Where do I buy and reserve tickets?
Buy them in your local travel agents, in the local train stations in Europe, or you can buy them online.
Where can I buy anad reserve tickets online?
RailEurope and TGV-Europe are the best sites to buy tickets online.
Are the rates good?
TGV-Europe's rate is better than RailEurope. Once you're in Europe, the local rates are better than RailEurope's.
Do I have to book?
If you have a pass, sometimes you don't have to. However, please double-check. Most high speed trains, especially in France and Italy, require reservation. Some examples are Thalys, TGV, EuroStar, Fecciarossa, etc.
Where can I buy a pass?
RailEurope or Eurail.com should cover that. If you're European, then you'd want to buy the InterRail pass instead.
How do I book offline?
There are three methods. First, go to your local travel agents. They are usually the best place to buy all your train tickets, especially those that require reservation. Secondly, by phone. Thirdly, in person.
If I am in a particular country, can I buy train tickets of a different country?
Usually, yes. However, don't expect to buy the tickets in the local train stations. For instance, if you're in Germany, and you're looking to buy train rides within France, such as from Paris to Rennes, buy it from the SNCF store. When I was in Austria, though, I was able to buy tickets for other countries such as Romania and Bulgaria. Please check.
Can I just skip the process of looking for tickets online if I go to a travel agent?
Yes, you can. However, be warned that travel agents have varying competencies. There was one time when I was looking for a night train from Nancy to Marseille, but when I visited a travel agent in my country, I was told that there was no such train ride. I told them that I've done the checking and all I just wanted to do was to book the ride. They apologized and double-checked it for me. I just don't want you to go to a travel agent and take whatever they have to say without question.
How many days back can I buy the tickets?
90 to 60 days. Check.
Is it comfortable?
Mostly, it's relatively comfortable. Don't expect much from night trains.
Is it clean?
For the most part, yes. The toilets tend to be in a bad condition because people keep dumping tissue paper, especially the night trains. The high-speed trains are usually well-maintained.
Is it safe?
Mostly, yes. I had one incident when I was riding the train from Bruxelles to Amsterdam. I had my bag stolen. Apparently, Thalys trains and trains from Bruxelles were quite notorious in Amsterdam. However, I had many other rides in many other countries. I had no problem in France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Czech Republic, Poland and Croatia.
Is it worth it?
Yes, very much so! I can assure you that traveling by train is by far the most convenient way of traveling between cities in Europe. You don't get stuck in traffic jams, you don't have to drive, but there is of course a small risk for the trains to be late. The only reason why you wouldn't travel by train is if it'll take you more than 12 hours or if your destination doesn't have a train station nearby.