Travel by train on a budget – it's a piece of cake!Travel cheaply by train

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.

Plan ahead, take advantage of offers, travel in groups... We'll show you how to secure the best fares for your upcoming train journeys. Follow our tips and you'll find out that train travel doesn't have to be expensive all the time.

Travel by train on a budget

1 - Book at the right time thanks to booking windows

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? 
Trains Destinations Tickets bookable up to
Eurostar Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Germany 4 months in advance
TGV INOUI France 4 months in advance
ICE Germany 180 days in advance
Eurostar to London London 330 days in advance
InterCity / regional trains Lille, Luxembourg, the Netherlands,... 335 days in advance

2 -Take advantage of 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 Eurostar Sun or Eurostar 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 - Travel outside peak times

Most people take trips or start their holidays at the weekend – but there are far fewer cheap train fares available at this time. So if you're flexible it's definitely worth travelling on weekdays, during the afternoon or outside the school holidays.

4 - Use your discount and loyalty cards

Are you the proud owner of a loyalty card or a discount card for train travel? That's great! Make sure you remember to enter your card number every time you make a booking. At the very start of our booking process you have the option to select Belgian and international cards next to the entry for each passenger.

Cards we accept include: Carte Avantage SNCF and the BahnCard issued by Deutsche Bahn.

5 - Travel with family

Children travel free aboard international trains up to a certain age. Train companies set this age limit themselves.

Deutsche Bahn offers great fares for families in particular: children under 15 travel for free in Germany when accompanied by their parents or grandparents.

6 - Take advantage of our special offers

All international rail companies regularly provide special offers, such as particularly cheap fare promotions or increased availability for the lowest fares.
Subscribe to our newsletter to hear about the latest bargains. We will also let you know when the summer and winter seasons for specific trains are available for booking. After all, planning ahead pays off. :-)

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7 - Buy a 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.

8 - Enjoy the Interrail rail Passes

The Interrail Pass, which allows you to travel in 33 European countries, is generally known as a youth product. But did you know this Pass is in fact available for all age groups? Thanks to its advantageous fares for youngsters, families (children travel free of charge) and seniors, Interrail makes it possible to travel across Europe by train at an economical price.

Discover the Interrail offer today >

Travel by train on a budget