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Travel News Newly extended ticket booking periods in Italy and France
A Frecciarossa 1000 train awaits departure from Napoli Centrale

Newly extended ticket booking periods in Italy and France

Book tickets up to 6 months ahead for Frecce trains in Italy and on the TGV InOui and Intercités trains in France

| Last Updated: about 1 year ago

Users of ShowMeTheJourney's Travel Planning Service have often been confused and frustrated by the differences in how far ahead of the travel date that tickets can be booked for European rail journeys.

Hotel prices have been generally on the rise across the Europe, making it more important than ever before to book all aspects of a trip early, in order to obtain a good rate,
Therefore it's logical to assume that many travellers would prefer to have the train travel aspects purchased, and therefore confirmed, prior to hunting down an optimum accommodation price.

So it's very good news that tickets for journeys by the high-speed Frecce trains in Italy, can now be booked from 6 months ahead - the previous time limit had been around 4 months ahead.
Hence a welcome update to the guide on how to book tickets for Italian rail journeys.
Though note that the booking periods haven't been extended for Italian Intercity trains and Intercity Notte trains, these can still only be booked up to 4 months in advance.

In perhaps a co-ordinated move, now that Trenitalia provides trains on the Paris <> Lyon route, the French national rail operator has made tickets available for French rail journeys up until November 8th - which at the time of writing is close to 6 months ahead.
Tickets for journeys for by the low-cost Ouigo trains are currently available even earlier.

These newly extended booking periods also apply to many international journeys.
Tickets for the TGV (and ICE) trains between France and Germany, Italy and Spain are now also available for travel up until November 8th; and tickets for journeys by the EC trains between Italy and Switzerland are now also available 6 months in advance.

A positive, in terms of easing confusion around European rail travel is that these newly extended booking periods in France and Italy now match those in Austria and Germany.

However, keep in mind, that the most common method of saving money when booking tickets for travel by the French express trains and the Italian high-speed trains, is to book ahead for the limited numbers of tickets placed on sale at the cheapest prices.
So because these tickets at cheaper prices will now be placed on sale two months sooner than previously, logically they will be less likely to still be available, when booking 3 to 4 months ahead of a journey.

Reservation periods extended for rail pass users

In line with these newly extended ticket booking periods, the mandatory reservations for rail pass users on Frecce and TGV trains can now be booked sooner than previously.
This shouldn't make a difference to how likely it will be, to be able to book reservations for specific departures, when using Eurail and InterRail passes on journeys within Italy and within France.
The tickets and therefore seats on the trains shouldn't sell out faster, as the intention is to enable some ticket purchasers to book sooner than previously.
Though rail passes users will now also be able to book reservations, and confirm that they have a seat, up to two months earlier than previously.

Though one service on which Eurail and InterRail users, may experience the impact of this change to the booking periods, is when using rail passes in the anticipation of taking a TGV train between France and Barcelona, or Figueres and Girona.
Limited numbers of seats are available to rail pass users on these trains, regardless of how many tickets have been sold per departure.
So as they're available up to two months earlier than previously, Eurail and InterRail are now flagging the importance of booking the reservations for these trains as soon as possible!


Simon Harper

I wanted to share my passion for train travel and explain how anyone can take the fantastic journeys I have taken.


This is one of more than 100 train travel guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.


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