It’s summertime and high season for going on road trips in Europe. June and July are very busy and fun months for all you rail adventurers out there. But summertime also brings with it a few unique challenges, which you need to keep in mind.
With so many people travelling during summertime, seat reservations become much more important. In low season it’s possible to just jump on regional trains or decide at the very last minute which train to buy a seat reservation for. In summer, this is not optimal. In fact, if you don’t reserve seats in advance, you might very well find yourself not being allowed to board a train! So to minimize the hassle and the delays, contact the national train agencies beforehand and ask to reserve that seat in advance.
The train schedules in summertime are often different than those during low season. The reasons vary, but a couple involve the maintenance work undertaken in the warm months, as well as the changed capacity for routes that are more popular. Simply put, with more people travelling by rail in summer, you can expect that trains are full, changed or simply rescheduled. So before you head out, do contact the national rail agencies and ask for advice. A rule of thumb is to begin this process at least a couple of weeks before, so you have a vague idea of how the land lies. Keep in mind that the response time is often several days when contacting large national rail agencies.