Travelling by train is the best way to get around Europe. It's convenient, sustainable and affordable. Generally speaking, the earlier you purchase your ticket, the more easily you will find cheap seats.
But how can you find the most inexpensive train tickets? By following our 4 expert tips.
1. The booking window
It indicates when a train is bookable
. Take the booking window into account to purchase your trip as soon as possible and benefit from the lowest prices (available in limited quantities).
Each carrier is free to set the booking window for its own trains, so there's quite some variation in how far ahead tickets can be booked. Here is an overview.
How far in advance can I book my tickets?
|Paris, Amsterdam, Cologne,...
|4 months in advance
|4 months in advance
|180 days in advance
|330 days in advance
|InterCity / regional trains
|Lille, Luxembourg, the Netherlands,...
|335 days in advance
Prices may change quickly, even on the same day. Booking off-peak tickets can save you a lot of money.
2. Consolidated openings
Forget the first rule if it comes to certain busy periods
. Some railway companies offer tickets for school holidays or end-of-year celebrations as of a fixed date
The same applies to seasonal trains
that operate during a specific period, such as Thalys Sun
or Thalys Snow
This fixed date is communicated by email
and/or on our website
- keep an eye out so you don't miss anything and travel at the best fare.
3. Special offers
Many carriers offer a limited number of discounted tickets
throughout the year. Special offers
are available for a few days only
and travel dates will be limited.
Visit the "Offers
" section on our website to discover all promotions throughout the year.
4. The Connection Ticket
The Connection Ticket
is only available on SNCB International
. It allows you to travel at a fixed price from any train station in Belgium
to the station where your international train
departs and, vice versa, from the station where your international train arrives to any further station in Belgium.
It may only be purchased in combination to an international train
ticket and is specifically interesting for long distance travel
in Belgium. It is free for up to 4 children
under 12 accompanied by an adult.