Why I Love Eurail.com

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Lily Leung, with 2 Eurail team members, Janice and Chantal.

Are you considering travelling by rail through Europe?
Here’s why you should get an Europe rail pass from Eurail.com.

I had the privilege of joining Eurail.com, the premier online seller of Europe rail passes, last week in Venice for seven days of free gondola rides and a lively Friday night kick-off party with 500+ travellers.

This event was to celebrate their customers and the Mashable Award they won earlier this year for Social Media Customer Service (more on that later). Before we get to the juicy photos of the party and gondola rides, here are 5 reasons why I think they’re awesome, deserving of this award, and why you should buy a Europe rail pass from Eurail.com.

  1. Trip planning resources
    Eurail.com has a thorough collection of resources for planning your Europe rail travels. When you’re just pondering your trip, they have articles on popular routes, scenic routes and tools to help you find the best Eurail pass. When you’re closer to departing, they have details on when/how to make seat reservations and even packing checklists.

    I also found their country overviews to be especially helpful when I was planning my visit to off-the-beaten path countries in eastern Europe like Bulgaria and Romania.

  2. Fast, authentic online responses
    What impresses me the most about Eurail.com is how quick they answer customer questions online. After travelling for 8 months on my current round-the-world trip, I can tell you it’s much easier to ask a question online and check later for a reply than it is to call and be put on hold.

    Eurail.com has a commitment to answer all inquiries within 8 hours on Twitter at twitter.com/eurail, Facebook at facebook.com/eurorail and email at sales@eurail.com. They even have real-time chat help from 9am to 1pm EST on their website. If you have a question, you’ll get an answer, and you won’t have to sit by the phone waiting for it.

  3. Genuine trip inspiration

    Eurail.com has ample Europe trip planning resources, but they also understand there’s more to travel than just logistics. To ensure you have plenty of trip inspiration, they team up with real-life travellers like,

    • Sofia & Nathan, who just finished a 90 day trip to 30 European countries and filmed awesome videos highlighting the best of each city,
    • The 6 fearless travellers behind Ultimate Train Challenge, a 30 day train journey from Portugal to Vietnam starting September 1, which may set a new world record for rail travel
    • My friend Holger Mette, a lawyer turned pro travel photographer who’s been travelling since 2007 and keeps a daily photo blog of where he is in the world.

    Between Eurail.com and these bloggers, you should have no shortage of Europe ideas.

  4. Post-purchase service

    When you’re ready to buy a pass, Eurail.com provides free economy shipping to USA, Australia, Canada and more (see the countries eligible for free shipping.) If you’re already travelling in Europe, they can even ship it to your hotel.

    But their service doesn’t stop once you make your order. Every Eurail pass is accompanied by a Eurail travel package containing a Eurail travel guide, rail map and timetable of rail routes between major cities.

    If your travel plans change, you even have the flexibility exchange, upgrade or refund your unused Eurail pass. If you have questions about your pass while you’re travelling, you can continue asking follow-up questions on email, Twitter and Facebook.

  5. Knowledgeable, friendly, helpful

    One thing I noticed about the Eurail.com team, both online and when I met them in person, was that they’re genuinely enthusiastic about Europe rail travel. They really do care about your experience. Their professionalism shines through in their responses to the hundreds of traveller questions they get every week. Just scroll through the customer questions on their Facebook page and you’ll see what I mean.

    Eurail team in Venice

    The awesome Eurail.com team in Venice, celebrating their Social Media Customer Service Award.

With such a professional and responsive online presence, it’s no wonder Eurail.com won the Mashable Award for Social Media Customer Service.

The Mashable Awards are like the Oscars for technology and online innovation (see the full list of Mashable Award winners). Eurail.com even beat out companies like Hewlett Packard to win the Social Media Customer Service Award.

I had the honour of joining Eurail.com in Venice as they celebrated their award and thanked their customers with a week of free gondola rides and a Friday night kick-off party.

Here’s how the celebration went. Hopefully you can join them next year for more customer celebrations ;)

Eurail.com party and free gondola rides

While some companies offer free pens and paper pads to thank their customers, Eurail.com hit the mark by giving customers a really special experience by throwing a huge party and offering gondola rides in charming Venice all week long.

  • Friday night party

    Over 500 travellers showed up to enjoy live music, splash in the pool and even dance in foam. Travellers got welcome drinks, 10% off drinks all night, plus they arranged the transportation to and from the centre of Venice. Eurail.com travellers also got 10% off their stay at the PLUS Hostel in Venice.

    Eurail party, PLUS Hotel Venice, foam and pool party

    Eurail.com party, PLUS Hotel Venice, foam and pool party

    Eurail party, PLUS Hotel Venice, foam party

    Eurail.com party, PLUS Hotel Venice, drinks, DJ music, foam party

    Drinks, foam and pool party not your thing?

    Eurail.com wanted to make sure there was something for every customer, which is where the Venice gondola rides came in.

  • Week of free gondola rides

    Gondola rides are listed as a to-do in every travel guide for Venice, so it was no surprise there was a great turn-out of travellers from all over the world, from solo travellers, friends, to couples and families.

    Eurail.com’s gondola event was so successful that they were overwhelmed by number of customers who showed up on the first day. Being the awesome people they are, instead of turning away customers, they flew in another gondolier to make sure everyone could experience a gondola ride. Over the week of July 15-21, they gave over 2,000 free gondola rides to customers (yes, 2,000!)

    My gondola ride was one of my highlights in Venice. I saw parts of the main canal and little alleys that I couldn’t have explored on foot, and was a great opportunity to take photos of the gondoliers and buildings from the perspective of being right in the canals.

    Holger Mette, other travellers and I on our free Eurail Venice gondola ride

    Holger, other travellers and I on our free Eurail.com Venice gondola ride.

    Eurail - Venice gondola ride, Grand Canal

    Gondolas we passed by in the Venice Grand Canal.

    Eurail - Venice gondola ride travellers

    2 happy travellers on my Eurail.com gondola ride.

    Another gondola of Eurail travellers

    Another gondola of happy Eurail.com travellers.

It was a joy meeting the Eurail.com team in Venice. They were fun, approachable, savvy – everything I expected them to be from how they represent themselves online on Twitter, Facebook and email. It was obvious they loved interacting with the customers and even Eurail.com’s Managing Director, Paulien Pierik, found time to join travellers for a gondola ride.

My friends, this is what great customer experience looks like.

If you’re considering a Europe rail pass, I definitely recommend ordering it from Eurail.com.

Want to rail through Europe and take part in next year’s customer celebrations?

Make sure you follow Eurail.com on Facebook and Twitter for
- Breaking news – new countries added to the passes or train strikes
- Last-minute discounts – like a 5% discount on the day they reached 20,000 Facebook fans
- Regular “Thursday Treats” – discounts for Facebook fans
- Promotions and contests – like blogger openings for a German rail pass writer

For more photos of the party, gondola rides and my visit to Venice, see my Facebook album facebook.com/lil.leung.

This post was sponsored by Eurail.com. All opinions are my own, but that’s there not to like about Europe rail travel, great customer service, and free parties/gondola rides? :)

>> Have you ever wanted to travel with a rail pass in Europe?
>> What kind of free give-away should Eurail.com host next year? Chocolate tasting in Belgium? Free trips up the Eiffel Tower?
Leave your ideas below!

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  • facebook fans

    Rock ON !!

  • Momoftraveller

    Eurail passes are a waste of money!  My son just had to pay $100 reservation fee for a seat on the train from Paris to Lausanne.  The entire ticket only cost $114.  The Eurail.com website we bought it from said the reservation fee would be 9 Euro.  Don’t waste your money on a pass if you are traveling in Western Europe!

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  • Coco

    I think this idea of exploring and travelling for a year is awesome! Good luck and safe trip for the next months, Lily ;)

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      I think travelling for a year is great too (actually, even a trip for a weekend or a week is fantastic too!) Thanks for your good wishes and for stopping by!
      - Lily

  • http://www.hecktictravels.com Peter Heck

    Great post, we’ll be jumping on board within the next couple months

  • Cubbies

    What is the best company to go through for a night train from Salzburg to Paris on 9/20/11? I am having hard time finding good price, and one that tells me exact details for time of ‘stops’, so I know if the stops are after midnight to avoid using an extra travel day. I am looking for either couchette or double occupancy bed for the ride. Thanks for any help anybody has!

  • http://vagabond3.com Jade

    #2 is really the best! I love Eurail!

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      I completely agree with you Jade. Now that we’re in the era of email, social media and online chat help, anything short of a 24-hour reply time frame just doesn’t cut it. Especially when you’re travelling already, time is of the essence.

      Thanks for reading :)

      - Lily

  • http://www.crazysexyfuntraveler.com Crazy sexy fun traveler

    I like to travel by train in Europe, too :) Each time I come home/travel somewhere, have to spend minimum 10 hours by train anyway, so kind of have to like it :D

  • http://stophavingaboringlife.com Rob Bloggeries

    Eurail is awesome sauce! Loved my time with them.

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Haha, yes, Europe by rail and Eurail.com is “awesome sauce” :) I can’t tell you how much I’m loving my train trip through Europe this summer.

      - Lily

  • http://twitter.com/grachececilio Graciel Cecilio

    Lily, I did not realize that Eurail.com hosts organized events. Plus, pretty cool that they engage an active community.

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Graciel,

      It’s very cool that they interact with customers in person, isn’t it? This gondola and party was actually their first event and more travellers ended up attending than they expected, which was great! Hopefully they will have another event next year ;)

      - Lily

  • Peng Leong1

    Great article,amazing photos &good information!

     

  • Peng Leong1

    Great article,amazing photos &good information!

     

  • http://turkishtravelblog.com Natalie

    I want a job with them. Parties and Gondola Rides. Fab XXX

  • http://twitter.com/fotoeins Henry Lee

    Great article, Lily!  

    I am, however, in “danger” of being recognized by Deutsche Bahn representatives at Frankfurt Airport (Fernbahnhof / long-distance train station). ;-)

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Henry,

      Sounds like you’re a regular, that’s not a bad thing, right? ;) Eurail.com also has a Germany rail pass, if you’re interested.

      - Lily

  • http://www.sophiesworld.net Sophie

    Fab photos and lots of good info :)

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Sophie,

      Glad you enjoyed the article :) If you ever need more information, the Eurail Facebook page is really helpful with Europe rail planning questions.

      - Lily

  • http://twitter.com/corbinfraser Corbin Fraser

    Great PR Piece! Love the attention to detail and the exciting photos. High 5′s!

  • http://twitter.com/Eurail Eurail.Com

    Thanks Lily for this amazing article – it was great meeting you in Venice and we’re glad you enjoyed it together with the rest of the @InterRail:twitter and Eurail travelers! For anyone thinking about train travel in Europe: don’t hessitate to contact us!

    Cheers,
    Chantal
    Eurail.Com
    http://www.eurail.com
    http://www.interrailnet.com
    http://www.germanrailpasses.com

  • http://twitter.com/Technosyncratic Christy & Kali

    Uhm, SOLD.  Gondola rides, parties, awesome customer service and cool people working there?  Sounds amazing!!

  • Anonymous

    Your enthusiasm for the website shines through in your writing. I am sold on Eurail.com.

  • inka

    Great PR piece for a company that deserves praise.

  • http://alotofwind.com Robin

    Eurail are a legend and an institution – people on budgets have been taking amazing trips with them forever. Enough said!

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Robin,

      I completely agree with you. Eurail passes are great value – even Ethan Hawke from Before Sunset was using a Eurail pass to travel through Europe! If it’s good enough for him, it’s definitely good for me too ;)

      - Lily

  • Ray Hovijitra

    Love your all positive write-ups for Eurail and all the great things I’ve heard about it over the years.  Hope to hop on it someday!  As much as I’ve traveled I’ve never ever traveled by train. Some of my travel buds even say I can’t call myself a traveler until I’ve done that.  ;)  I have a weird fear of trains… o_O

  • http://www.manonthelam.com Raymond @ Man On The Lam

    I did Eurail many years ago and it was worth every penny… :)

  • Steve

    This sounds incredible :)  Makes me wish I’d opted for the pass last time I went to Europe, instead of trying to bus my way around the continent. Next time I go back, I’m getting the pass for sure :)  Free gondola rides too? Sign me up! ;)

  • http://twitter.com/nomadicchick Jeannie

    What a great round-up of everything that Eurail does for their customers.  I am so looking forward to working with them on the Utlimate Train Challenge. :)

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Jeannie,

      I’m looking forward to your Train Challenge updates. I can’t believe that’s starting in just over a month. Lisbon to Saigon is such an epic journey. You guys are going to inspire lots of aspiring Europe and Asia travellers.

      - Lily

  • http://www.thetravelchica.com Stephanie – The Travel Chica

    #2 and #4 are key fora  travel company.  Good to know!

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Stephanie,

      I agree with you… particularly #2 for fast online responses, especially now that I’m travelling. It’s much easier to write an email or chat online than to find connection fast enough to support Skype-ing. Yay for Twitter, Facebook and email :)

      - Lily

  • Anonymous

    We used Eurail when we were in Europe a few years  back and I wholeheartedly agree with you on why one should use eurail when in Europe! Great post!

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Idelish,

      Taking trains through Europe has been an adventure in itself. I love watching countrysides, lakes, sunflower fields, mountains and even farms of wind turbines pass by as I just sit there. It’s a very zenful experience.

      - Lily

  • http://twitter.com/eurotravelista Debbie Beardsley

    I will definitely check out eurail.com!  It’s good to find a company that has great customer service.  Oh and the party looked fun too :)

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Debbie,

      Eurail.com definitely has great customer service. They’re really, really responsive online and all-round nice people in person too. It’s comforting to know there’s people who genuinely care answering your questions!

      - Lily

  • http://twitter.com/Ayngelina Ayngelina

    I just bought a one-way ticket to London and am so excited to take the train in Europe. I had no idea they had all of the resources like a packing list, looks like I need to hop over to ttheir site soon.

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Ayngelina,

      “A one-way ticket to London” <– sounds like the beginning of a great European adventure! Safe travels, looking forward to meeting up with you in Europe. And yes, you definitely need to click yourself over to Eurail.com as your prepare for your trip! ;)

      - Lily

  • Glen

    Informative post — Eurail looks like a great way to see Europe!

  • http://www.budgettraveladventures.com/ Jeremy Branham

    Fantastic post!  Great information on Eurail passes.  Thorough and informative (and the gondola rides and party were nice touches on the part of Eurail).  Train travel in Europe is outstanding so anyone who goes should definitely consider a Eurail pass!

  • http://twitter.com/mobilelawyer Michael Hodson

    Wow, this is a comprehensive and great post. Really well done. I am going to have to step up my game to keep up with you!

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Michael,

      It was great to meet you and the Eurail team in Venice. I’m really looking forward to your Ultimate Train Challenge updates. I think it’s great that Eurail.com is sponsoring the Europe portion of that adventure, it’ll give so many aspiring travellers ideas for how to get the most of their train passes in Europe.

      - Lily

  • http://www.nomadicnotes.com/ James Clark

    Oh I really want to ride the rails of Europe after reading this. The Gondola ride is a great idea for a giveaway as well. Maybe Eurail can keep the non rail/watery theme going next year with a canal boat party in Amsterdam?

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi James, 

      Great idea with the canal party in Amsterdam! I haven’t been yet, but I know Amsterdam is a popular stop for people visiting Europe and that the canals are supposed to be beautiful. I’ll make sure I pass your idea on ;)

      - Lily