five. Price: From $432 and up.
  • BritRail Pass ‘n Drive: Covers 4 days of train travel, and 2 to 7 days Hertz car rental within a 2-month period in England, Scotland, and Wales. Manual and automatic transmission cars are available; the largest car seats five. Price: From $418 and up.
  • France Rail ‘ Drive: Covers 2 to 5 days of train travel and at least 2 days’ Avis car rental within a 1-month period. Manual and automatic transmission cars are available; largest car is a minivan. Price: From $325.
  • Germany Rail ‘ Drive: Covers 2 to 4 days of train travel and at least 2 days’ Hertz car rental within a 1-month period. Manual and automatic transmission cars are available; largest car is a seats five. Price: From $252.
  • Italy Rail ‘ Drive: Covers 3 days of train travel and at least 2 days’ Hertz car rental within a 1-month period. Manual and automatic transmission cars are available; largest car is a seat five. Price: From $330.
  • Scandinavia Rail ‘ Drive: Covers 3 to 10 days of train travel and at least 2 days’ Hertz car rental within a 2-month period in Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Sweden. Manual and automatic transmission cars are available; largest car seats five. Price: From $307.
  • Spain Rail ‘ Drive: Covers 3 to 10 days of train travel and at least 2 days’ Hertz car rental within a 2-month period. Manual and automatic transmission cars are available; largest car seats five. Price: From $307.

Eurail no longer offers the Greek Rail ‘n Fly Pass as travellers once knew it. Travellers who want the benefit of hopping through several Greek islands can get discounted airline tickets by purchasing the Balkan Flexipass. You won’t get free flights, but you will get discounted prices on short hops between Athens and various destinations, including Mykonos, Kalamata, and Chania, Crete. Reservation must be made through Ionian Travel (210-523-9609 or 210-523-4774). But compare these prices to the other big European discounters before you whip out your credit card.

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