making vampires from backpackers

If you’re smart and want to travel overseas without completely sacrificing yourself to the monetary-vampire otherwise known as Europe, you’ll get yourself a Eurail Pass.  Hitchhiking’s good, too, but if you’re seeking something a tad more reliable and timely, the train’s the way to go.  If you’re really smart, you’ll learn to use your pass like I eat peanut butter–scrape it to the glass.  See, if you catch a train after 19:00 (that’s 7 pm for Americans who are too lazy to fumble around with a 24 hour clock–though if you’re going to Europe, you’d better get used to it), then your pass gets marked for the following day.

In essence, this means you get two days in one.  Or if you’re technical, a day and an evening in one.  Whatever.  Do it!  We were able to make our passes last much longer this way.

Here’s an example, to make things clear:

 19:30 we left Kemijärvi, our passes were marked.

14:40 the next day, we left for Stockholm.  Our passes were not marked.

Be careful, though–if you take an overnight train before 19:00, it’s possible that they’ll mark you for two days.  It never happened to us, but keep the possibility in mind.

Another trick–while in Sweden and only for risk-takers: when we were traveling in said country, not one ticket-checker made a mark on our passes.  So if you write the date you travel on in pencil, you could potentially travel forever (well, forever in a relative sense) on a single day, erasing and writing in the days as they pass…But I’m not recommending that. (And we were too paranoid to try.)

 

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