The best countries to visit

Germany

Netherlands

Switzerland

Belgium

France

WESTERN EUROPE

OTHER MULTINATIONAL PASSES. If your travels will be limited to one area, con sider regional passes. The France’n Italy pass lets you travel in France and Italy for four days in a two-month period (standard US$239, saver US$209, youth US$199). The Scanrall pass, which covers rail travel in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Swe den, is available both in the UK and the US (five days of 2nd-class travel in a two month period US$286, under-26 US$199, seniors US$253; 10 days in two months US$382/267/339; 21 consecutive days US$443/309/392). The Benelux Tourrail pass for Belgium, Luxembourg, and The Netherlands is available in the UK, in the US, and at train stations in Belgium and Luxembourg, but not in The Netherlands (five days of 2nd-class travel in a one month period US$163, under-26 US$109).

INTERRAIL PASS. If you have lived for at least six months in any European coun try, InterRail passes prove an economical option. There are eight InterRail zones. The pass allows either 21 consecutive days or one month of unlimited travel within one, two, three, or all of the eight zones; the cost is determined by the num ber of zones the pass covers (UKS219-379). The Under-26 InterRail pass (UKS149- 265) provides the same services as the InterRail pass, as does the new Child pass (ages 4-11UKS110-190). Passholders receive discounts on rail travel, Eurostar jour neys, and most ferries to Ireland, Scandinavia, and the rest of Europe. Most exclude supplements for high-speed trains. Tickets and info are available from travel agents, at major train stations, or online (www.railpassdirect.co.uk).

DOMESTIC RAILPASSES

If you are planning to spend a significant amount of time in one country or region, a national pass will probably be more cost-efficient than a multinational pass. Sev eral national passes offer companion fares, allowing two adults traveling together to save about 50% on the price of one pass. However, they are often limited and, unlike Eurail, don’t provide free or discounted travel on many private railways and ferries. Some of these passes can be bought only in Europe, some only outside of Europe; check with a railpass agent or with national tourist offices.

NATIONAL RAILPASSES. The domestic analogs of the Eurailpass, national rail passes (called flexipasses❠in some countries) are valid either for a given number of consecutive days or for a specific number of days within a given period. Usu-ally, they must be purchased before you leave your home country. Though national passes will usually save frequent travelers money, in some cases you may find that they are actually more expensive than point-to-point tickets. Regional passes are also available for areas where the main pass is not valid. For more info, contact Rail Europe (47).

EURO DOMINO. Like the InterRail pass, the Euro Domino pass is available to any one who has lived in Europe for at least six months; however, it can only be used in one country. The pass is available for three to eight days of travel within a one- month period in one of 29 European countries. Supplements for many high-speed trains (e.g., French TGV, German ICE, and Swedish X2000) are included, though you must pay for reservations. The pass must be bought within your country of res idence. Contact your national rail company for more info.

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