Interrail Pass Formats: Mobile vs Paper Tickets

If you’re dreaming of an adventure that takes you through the picturesque landscapes, historic cities, and vibrant cultures of Europe, then Interrailing is your ticket to ride. The Interrail pass, often dubbed the golden key to Europe, unlocks almost an entire continent for you. But as you’re preparing for your journey, you’ll need to decide between two formats: the traditional paper pass and the modern mobile pass.

In this guide, we’ll delve into the world of Interrail pass formats, weighing the merits and demerits of each. From the rustle of paper tickets to the convenience of a digital pass, we’ll help you make an informed choice, answer your burning questions, and ensure you’re all set to embark on your European adventure.

Paper or Mobile Interrail Pass – Which Way to Go?

The Charm of Paper Tickets

When you think of travelling by train, there’s something nostalgic about holding a physical ticket in your hand. The crinkle of paper, the anticipation of the journey, and the tangible proof of your adventure – it all adds to the romance of travel. Here’s what makes paper Interrail passes appealing:

1. Tangibility

There’s a certain joy in receiving a package in the mail that contains your Interrail pass. It’s like holding a treasure chest in your hand, teeming with possibilities. That moment when you tear open the envelope and see the pass, neatly bound in your name, is nothing short of magical.

2. No Battery Anxiety

In the age of smartphones, one common concern is running out of battery at a crucial moment. With paper tickets, you never have to worry about your phone dying on you when you’re trying to catch your train. Your paper pass won’t fail you, even if your phone does.

3. Collectible Souvenir

Paper tickets can be the ultimate travel keepsake. When the journey ends, and you’re back home, you’ll have a tangible memento to cherish – your Interrail pass, each handwritten entry a piece of your European adventure.

4. No Technical Hassles

Paper tickets are user-friendly. You don’t need to be tech-savvy to use them. They’re straightforward and hassle-free, perfect for those who prefer the traditional way of doing things.

The Convenience of Mobile Pass

While paper tickets have their undeniable charm, the mobile Interrail pass offers a range of modern conveniences that make your journey easier. Let’s explore why the digital format might be the right choice for you:

1. Instant Access

With a mobile pass, you don’t have to wait for the postman to deliver your pass. It’s accessible instantly on your smartphone, allowing you to plan a last-minute trip without any delays.

2. Eco-Friendly

In an era where sustainability is paramount, the mobile pass stands out as an eco-friendly option. It reduces the use of paper and minimises the carbon footprint of your travels.

3. Security and Peace of Mind

Mobile passes are protected by your smartphone’s security measures, making it less likely to be lost or stolen. You can rest easy knowing your pass is safe and secure.

4. Real-Time Updates

The digital format provides real-time information about your journeys, including changes in schedules, platforms, and delays. This ensures you stay informed and can adapt to any unexpected situations while on the go.

5. Flexible

No need to choose a start date until you travel. And, journeys aren’t locked in until you actually get onto the train. So, if your plans change you can get back your travel day. Paper passes don’t offer this flexibility; once it has been written on your pass that travel day has been used.

Interrail Pass Format FAQs

Now that we’ve explored the pros and cons of paper and mobile Interrail passes, it’s time to address some common questions travellers often have.

1. Can I switch between paper and mobile during my trip?

Switching pass formats isn’t possible once you’ve made your purchase. Choose carefully when you’re booking your Interrail pass.

2. What about ticket inspections?

Whether you have a paper or mobile pass, you’ll be subject to ticket inspections. Make sure to keep your paper pass in good condition, and have your mobile pass readily accessible on your device.

3. What if I lose my paper pass or my phone?

A paper Interrail pass cannot be replaced or refunded. Whereas, if you lose your phone with a mobile pass, you can still retrieve it on another device free of charge, provided you have your login details.

4. Can I share my mobile pass with a friend?

No, your mobile pass is personal and non-transferable. It’s linked to your identity, so it can’t be used by someone else. With paper passes, this is also the case, as your name is printed on the pass.

5. Are there any extra costs for the mobile pass?

There may be extra costs associated with mobile passes, such as data usage for downloading or viewing the pass. Be sure to check with your mobile provider to understand any potential charges. Lots of trains in Western Europe do have wifi.

6. Can I use my mobile pass in all European countries?

Yes, the mobile pass is accepted in 33 countries across Europe. However, it’s always a good idea to check Interrail’s website for any updates or specific conditions for certain countries.

7. What if my phone runs out of battery?

Having a portable charger is a wise move. Interrail’s mobile app allows you to download your pass to be used offline, ensuring you can still access it, even if your phone’s battery is running low.

8. Can I have both a paper and a mobile pass at the same time?

No, you can’t have both. You’ll need to choose one format when purchasing your Interrail pass.


So, the age-old question remains – paper or mobile Interrail pass? It all boils down to your personal preferences and travel style. Paper passes offer a touch of nostalgia and tangibility, while mobile passes provide modern conveniences, real-time updates, and eco-friendliness.

Ultimately, the choice is yours. Both formats will take you on an incredible journey through Europe, allowing you to explore diverse landscapes, cultures, and histories. Whichever you choose, remember that the Interrail pass is your gateway to the adventure of a lifetime.

Whether you opt for the rustle of paper tickets or the convenience of a mobile pass, you’re bound for an unforgettable experience. So, get your Interrail pass, pack your bags, and prepare to embark on a European adventure like no other. All aboard!