I have only one recommendation: If you ride trains in France, always have a plan B, because SNCF employees often strike. My wife and I were there in 2019 and each time we rode SNCF, we hit the first run of the day and were lucky as all other trains going where we were heading to were cancelled for that day. The Eurostar from St Pancras to Paris Nord was standing room only (good thing we left early for the depot that morning as our scheduled train was cancelled). In Paris one evening, we encountered a huge protest by rail workers going down a cross street. Those folks were not happy.
Based on that experience, I'd always schedule future French train trips for the first run of the day, just in case.
The Holy Grail of European train tips is seat61.com.
Otherwise, I would say (sorry if these seem obvious)
Reserve seats where possible, since trains can be crowded in summer
Use the train company's smartphone app for up-to-the minute info
At least in Germany, there will be a display on the platform showing how cars of the train will line up on the platform. Use it to board the right car rather than running down the platform when the train arrives or trundling down the train with your bags. The ICE can be very long!
While in Italy last September. We rode high speed trains from both the national and private railway carriers. Booking online was easy and you have assigned seats. Travel was swift with no problems at all. Very reasonable fares.
We have had excellent experiences riding trains in Europe except for one time- when we were boarding a regular, run of the mill, no reserved seats train in Strasbourg France I was the victim of a pick pocket. Fortunately, they only took my cash, not my credit card, as the conductor found my wallet lying on the floor of our car. Otherwise, we have never had an issue riding trains in Europe.
many years ago I lived in Europe (Germany) for 2 years. We were advised by someone to get one of those pouches that hangs around your neck and down inside your shirt. The advice to keep passports and important stuff in that do it was much much harder to pick. Both my wife and I would just carry cash for the day in our wallets/purse. When we got to a hotel we would re-plennish for the next day. This advice was especially aimed at Itally at the time, and train travel. My wife also had a very flat "fanny pack" type pouch that could wear under her clothes around her waste. It held more than the neck pouches.
I kept hoping someone would pick my pocket since there was only a few Deutsch Marks in it and I could brag about the experience. We never had a problem however. I still think the safe thing is to keep credit cards and passport very inaccessible like in the neck pouch.
Hi, I heard a lot about the pickpocketing throughout Europe. We did purchase waist belts and neck wallets along with Scote Vests. They have mulitple zippered pockets. We are flying into Scotland and will travel by train to the Netherlands and eventually wind up in Italy. All of our tickets are purchased along with excursion trains.
Good posts regarding keeping valuables safe and being wary of pickpockets. While on a tour of Paris, some members of our group were surrounded by a group of young girls. Thanks to situational awareness, they yelled "no" and pushed their way past - the girls got off at the next metro stop. I saw a guy get on the train carrying an empty duffel bag - big red flag! - he saw me eyeing him, and he got off at the next stop.
Rick Steves' TV show and website have lots of tips on European train travel and being safe in general. There's also an online company called Clothing Arts that sells pickpocket-resistant clothing - I have a pair of their pants, and they would be difficult to pick.
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