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Trip Planning Service The Rail Travel Planning Service
The view from the rear window as the train heads through the valley north of Trento

The Rail Travel Planning Service

Remove the complications of planning a train journey in Europe. If you're confused about an aspect of your future European rail travel plans, then ShowMeTheJourney will do its best to make your journeys easier.


How I can help

Need to be sure that you're travelling with the correct tickets or rail passes, at the cheapest possible price, on the most scenic, or the fastest routes?
Whether you want to take a fabulous or necessary railway journey in Europe, or want to explore multiple wonderful destinations by train as simply possible, ShowMeTheJourney can help:

  • Questions can be answered
  • Journeys and entire itineraries can be planned
  • Routes can be recommended
  • The cost of using using rail tickets can be compared with using rail passes
  • Guidance can be given when booking tickets
    Plus so much more that can't be found out by looking up other sources of rail travel info,

Simply send an email to to start a conversation.
The aim is to respond to all enquiries within 48hrs and you may receive an answer over a weekend - but occasionally messages received after 4pm UK time on a Friday, won't receive a reply until the following Monday.

There's a multitude of scenarios in which I can use experiences of travelling to more than 200 destinations across Europe by train, to help you have the optimum trip.
So you will receive bespoke advice on how to take the correct trains on the best routes at the optimum price.

Good to know before we start:

In most instances SMTJ won't be able to check and verify the requested info until train departure times have been confirmed and tickets have been released for sale.

The usual ticket booking windows are:

  • Poland = 1 month ahead
  • Czechia/The Czech Republic and Denmark and Hungary = up to 2 months ahead
  • Norway = 12 - 13 weeks ahead
  • Great Britain = up to 3 months ahead
  • Spain = 3 - 6 months ahead (depends on route)
  • France = 3 - 6 months ahead (depends on time of year)
  • Italy = up to 6 months ahead (the express trains)
  • Austria and Germany, Sweden and Switzerland = up to 6 months ahead
  • Eurostar = up to 330 days ahead

What's good to know about the European rail timetables is that they have two primary updates per year, which take affect annually on the second Sunday in December and the second Sunday in June.
The December change is the major update which pretty much sets out what routes, services and journey options will be available over the following year.
The June update has declined in importance as few operators now operate additional 'summer' services between April and October, but it can hold up the release of tickets sales in Italy/

Why you need to know this is because tickets can't be placed on sale until the new schedules are confirmed, so in September and October the booking windows can be shorter than usual.
It often isn't possible to look up or book journeys for travel after the second Sunday in December, until late October or mid November.

Travel Planning

The bespoke rail planner service can help with every aspect of your journey:

  • Knowing whether the trip you have in mind is even possible.
  • The ideal trains to take between your wish-list locations.
  • Comparisons between taking a day train and an overnight train.
  • How to take direct trains, or make the optimum connections.
  • Insights into reservations; are they needed or recommended.
  • Suggestions of destinations that you can reach by train, which meet your travel criteria.
  • The most scenic routes and how best to experience them.
  • Recommending ticket agents.
  • Whether buying a combination of railcards and tickets will be cheaper.
  • Comparing whether a rail pass or tickets will be a money saver.

Here's how we can make that happen:

Send your questions on an email to
If you want to take a longer multi-destination trip include info such as;

  • travel dates,
  • preferred travel times,
  • preferences for day or night trains,
  • if you'd consider 1st class,
  • the addresses of the start and end points of journey,
  • whether you will only consider taking direct trains,
  • if you'd rather take a scenic route.

Once we have the info we'll assess how to best to help you, which could be writing up an itinerary, having a consultation on Zoom / Teams, or an email conversation.
The rate charged will be £50 per hour (the equivalent in your local currency) and the price covers the time to research, discuss, write up the plan and answer further questions.
The estimated time required will be communicated prior to commencement and checks can be provided on request. for the time taken to date.

If researching the cheapest price for an itinerary is a requested service, the savings from the recommended tickets or passes often exceed the charge for the bespoke advice.

Seeking Information

ShowMeTheJourney is happy to answer questions around European rail travel for journeys in these 15 countries
Send your questions on an email to

If what you want to know can be looked up in less than 15 minutes, there will be no charge.
If you are happy with the answer you receive to a straightforward question, you can show your appreciation by leaving a tip.

If more than 15 mins is required, the rate charged will be the equivalent of £50 per hour (the equivalent in your local currency).
The estimated time required will be communicated prior to commencement and checks can be provided on request. for the time taken to date.
When the time required will be 30 minutes or more, I will be happy to arrange a conversation on Zoom or Teams.

Examples of the questions asked in the past 3 months, which have been successfully answered:

  • Which is the best way to reach Chur from Milano Malpensa airport ?
  • Would like to know best train schedule to travel from either Rotterdam or Amsterdam to either Basel or Zurich?
  • Is it possible to land in London/ Heathrow early in the morning and get to Caen train station on the same day in order to rent a car at Caen?
  • Should we buy some kind of Swiss Rail discounted pass to use for these trips and while we are traveling around in the cities?
  • I have booked our one-way tickets from Paris to Strasbourg, but now we need to figure out where to go on to? I want to travel by train (no bus/plane) because I will have my small dog with me.
  • Can you advise or recommend a way in which we could plan and undertake such a journey using only TER services from a Channel port to our destination?
  • Could you help with the train arrangements? We are in our late seventies, and I would like to avoid rushing or stress.
  • Leaving Lyon on June 18th and returning to Marseille on the 23rd. Can you help us? We are 2 seniors.
  • I'm trying to book seat reservations from Zurich to Milano Centrale for 2 adults with interrail passes. I can find full tickets (train and seat) for the journey but not any seat reservations only.
  • I want to go from Milan to Rome and avoid travelling through the long railway tunnels.

And two questions commonly asked are:

  1. How do I get from train A to train B when I'm making a connection?
  2. Which platform / track will my train be leaving from?
    And it's tricky to answer these two questions precisely, as the confirmation of which platform / track a particular train will use, often occurs less than an hour prior to departure

Also as ShowMeTheJourney is not a rail operator, I can't usually provide assistance in the event of a train delay or cancellation.

Booking Tickets

ShowMeTheJourney isn't a booking or travel agent, so you can use the recommendations on how to book the ticket, but you will have to place your orders on the online ticketing services.
Though we aim to give you as much assistance with that as you require.
Send your questions on an email to
Zoom or Teams calls can be arranged on which step-by-step guidance can be given in real time.

Also happy to compare the costs of rail tickets vs travelling with rail passes, or to work out the cheapest or easiest type of ticket per route.
Bespoke advice is also available for group and family travel.

If what you want to know can be looked up in less than 15 minutes, there will be no charge,
If you are happy with the answer you receive to a straightforward question, you can show your appreciation by leaving a tip.

If more than 15 mins is required, the rate charged will be the equivalent of £50 per hour (the equivalent in your local currency).
The estimated time required will be communicated prior to commencement and checks can be provided on request. for the time taken to date.

Genuine user testimoials

'Our destinations of interest are Croatia, Zurich, Budapest, Prague, Toulouse, Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin and we have a preference for night trains where available* - Thank you so much for your knowledgeable response. This really is like finding an oasis of information within a desert of confusion!

I am hoping you can help me select the right train tickets for my and my husband's upcoming trip to Europe - Your regular emails have been very reassuring. I am looking forward to the trip very much and I love that I'm not catching a plane, except to get to Europe and then home.

I have some very rough ideas of a plan for my wife and I to travel by train from London to Norway early next year. - I've now got all the bookings (for trains, hotels and ferry) sorted

Rome , Pisa , Milan and Zurich. Can this all be done by train? - Thank you so much - this helps tremendously.

In August 2023 we will be travelling Europe after we disembark from a river cruise in Basel we want to head south by train - I am so pleased with your advice.

I've done a lot of planning for our trip to Switzerland but I've been struggling to figure out how to best do a day trip from Lucerne for our large family group - You're incredible. I really appreciate this service.

I have been trying to plan a train journey from Shropshire to Landeck , Austria - Thank you so much for the information! Your help is invaluable! I think we will go London - Amsterdam - innsbruck - Landeck then Landeck - koln - Bruxelles - London on the way back.

I am interested in booking a one way private sleeper car for 3 from Munich to Budapest. How do I do this? - Thanks a ton.

This is my first trip on my own in a long time. - Thank you very much for this. I really appreciate it.

I’m from Australia and would like some rail travel advice on my European trip this March/April. - Wow amazing!! Thank you so much for all your help and insights!! Having these options are so exciting. I appreciate it a lot!!!

I was hoping to be able to board the train from Naples to Taormina and not from Rome. Is this possible? - Many thanks you have been a great help.

My husband and I will be heading to Europe for the first time for our honeymoon. I am very unsure of the best ways to travel whether it be by paying via journey or pass - This is all so very helpful, thank you so much!

I'm traveling to Great Britain next year, and I would like to travel about 10 days by train, which are the best train routes and in which cities would be nice to stay as a focal point and travel day trips to see the others? - I'm so touched by your e-mail. So many tips.

Terms and Conditions

Sorry, but we all need some rules to abide by, and by the act of contacting ShowMeTheJourney and asking for a travel plan or consultancy, you will be accepting the following:

1: Contact details supplied will be solely used for communication purposes in connection to the specific requested travel plan and will not be archived, used for any other marketing purposes or be made available to third parties.

  1. Once a travel plan has been agreed, paid for and supplied it can only be amended by the purchaser of the plan by the payment for a revised plan, with any changes on a travel day charged at the rate for producing a plan.
    Any travel day which does not require amendment will not be-recharged.

  2. Payment for the entire plan or any specific, particular travel day will not be refunded in the event of an intention to travel being cancelled by the purchaser of the plan.

  3. The links to the third party companies who retail train tickets are supplied in good faith, but does not accept responsibility for an increase in ticket price in the interval in time between the link being provided to a customer and the commencement of the booking process.

  4. will strive to ensure that the ticket booking links it supplies will provide the clients of its concierge service with the optimum ticket to undertake a requested journey, but it does not absolutely guarantee that the recommended ticket agent will be offering the cheapest possible price for a requested journey

  5. ShowMeTheJourney recommends that all customers of the Concierge Service, who receive booking links, check the journey details that are being recommended, including travel dates and departure times, and confirm the ticket agents terms and conditions before proceeding with making a booking, as does not accept any liability for a ticket purchase not meeting the requirements of a client of the Concierge Service.

  6. If a booking is made by the client of the Concierge Service based on the recommendation of, the fulfilment of that booking and the subsequent use of a ticket or rail pass, will be solely bound by the terms and conditions of the retailer of the ticket or rail pass. Therefore will have no obligation on how a ticket is dispatched, received or used in transit.

  7. will not accept any responsibility or liability for the contract between a ticket retailer and train service operator.

9: The journey details provided by including both departure and arrival stations, departure and arrival times and the type of train used for a journey and the specific route a train will follow are supplied in good faith. is not liable for any subsequent changes to train schedules and journey details, between the date of the Travel Plan being supplied to a client, and the travel dates on which the suggested journeys will be undertaken.
Though will endeavour to update provided travel plans, in the event of it being made aware of subsequent changes to schedules.

10: does not accept any liability should a delay to a train service, or a schedule change, result in a train ticket or reservation booked as consequence of's recommendation, being invalid or requiring an exchange.
Should a train delay or train delay or schedule change require a ticket to be re-booked or exchanged, the circumstances will be bound by the ticket agent's terms and conditions and its contract with a train service provider.
The ticket holder agrees that in those circumstances that they should make contact with the ticket agent and/or train service provider and not with


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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