True Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

This may seem a tad premature, as in these early days few questions are being directed at ShowMeTheJourney particularly frequently yet.

Click on a question to jump to its answer, or take 10 mins to read through all the info and become an expert traveller!

QUESTIONS ABOUT SHOWMETHEJOURNEY.COM


Why haven’t you included any journeys in....?

Can you tell me how to go from___ to___ because I can't find this journey on the website?

Can I tell you where I want to go, so that you can add it to the content?

Why do you offer multiple options for some journeys and not for others?

Where did you get your information from?

Why should I trust you?

What’s so special/different about ShowMeTheJourney?

Couldn’t you make it even easier to use – there’s a lot of text to read through sometimes?

What if I don’t want to take the train?


Do you sell tickets?

QUESTIONS ABOUT TRAIN TRAVEL:


I’ve missed my train/it’s been cancelled/my ticket isn’t valid/I’m being asked to pay more/I’m stuck at this station – can you help?

I’m not sure how to buy the right ticket for my needs?

Should I buy a rail pass or a ticket?

Why can't I find tickets for the journey you have suggested?

Why can't I find the train you have suggested at the station?


One of the many future plans is to add questions that have been asked by users to this list above.

Lots of other things are also on the To Do list such as adding more countries, journeys and stations - so the answer to

(1) Why haven’t you included any journeys in Spain, Croatia, Ireland, Russia, Greece, Portugal, Finland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Japan, China, Canada, USA, India, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Morocco, South Africa, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea etc?...

is they will be added as soon as possible - and hopefully the
 order in which they will be added will be up to you.

So look out for future opportunities to decide which countries and destinations should be added to ShowMeTheJourney as future
priorities.

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(2) Can you tell me how to go from___ to___ because I can't find this journey on the website?

This may seem incredibly cheeky, but just for the moment, the answer is no.
 

There’s a couple of reasons for this, but just at the moment we'd never be able to add the journeys that are likely to prove to be useful to more people - if we have to dedicate too much time to answering personal requests about individual journeys.

One of the big plans for ShowMeTheJourney is to introduce a dedicated personalised travel planning service, to provide bespoke help with multiple types of travel planning requests, including help with the shaping of multi-trip itineraries.

The intention is to enable journey planning requests to be submitted - and to generally go the extra mile, beyond you sending an email that will receive a
reply.

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(3) OK, but can I tell you where I want to go, so that you can add it to the content and I can receive an answer that way?

Yes! We want you to tell us which journeys need to be added to ShowMeTheJourney, the more people that request the same or similar journey, the quicker it will be added.

Contact our founder simon@showmethejourney.com.

Or if there’s a journey we haven’t included and that you have checked out, then send the details and we'll add it ASAP – we’ll also credit it to you and link back to your site, blog etc.

We’d love to be able to add journeys that we have yet to take!

Despite travelling to 142 cities across Europe by train, there are inevitably many fabulous routes we still haven't travelled and destinations we haven’t yet been
to.

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(4) Why do you offer multiple options for some journeys and not for others?

When travelling between two cities by train, there can be only one viable option, when:

(i) the direct trains are no more expensive and much more frequent than alternatives that involve a change of train,

(ii) the alternative journeys can’t be completed in a single day,

(iii) overnight trains aren’t available,

(iv) a particular routing, which involves a change of trains is by far the optimum routing in terms of price, travel time and ease of
connections.
 

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(5) Where did you get your information from?

We almost exclusively used official sources of information, the websites of train operators, station management companies, ticket booking services etc.

Some of which were buried deeper than anticipated and on occasion we had to resort to Google Translate, but hopefully nothing has got in translation.


We’ll admit that we avoided secondary sources of information, which is a bit of a cheek as that’s what exactly what ShowMeTheJourney is of course.

There are some fabulous other online resources and we have now produced a link directory to help you find them too.

If there’s a particular service that you have found useful, or if you have something you have produced to share, let us know.

In order to confirm most of the information our founder travelled more than 30,000 kilometres around Europe by train in the past 18 months, checking out more than 200 stations and using the rail based services in 17 countries.


He owes a huge thanks to
InterRail (though he paid his own way).

We had also previously taken a couple of multi-country rail trips, which inspired what you’re using now.

We also avoided wholly relying on data and algorithms etc, computer programs tend to struggle with the complexities of international European train travel.

Having said that the next major project is to incorporate more of these, particularly for ticket price information – if you have a data feed we’ll be in touch
soon!

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(6) So why should I trust you?

What we’ve tried to do is provide an overview, summaries of journeys, to give an idea of what’s involved if you’re considering a journey.

Inevitably the train operating companies have the precise information for journey times, departure times, ticket prices etc, so what we’ve striven to do is point people in the right direction for sourcing this information.

But before we embarked on the research, we reckoned that much of the information we discovered would have a fairly long shelf life.

Stations and trains aren’t constantly changing, and fortunately (for us) the European train timetables only have one major annual refresh in mid-December.

Many specific departure and arrival times change, but there are few radical changes to entire train services between two locations – and when there are we’ll be rushing to make updates.

And if you spot an error, please, please let us know! - and we'll take this opportunity to apologise for all of the grammatical errors!

Contact our founder simon@showmethejourney.com.


Also keep an eye on the social media channels as they will keep you informed of the content that’s being updated.

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(7) What’s so special/different about ShowMeTheJourney?

Five things inspired the service:

(i) Our founder's passions - for train travel, design, architecture, maps, railway history, engineering and research.

Research which showed that millions of people share his interest in the romance of train travel –but they’re more reluctant than he is to take the train, so we wanted to show them how.

(ii) There’s an often justified reluctance to take to the rails, due to an often correct perception that train travel can be more complicated than it needs to be.

What has given momentum to ShowMeTheJourney is the confirmation of the extent to which each country applies its own unique rules to train travel.
Which also encourages us that we're providing something of use!

(iii) Conversely train travel often involves nothing complicated than buying a ticket (without losing out financially) and hopping on board – hence the inclusion of many journeys for which you can’t buy tickets online, or when there’s no advantage in doing so.

(iv) Look up a journey on a search engine and the results will be dominated by the ticket booking services – but if you’ve yet to commit to a specific departure time or date they can be of limited use, as there are often additional factors to consider than the price of a ticket.

Hence the journey info on ShowMeTheJourney including much more than how to buy a ticket - with easy access other details re: the train you will be travelling and the station you will be arriving at/departing from.

But with the romance of train travel front of mind, images have also been included for the scenic journeys, to give you a sense of the experience that awaits you – and soon they’ll be hundreds of videos too!


If staring out a train window holds no interest, there’s also a weight of practical information such as how to save money – and time!


(v) Having said all of that, the BIG idea was coming up with a solution for making all of this information easy to access on smart phones – that’s where our founder's 18 years of working in digital publishing played its
part.

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(8) Couldn’t you make it even easier – there’s a lot of text to read through sometimes?

The service you’re currently using is very much phase one.
If people like what they see, despite getting an aching thumb from the need to scroll down quite so much, then phases 2, 3 and 4 are already front of mind.

But they haven’t been mapped out too precisely because how ShowMeTheJourney functions and looks in the future is largely your call.


Some features – like this Q and A page are pretty basic because the launch budget only stretched so far, while pages have a lot (perhaps too much) text, but for two reasons;

(i) Trying to simplify the complicated isn’t that simple – the more quirks that a journey or ticket purchase has (and some have a ridiculous amount), the greater the amount of explanation required.

(ii) We've tackled the big stuff first, the largest and most complicated to use stations, the train travel guides to entire countries, plus the many complexities involved in how to buy a train ticket for the cheapest possible price.

So please tell us how you want to access the information, and what’s missing and what you don’t need.

The debates have gone back and forth over using ‘more’ buttons for the text etc, so the solution was ‘let’s let the user’s
decide'.

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(9) What if I don’t want to take the train?

Without hopefully giving too much away, the plan is to take the same bespoke approach as the train travel information to bus and plane travel - but only when the bus or plane is a particularly good option in comparison to taking a train.

All the work behind the scenes to enable this is good to go – so if you follow ShowMeTheJourney.com on Facebook you’ll discover when we start adding it.
 

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(10) Do you sell tickets?

No and in fact ShowMeTheJourney makes no revenue at all from tickets sales.

The fact that we're able to provide truly independent advice re: how to buy tickets is something worth hanging on to.
Though if the price is right we might be yet willing to sell our souls (ahem).

On a more serious note this an important distinction, because if you follow a link on ShowMeTheJourney we don’t take any responsibility for any terms and conditions of the ticket you ultimately purchase.

Show Me The Journey hasn't sold you the ticket, so any subsequent issues you have with using the ticket need to be taken up with which ever service you used to book it.

And something we're not going to bury deep in the
legal small print and be open and honest about is that ShowMeTheJourney also doesn’t accept any liability in the circumstance of non-suitable ticket being purchased, as a consequence of incorrect information on ShowMeTheJourney.

The information is provided in good faith, but near the top of the most important advice we can give, is to always check and check again the specific terms and conditions of each ticket/journey, on any ticket booking service that ShowMeTheJourney links to.


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QUESTIONS ABOUT TRAIN TRAVEL:
 

(1) I’ve missed my train/it’s been cancelled/my ticket isn’t valid/I’m being asked to pay more/I’m stuck at this station – can you help?


It would be great if we could, but usually we won’t be able to be of much use in these circumstances.
If we're experts in anything then it’s what’s supposed to happen when you take a journey, but we probably won’t know why the actuality has turned out to be different.

The three better sources of information in these circumstances will be; the train operator, including its website and/or social media channels, the station staff (particularly if the information desk if it’s still open) and your fellow passengers.

What’s becoming an increasingly good idea is entering your mobile/cell number when making a ticket booking, even when you don’t have to.
Many train operators send texts/SMS when there has been a change to your booked journey.

 

Be aware of any other information that can alert you to a change to a schedule or some other problem – look out for scrolling or flashing text on station indicator, it can often indicate something out of the ordinary.
Ask around to see if a fellow traveller can translate it for you.

Also listen out for announcements even when they’re only being made in the domestic language.


More often than not, announcements are only made at many large European train stations, when there has been an alteration to a service.
If you think it may be to do with the train you’re taking, then ask around for a
translation.

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(2) I’m not sure how to buy the right ticket for my needs?

We’ve striven to give clear information about this, but admit that much of the ShowMeTheJourney is concerned with how to buy the cheapest possible ticket.

However, the cheaper a ticket, the more loaded it is with restrictions for its use and exchange.


So if you’re still confused by the ticketing advice, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification, it will also help improve the information on the website.

Though if the information you need is present and correct on ShowMeTheJourney, please don’t be surprised to receive a reply that solely consists of a link back to the website.

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(3) Should I buy a rail pass or a ticket?
Should I Buy A Rail Pass

This is something that the future bespoke travel planning service, will be able to provide an accurate answer for.

But until then an option is to look up the journeys on the ticket agents and compare the prices, but be wary of making the total price the only factor when choosing between tickets and passes.

You’ll be much more likely to make savings compared to the price of a pass, if you’re booking early enough to secure the most heavily discounted tickets, but such tickets are always departure/train specific.

The pressure of then having to being on time to make multiple journeys, can put a dent in enjoying your travel experience.

But the big benefit of a pass is the opportunities for spontaneity.

It won’t be a huge shock to discover that we are meticulous travel planners, but every time our founder embarked on a rail pass itinerary, he swapped at least 25% of the journeys for alternative destinations – to avoid bad weather
etc.

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(4) I’ve followed your advice about taking a journey, but I can’t find it for sale online?

An admitted current Achille’s heel of ShowMeTheJourney is that the journey guides can only apply to the normal service (for the moment) – the trains that should be departing.

But train services can be subject to alteration, particularly when works are being carried out on the lines.

However, in these instances, services are usually re-timed (usually departing earlier), rather than being removed completely from the timetable.

But while that new timing is being confirmed, certain departures can be temporarily off
sale.

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(5) I’ve followed your advice about taking a journey, but I can’t find the train at the station?

We probably won’t know why the departure details of your train has been altered, of what the new arrangements are.

In this situation time may not be on your side, so ask at the information desk.

But before heading to a station it can be worth confirming the details of your departure, particularly which station the train will be leaving from - if the city has more than one.


Also check your ticket carefully – the specific station your train will be leaving from will be printed on it.

Look up the departure online, the evening before, as though you were about to buy a ticket, or if you’re following an itinerary – check where and when you will be catching your next train before leaving the station you have just arrived at.

What’s becoming an increasingly good idea is entering your mobile/cell number when making a ticket booking, even when you don’t have to.

Many train operators send texts/SMS when there has been a change to your booked journey.

If you haven’t taken any of these steps, and will be taking an infrequent train, then aim to be at the station least 45 minutes before the typical departure time.

If a departure time has been altered, it’s much more likely that the train will be leaving earlier than normal, rather than later


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