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Affordable Luxury

Generally student travel is considered economy or budget travel. Usually a student will travel at a rate they can afford. On most trains students will find first and second-class seating. Rail travel through Europe is a rewarding experience in both classes of service and students agree it is an affordable luxury.

Keep in mind, student travelers have options, with youth passes available as well as real-time point to point ticket prices, students find the product(s) not only for their itinerary but wallets as well.

Here's a quick lesson on the differences between the two classes.

Second Class -- preferred by student travelers
Students can expect to find a warm, welcoming and relaxed atmosphere as they take their seats. Usually the seat configuration for second class is two seats, the aisle and two or three more seats. There is reasonable legroom and your backpack or luggage can be stored in the overhead racks or designated luggage spots in the front or back of the train car you're in.

Though a simple way to travel, your comfort is not compromised. The seats are cushioned and no worries, you won't be traveling with cows or chickens or anything like that!

First Class
First class is a bit of a different world for student travelers. The differences are not as extreme as traveling economy on a plane to business class, however there are some noticeable contrasts to student travelers.

The atmosphere is a bit more sophisticated as many business travelers choose to ride in first class. The seats are a little larger and more cushioned than those in second class and students will discover there is more legroom between the seats. The seating configuration is two seats, the aisle, and one more seat. There are usually less seats per first class car, which allows for more legroom.

Depending on what type of train you are on, meals are sometimes included in your fare, as are welcome drinks and refreshments. Not all trains have a meal service, many local trains have a bar or restaurant car where travelers can get snacks or a meal (students traveling in second class can visit the bar or restaurant cars too for a snack or meal).

Overnight trains
For overnight services, the difference between second and first class are very apparent.

Many student travelers will take overnight trains and choose a reclining seat or couchette. This is by far the most economical way to travel as a student. Not only do you save on the train fare but you save money that you may have otherwise used for a hotel or hostel.

If you are traveling in first class you can request a single or double private sleeper with locking door. While certainly a nice way to go, it is costs a bit more. Some of the highest quality overnight trains in Europe will cost upwards of $300 for a first class private sleeper.

Rail Europe Group