Interrail Planner / June 19, 2016
How to Make Interrail Train Reservations Online: The Comprehensive Guide
Interrail passes enable you to travel by train throughout most of Europe. However, for most train journeys, you have to buy seat reservations in addition to your pass. Purchasing these reservations online is notoriously difficult, so we’ve made this guide to buying reservations online in advance of your Interrail trip.
Before trying to make any reservations, it’s sensible to plan out a route, so you can search for the specific trains you need. If you haven’t already done so, get planning here.
A rule of thumb is to try to make reservations up to 2 months in advance to ensure you can book the trains you want. Reservations often aren’t available to book until 3 months in advance, so your best window of opportunity lasts about 1 month.
Now, onto the different ways to make reservations online!
Voyages SNCF is one of the easier websites to use. It has a straightforward search form, isn’t limited to one particular country, and allows you to book international trains. Follow these simple steps to search for reservations:
There are a few types of search forms: ‘Rail Tickets’, ‘Rail Passes’, ‘Buses’, and ‘Hotels’. You want to select ‘Rail Passes’.
On the search form, click to select ‘Seat Reservation’ rather than ‘Rail Pass’.
Enter your journey and passenger details, and click ‘Continue Booking’.
This is relatively painless compared to other websites, but can still be very time-consuming if you have to search for multiple trains or dates. However, if you use the Interrail Planner planning application, we have a ‘Reserve Seats’ button, which automatically fills in the details of your journey and takes you straight to the Voyages SNCF search results. As you edit your trip, these links automatically adjust, meaning there is no time wasted editing forms.
ACPRail is as straightforward as Voyages SNCF and, similarly, allows you to search for domestic and international trains in the majority of European countries. The form is so simple that there’s actually no need for a step-by-step guide - just make sure you choose ‘Reservations’, rather than ‘Tickets’.
Like with Voyages SNCF, we offer the same functionality to automatically search ACPRail reservations via our Interrail planning tool. The ACPRail website can be a bit slow though, so be patient!
Deutsche Bahn allows you to search almost the entire European train timetable, but it is usually only possible to make reservations for trains in and out of Germany. Like ACPRail, the search form is simple enough not to require a step-by-step guide - just make sure you have ticked the box that says ‘Reserve a seat only’. The other useful feature on DB Bahn is that it indicates whether a reservation is compulsory for each train.
This website is the trickiest of the lot, so follow these steps carefully:
Enter journey details in the search form as if you were buying an actual train ticket.
In the results, click on the train you want. More information will drop down.
At the bottom of the dropdown, there is a button that says ‘View other offers’. Click it.
On the new page, choose ‘Global Pass’ from the dropdown in the ‘Offer’ column. The price should now adjust to the reservation price.
In order to proceed to checkout, you must enter your Interrail pass order number in the ‘Ticket Number Support’ box. This is the 8-digit number preceded by ‘IN’ on your pass and can also be found in your order confirmation email.
Quite niche, but use SJ's website to book seats on trains to or from Sweden. To reserve seats with your Interrail pass, follow these instructions:
Enter your destinations and dates.
Look for the ‘Customer Card’ dropdown (towards the bottom of the form) and add passes for each traveller.
In the results, choose the option that says ‘Refundable’ and continue to checkout.
This is explained very helpfully with pictures here. Also, bear in mind that the prices may appear in Swedish Krona; at the time of writing, 60kr is equivalent to approximately £5.
Interrail.eu Reservations Service
Last but not least is the relatively new Interrail Reservations Service. You request the trains you desire, and they handle the reservations. You can also do this as a group to ensure you are sat together. The downside is that there is an €8 booking fee per train (on top of the cost of the seat reservation itself), but it may well be worth paying for the convenience - especially if you don’t have any luck with the other options above!
We hope this guide can help you to book the train reservations you need for your Interrail trip, but if there’s something you think we’ve missed, please do let us know.