Can I avoid trains with reservations?

It's good to remember that most European trains don't need a reservation at all. You can keep the costs of your trip down by traveling with regional trains, which will take you to every corner of Europe. Regional trains can also serve as an alternative for high-speed trains and night trains that are already fully booked.

How to find trains without reservations in the Eurail timetable
Avoiding reservations on French routes

The video below shows you how you can find trains that don't need a reservation.

If you're looking to save money or for more flexibility it's possible to plan a trip without reservations. In most cases this means traveling by regional train. While regional trains can sometimes be a bit slower and make more stops, they're modern, comfortable and a great way to discover smaller towns and villages. To find trains without reservations enter the journey details in the timetable, check the box ' avoid trains that require reservations'. If you have any questions, we're here to help!


Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to find trains that don't require a reservation.

How to find trains without reservations in the Eurail timetable


Follow these steps to find trains that don't require a reservation:

  1. Go to the Eurail timetable.

  2. Enter your departure and arrival stations, as well as your departure date and time.

  3. Click on 'Show more options' and check the 'Avoid trains that require reservations' box. Timetable with show more options
    Screenshot showing how to search for trains that avoid reservations

  4. Click on "Find your train route" to check the list of train routes that don't require a reservation. The journey times of the listed routes may be longer than if trains with reservations are selected.

When you follow the steps above, you will be given the best alternative travel options. Usually, this means that the trains shown don’t require any reservations. Unfortunately, it isn't always possible to avoid trains that require a reservation, but even in that case you'll still be shown the best option that will keep the additional reservation fees as low as possible.

Avoiding reservations on French routes


Many French trains need to be reserved in advance, except for the slower regional trains. The number of seats available to Eurail pass holders is limited on these trains. Once the train is full, you'll need to pay for a full fare ticket or find an alternative way to make your journey. 

Read more about train reservations in France.

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