So is it worth going to ITB Berlin? Yes! It most certainly is!

ITB Berlin – Indonesia – ©2017 Messe Berlin

Sadly, it’s over!

What’s that?

Ah! Come on now. Where have you been the last week? And have you seen my Twitter and Facebook feeds?

The ITB Berlin 2017 is oooooover!

For now!

Waaaah!

Back to the question above though. So is it worth going to ITB Berlin?

SO IS IT WORTH GOING TO ITB BERLIN?

Berlin on top of the world from the 24th floor & the fastest elevator in Europe, at the Panorama Punkt Berlin!

Let’s see!

Before I became the awesome travel blogger that I am today, I used to attend the ITB Berlin as an ordinary member of the public. It was one of the highlights of my year!

I was so shy!

Because the first time that I went to the ITB Berlin, I had never ever met a blogger before in real life. Not ever!

My blog was so new at the time, that I wasn’t even accredited! However, the  ITB Berlin Press Team were so nice and supportive, and gave me a VIP ticket so that I could attend!

And it really turned my life around ‘cos not only did I cover the Berlin Music Video Awards as a validated member of the press just two (2) months later, but it was at this very same ITB Berlin, that I made a contact with a lady from France who then invited me for my first press /FAM trip!

In fact, not only was I the only British person, I was also the only blogger!

It didn’t take long before I was on German TV, acting as a side-kick moderator on a live German evening show, in the German press, and having a documentary made about my life as a British blogger living in this wonderful city of Berlin!

I know!

Drinking a very important cup of tea!
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

If you’re reading about the ITB for the first time, here’s what I previously wrote:

But it doesn’t hurt to reiterate the facts:

WHAT IS THE ITB?

ITB Berlin - The Leading Travel Industry Think Tank!
ITB Berlin – The Leading Travel Industry Think Tank!

The ITB Berlin stands for the Internationale Tourismus-Börse or in English, the international tourism trade fair.

The ITB represents B2B, hotels, tourists boards, tour operators and providers, airlines, transport operators, responsible travel organisers, information technology experts, social media bloggers, and anybody else interested in travel and tourism.

It’s also the world’s leading travel industry think tank, in which the convention trade fair establishes itself as the industry’s main knowledge platform, with top-notch presentations on global trends, travel innovations and path-breaking events for the entire tourism industry!

Phew!

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT THEN?

ITB Berlin – ©2017 Messe Berlin

Well, the ITB Berlin is the foremost business platform for the global tourism business. We’re talking:

  • 5 continents
  • 26 halls
  • 187 Countries
  • 200 trendsetting events
  • 400 speakers
  • 1,000 Qualified Top Buyers
  • 1,092 stands
  • 10,000 Exhibitors
  • 26,000 Convention Visitors and Participants attending lectures, discussions, and workshops
  • 60,000 Private Visitors
  • 120,000 Trade Visitors
  • 160,000 Square meters
  • Bloggers from 25 countries all over the world
  • Over 5 days within 8th March – 12th March, 2017
  • Bringing in a €7 billion turnover to Germany!
A khudu in Botswana!

Omigosh!

If you’re at the ITB, you’re in good company.

The ITB Berlin is a huge deal and the partner country for 2017 is Botswana with the motto: – #ilovebotswana.

Wow!

SAFETY IN TRAVEL!

I’m a big advocate for smart travel and that includes safety and security.

I’m a big advocate for smart travel and that includes safety and security.

Sadly, it’s many a reason that certain destinations are low in tourism numbers and not likely to increase any time soon.

Even my beloved Berlin had issues brought upon, not by a lack of security, but by strike action at the airport!

Having said that, where better to “be stranded” than in trendy hipster Berlin!

The Hamburg stand at ITBBerlin was very busy & here's why - An artificially intelligent tourism robot!
The Hamburg stand at ITBBerlin was very busy & here’s why – An artificially intelligent tourism robot!

Nevertheless, the mainstay of this years’ convention leaned heavily on the increasing concern for safety whilst travelling abroad, geopolitical challenges on whether destinations are able to secure confidence for holidaymakers, artificial intelligence, medical tourism, and sustainable tourism.

Safety and security was such an issue, that there was a huge level of media attention and political interest!

Safety and security was such an issue, that there was a huge level of media attention and political interest!

In fact, ITB Berlin this year played host to:

  • 11 State Secretaries
  • 45 Ambassadors
  • 72 Government Ministers
  • 110 Foreign Delegations
  • 450 bloggers from 34 countries
  • And over 5,000 accredited journalists from 76 countries around the world!

How cool is that?

Book your hotel here!

ITB BERLIN IS TRENDING!

Keep Calm and go to ITB Berlin! ©2017 Messe Berlin

The name ITB Berlin stands for a unique success story and things that are made in Berlin.

What began in 1966, as a small overseas import trade show, has developed into a true global success.

What originally, was only an event of five (5) participating countries and regions, has grown to over 180 with an exhibition space expanding from 580 m² to 160,000 m² today!

In more than five (5) decades, so many societal and political changes have taken place. 

As far as the tourism industry is concerned, Germany has developed into one of the world’s most important economic factors!

Around the world with Heidi Hetzer &amp; her Old-Timer car!<br /> ITB Berlin ©2017 Messe Berlin
Around the world with Heidi Hetzer & her Old-Timer car!
ITB Berlin ©2017 Messe Berlin

Today, the ITB Berlin is the leading trade show of the travel industry and, at the same time, the biggest travel show for the German public!

 2017 IS LOOKING GREAT!

Accor Hotels – #myjourneybegins. It most certainly does!

This has been the most successful ITB travel trade conference for me yet, because:

  • It’s in my expat home-town of Berlin so I don’t have to pay for anything, and I know where everything is!
  • It’s free of charge for bloggers and the press!
  • I made so many professional contacts
  • I had so many appointments which had me going from floor to floor that even though I used the press shuttle bus, my feet swelled up ‘cos I was wearing ankle boots, and I tend to walk like a man!
  • My Blogger Speed Dating appointment sheet was filled to the brim with Destinations & Marketing people wanting to meet me face-to-face
  • I have official invitations to come visit many of the chosen destinations of this year
  • I caught up with other international bloggers
  • I was invited to so many After-Hours parties, it became over-whelming…
  • Exciting news! A writer asked for one of my old Scotland photographs to be added to their book for a film tour, so the next time you go to the Scottish Highlands, you could be looking at one of my photographs!
Don’t risk collapse at the ITB Berlin. Fill your belly!
  • Most endearing of all, as I was browsing through the Poland section, looking for destination information, one of the girls started staring. I gave her my card to give to her boss, and she just started screaming!

She recognised my name and was thrilled and excited to finally meet and see the writer of THAT post! She told her neighbours and they all began rushing to take photographs & giggling! I mean, that post now has over forty-five thousand (45,000) views!

Apparently. In Poland, I’m a bit of a notorious star!

And the title of said piece: Going to Poland: 10 reasons not to go!

Apparently, in Poland I’m a bit of a notorious star!

See you next week!

SO IS IT WORTH GOING TO ITB BERLIN? YES! IT MOST CERTAINLY IS!

Bloggers having fun via Vienna House at ITB Berlin!

This article is isn’t sponsored and the awesome time that had at the ITB Berlin, is my very own!

In March and April, I’ll be on the road again to Austria & Croatia!

On 15.03.17, I’ll be at the Spring Reception for the British Community at the British Embassy in Berlin.

From 07.03.17 – 09.03.17, our friends – the British musical and comedy duo – Carrington Brown – will be performing Germany’s premiere of Carrington-Brown feat. The Swonderful Orchestra: Comedy meets Classics at Tipi!

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin in March, I haven’t a clue where you would rather be!

Watch this space!

So is it worth going to ITB Berlin? Yes! It most certainly is!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

So is it worth going to ITB Berlin? Yes! It most certainly is!

Do you think Berlin is worth it? Have you ever been to the ITB Berlin?Share & let me know below! 

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

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A first time beginners guide to the ITB Berlin: 10 tips to help you not to lose your mind!

ITB Berlin - Ruanda - © 2017 Messe Berlin
ITB Berlin – Ruanda – © 2017 Messe Berlin

OMG!

I’m enormously excited!

And why?

The ITB travel trade fair is going to be in town.

Yeeeeeeeees!

ITB Berlin - South Pacific Tourism Organisation - ©2017 Messe Berlin
ITB Berlin – South Pacific Tourism Organisation – ©2017 Messe Berlin

Before I became the awesome travel blogger that I am today, I used to attend the ITB as an ordinary member of the public. It was one of the highlights of my year!

And let me tell you, it still is!

I mean, thousands of international travel organisations and travel destinations are going to be in the city, looking to present the best parts of their country, or industry.

And yours truly will be among them.

Last year, was pretty tight, so I had to see all my contacts in just 24 hours!

And why was that?

I'm an MA graduate from the University of Chester. Whoopee!
I’m an MA graduate from the University of Chester.
Whoopee!

Because I needed to fly back to England for the dignified graduation ceremony of my MA – Masters of Art Degree, which I had obtained from the University of Chester!

In fact, I had to cancel the Bloggers Speed Dating networking event that I had originally booked months before.

I had to cancel the personal appointments that I had with Marketing & Tourism officials.

I had to forgo all the Berlin parties that were set to burn each night on fire!

Mind you, I didn’t do too badly in 2016 regardless..!

I'm looking gorgeous in the Philippines! ©Scott Herder - BoboandChiChi.com
I’m looking gorgeous in the Philippines!
©Scott Herder – BoboandChiChi.com

This year, I’m here, and I’m all ready and organised.

Now that I’m a professional blogger don’t you know, I get to have internal access to all that the travel industry has to offer.

If you’re reading about the ITB for the first time, here’s what I previously wrote:

But it doesn’t hurt to reiterate the facts:

WHAT IS THE ITB?

ITB Berlin Convention 2017
ITB Berlin Convention 2017

The ITB Berlin stands for the Internationale Tourismus-Börse or in English, the international tourism trade fair.

The ITB represents B2B, hotels, tourists boards, tour operators and providers, airlines, transport operators, responsible travel organisers, information technology experts, social media bloggers, and anybody else interested in travel and tourism.

It’s also the world’s leading travel industry think tank, in which the convention trade fair establishes itself as the industry’s main knowledge platform, with top-notch presentations on global trends, travel innovations and path-breaking events for the entire tourism industry!

Phew!

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT THEN?

ITB Berlin - ©2017 Messe Berlin
ITB Berlin – ©2017 Messe Berlin

Well, the ITB Berlin is the foremost business platform for the global tourism business. We’re talking:

  • 5 continents
  • 187 Countries
  • 200 trendsetting events
  • 400 speakers
  • 1,000 Qualified Top Buyers
  • 10,000 Exhibitors
  • 26,000 Convention Visitors and Participants attending lectures, discussions, and workshops
  • 60,000 Private Visitors
  • 120,000 Trade Visitors
  • 160,000 Square meters
  • Bloggers from 25 countries all over the world
  • Over 5 days within 8th March – 12th March, 2017
  • Bringing in a €7 billion turnover to Germany!
A mandril baboon in Botswana!
A mandril baboon in Botswana!

Omigosh!

If you’re at the ITB, you’re in good company.

The ITB Berlin is a huge deal and the partner country for 2017 is Botswana with the motto: – #ilovebotswana.

Wow!

ITB BERLIN IS 51 YEARS OLD!

The beautiful French Quarter - Gendarmenmarkt - in Berlin
The beautiful French Quarter – Gendarmenmarkt – in Berlin

The name ITB Berlin stands for a unique success story and things that are made in Berlin.

What began in 1966, as a small overseas import trade show, has developed into a true global success.

What originally, was only an event of five (5) participating countries and regions, has grown to over 180 with an exhibition space expanding from 580 m² to 160,000 m² today!

In more than five (5) decades, so many societal and political changes have taken place.  As far as the tourism industry is concerned, Germany has developed into one of the world’s most important economic factors!

Book your hotel here!

Happy Birthday ITB Berlin!
Happy Birthday ITB Berlin!

Today, the ITB Berlin is the leading trade show of the travel industry and, at the same time, the biggest travel show for the German public!

However, it’s a huge venue and there have been incidents of people wandering around and not actually getting to where they wanted to go! Not naming names or anything, so here’s a few tips on how to navigate your way around!

WHEN CAN YOU VISIT?

Visitors are welcome at the ITB Berlin!
Visitors are welcome at the ITB Berlin!

OPENING HOURS.

Trade visitors: 8th – 12th March, 2017. 09:30 – 18:00
The general public: 11th – 12th March, 2017. 10:00 – 18:00
Journalists and bloggers: 8th – 12th March, 2017. 08:30 – 18:00

ADMISSION.

ITB BERLIN – The world in one place!
ITB BERLIN – The world in one place!

You can buy tickets at the Exhibition Grounds – or save time and money and buy them in advance at the Online Ticket Shop. Entrance for Trade Visitors / Press to the ITB Berlin Convention is included in the price of your trade fair ticket.

Trade Fair Visitors:

  • One Day ticket: Online in advance – €35.00. On the day – €52.00
  • A Five Day ticket: Online in advance – €50.00. On the day – €75.00
  • Accredited press / bloggers: Free of charge, in advance. If not accredited, as above
The general public are welcome at the weekend of the ITB Berlin! ©2017 Messe Berlin
The general public are welcome at the weekend of the ITB Berlin!
©2017 Messe Berlin

The General Public.

  • One Day ticket: Online in advance – €12.00. On the day – €15.00
  • Reduced priced tickets – students / retired /unemployed etc. On the day – €8.00
  • Last Minute tickets (only valid on March 12th, from 14:00) – On the day – €8.00
  • All children under the age of fourteen (14) if accompanied by an adult, are totally free of charge!

p.s. You should also be able to buy a €12.00 ticket from any BVG/Sbahn ticket machine. And if you live in Berlin, watch out for the free voucher that sometimes comes, via a free delivery of the weekend edition of the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper!

HOW CAN I GET TO THE ITB?

Use the ITB shuttle service to get around. It's free!
Use the ITB shuttle service to get around. It’s free!

If you’re a trade visitor or a member of the press, then there is a free ITB shuttle service that will take you from the airport, from selected hotels and from various stops around the city to the ITB Exhibition Ground. If you’re using the city shuttle line service, please note that the stops are not marked as ITB Berlin stops, but are selected buses at the regular bus stops of the Berlin Public Transport System, otherwise known as the BVG!

Using Berlin's public transport is perfectly safe & very cheap!
Using Berlin’s public transport is perfectly safe & very cheap!

You can find bus stops at:

Line A

  • Bus-Stop 1: Unter den Linden / Friedrichstraße
  • Bus-Stop 2: Train Station Potsdamer Platz (on Leipziger Platz)

Line B

  • Bus-Stop 1: Underground Station U Wittenbergplatz
  • Bus-Stop 2: Underground Station U Kurfürstendamm (Kranzlereck)
  • Bus-Stop 3: Olivaer Platz (Kurfürstendamm 61)
  • Bus-Stop 4: Underground Station U Adenauerplatz
  • Bus-Stop 5: Sbahn Train Station S Halensee

HOW TO NAVIGATE YOUR WAY AROUND THE ITB VENUE.

Navigate your way around the ITB Berlin - ©2017 Messe Berlin
Navigate your way around the ITB Berlin – ©2017 Messe Berlin

There are seven (7) entrances, but to give you a better insight you can download a map of the exhibition ground:

  • Entrance South / Halls 1/2 (Jafféstrasse)
  • Hall 7.2a (opposite to CityCubeBerlin)
  • Hall 9 (Messedamm)
  • Entrance East (Hall 14.1, opposite the ICC Berlin)
  • Entrance North (Hall 19, Hammarskjöldplatz)
  • Hall 25
  • City Cube Berlin

The ITB venue is pretty huge so within the exhibition ground itself, you can use the free ITB fairground shuttles that will transport you from hall to hall!

Take the Ring Train S41 or S42 to the ITB Berlin!
Take the Ring Train S41 or S42 to the ITB Berlin!

If you’re not using any of the above, or you’re a member of the general public, then you need to get yourself to the following public transport stations. Don’t forget to get a ticket! 

There’s no need to panic though, as the city of Berlin provides an extensive public transport network, but make sure you read this post as to how to buy a daily ticket, as Berlin doesn’t have any barriers, and you don’t want to get caught out without a ticket now, do you? The stations that you need to get to are:

  • Messe Süd – Sbahn Train S5
  • Messe Nord /ICC  – Ring Train S41 or S42
  • Kaiserdamm – Underground Station U2
  • Westkreuz  – Sbahn Train S75, S7, S5, Ring Train S41 or S42. You ought to change to Messe Süd (one stop), or go for a little stroll instead, but it’s a bit of a walk!

A FIRST TIME BEGINNERS GUIDE TO THE ITB BERLIN: 10 TIPS TO HELP YOU NOT TO LOSE YOUR MIND!

 

A first time beginners guide to the ITB Berlin: 10 tips to help you not to lose your mind!
A first time beginners guide to the ITB Berlin: 10 tips to help you not to lose your mind!
  1. Book: Are you flying, taking the train, hustling in the coach-bus or car-sharing? Book your hotel here!
  2. Focus: Define what you want to accomplish and whom you want to contact
  3. Plan: Set up meetings and appointments
  4. Do research: Get information about the industry’s latest trends and use the Virtual Market Place® catalogue to find out who’s there!
  5. Learn: Go to presentations, workshops, conferences and talks. I learnt all about Twitter for the first time at ITB and then the next day, I went live and never looked back!
  6. Save: Buy your Visitor Ticket in advance at the Online Ticket Shop
  7. Navigate: Use the Map of the Exhibition Grounds for your personal orientation
  8. Download: The  ITB App with maps, lists, and services for free. Available for iOS and Android systems too
  9. Network: The ITB Berlin offers networking events of a special kind – ITB Blogger Speed Dating and the ITB Speed Networking event. However, it doesn’t matter if you’ve not made an appointment previously, although it helps if you do. Nevertheless, you’re at the largest travel trade fair in the world, so go and explore!
  10. Enjoy: You’re in one of the finest cities in the world. Have fun!

DON’T FORGET!

Hair & Make Up - Check! Exude confidence - Check! ITB Berlin - Iran - ©2017 Messe Berlin
Hair & Make Up – Check! Exude confidence – Check!
ITB Berlin – Iran – ©2017 Messe Berlin
  • Business Cards – Check!
  • Business Card Folder or File, so that you don’t lose the ones that you’ve collected – Check!
  • Map – Check!
  • ITB Berlin App Guide – Check!
  • Mobile or Cell Phone, plus charger – Check!
  • Bottle of Water – Check!
  • Smart clothing – Check!
  • Exude confidence – Check!
  • Smile – Check!

See you at the ITB!

ITB Berlin- Iceland - ©2017 Messe Berlin
ITB Berlin- Iceland – ©2017 Messe Berlin

This article is isn’t sponsored and the marvellous time that I’m going to have at the ITB Berlin, is my very own!

In March and April, I’ll be on the road again to Austria & Croatia!

On 07.03.17, I’ll be at the Travel Massive ITB 2017 Opening Party! It’s always a lot of fun, so if you’re in town, come and join us!

On 08.03.17, I’ll be participating in the iambassador – Traveldudes – ITB Travel Tweet-Up event.

And of course, on 08.03.17 – 12.03.17, the world’s leading travel trade show – the ITB will be in action, and everyone who is anyone in the travel industry, will be here!

On 15.03.17, I’ll be at the Spring Reception for the British Community at the British Embassy in Berlin.

From 07.03.17 – 09.03.17, our friends – the British musical and comedy duo – Carrington Brown – will be performing Germany’s premiere of Carrington-Brown feat. The Swonderful Orchestra: Comedy meets Classics at Tipi!

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin in March, I can’t even!

Happy bloggers at ITB Berlin - ©Natalie Deduck - Loveandroad.com
Happy bloggers at ITB Berlin – ©Natalie Deduck – Loveandroad.com

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

A first time beginners guide to the ITB Berlin: 10 tips to help you not to lose your mind!
A first time beginners guide to the ITB Berlin: 10 tips to help you not to lose your mind!

Is there a travel trade fair event where you live? Have you ever been to the ITB Berlin? Has a large venue ever confused you? Let me know below! 

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.

How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.
How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.

So a fortnight (two weeks) ago, I told you about how many countries that I travelled to in 2016. And if you’re just joining us, it was 10!

I also told you how I did it, and the plans that I have for 2017. 

In 2016, I’ll be travelling to thirteen (13) countries.

Most of them will be in Europe, and plenty of them, I’ll be reaching by train!

How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.
How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.

But why?

Why the train?

Why not fly?

Why not fly?
Why not fly?

Well, to Russia, I’m thinking strongly of taking some sort of ship or cruise, and to England and Ireland, perhaps flying would be quicker….!

And then again. Perhaps not!

But the fact remains.

I live in Berlin.

In Germany.

Germany - my adopted country!
Germany – my adopted country!

And Germany is right in the center of Europe.

It has airports, train stations, bus stations, bicycle stations, cars and every possible means of transport.

I travel a lot for leisure and pleasure, and many a time, the adventure is in the getting there rather than the destination itself!

Book your hotel here!

Zoooooop! Don't say it! @eatdrinkandrun.com
Zoooooop! Don’t say it!
@eatdrinkandrun.com

And let’s not forget the hassle, long queues and stringent baggage requirements that airlines require these days. Quite frankly, for a 1.5 hour flight you’re looking at arriving the airport (if flying to the UK) at least 2 hours before, if flying inter-continental, at least 3 hours. Not to talk of actually getting to the airport itself!

Luckily for me, Berlin has excellent local public transport that is cheap, efficient, clean, and reliable. I can’t say the same if you’re trying to get to London Heathrow, which is the busiest airport in the world. And equally as complicated, if you don’t know your way around London.

Me!
Me!

Being that I live in Berlin, makes it an extremely easy way to travel.

In fact, travelling by train through the European continent is one of the most comfortable ways to travel with ease, from one country to the other. And by far, one of the cheapest!

Is it any wonder that one of my favourite forms of transport is the train!

WHY TRAVEL BY TRAIN IN EUROPE?

How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.
How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.

There are many reasons why travelling by train in Europe is a most excellent idea, here are some below:

  • It’s cheap:
Travelling by train is a cheap as a bunch of locally grown flowers!
Travelling by train is a cheap as a bunch of locally grown flowers!

I bought a twelve-hour (12) direct train ticket from Berlin to Budapest. In first class for €69.00. Second class was just €10.00 cheaper at €59.00! I couldn’t believe it, so I bought it! My child was free of charge!

I bought a seven (7) hour train journey (second class) train ticket via the Hungarian Railways or MAV at a cost of 11,780 Ft or €38.40 to travel from Budapest to Prague. Child included in the cost!

A five (5) hour train journey ticket (second class) to travel from Prague to Berlin in August, was just €29.00! My child cost nothing at all!

Over the Landwasser Viaduct in Switzerland. ©Michaa Ludwiczak / Getty
Over the Landwasser Viaduct in Switzerland.
©Michaa Ludwiczak / Getty

For Switzerland, we took the Sparpreis Europa city night line train, and the eleven (11) hour return ticket journey from Berlin – Lucerne – Berlin, including reserved seating in July. Cost just €98.00. My child was free!

As a matter of fact, our return ticket from Berlin – Copenhagen – Berlin was a mere €58.00! And even though we actually missed our connection on the way home, and had to buy another ticket…it was still a sweet deal!

  • Kids travel for free:
Children under 15 travelling inter-city or inter-country, with their relatives, usually travel on the European train, for free!
Children under 15 travelling inter-city or inter-country, with their relatives, usually travel on the European train, for free!

Throughout last summer, I took an international train every weekend, and the price for our son – The Tall Young Gentleman was nothing at all!

His fare was completely and utterly free.

Yep!

Free of charge.

Nada!

Children under 15 travelling inter-city or inter-country, with their relatives, usually travel on the European train, for free!
Children under 15 travelling inter-city or inter-country, with their relatives, usually travel on the European train, for free!

In Germany, children under 15 travelling inter-city or inter-country, with their parents, grandparents, or relatives, travel on the German Rail, otherwise known as Deutsche Bahn (DB), train for free!

Note that if you book Spar Preis Europa trains with the German Rail on this version, your children will be free of charge too!

Other European countries do the same and either have free transport for children, or special prices for families too.

Book your hotel here!

Our son as a baby - 20 months old!
Our son as a baby – 20 months old!

On our last visit to the UK, we bought an Advance Single train ticket – via the National Rail – from Manchester Oxford Road to a station in Cheshire. Our adult tickets for a 30 minute inter-city train were £3.00 each, and £1.50 for our child. Our Express Train tickets from Manchester Airport to Manchester Oxford Road (in the city) were just £5.00 each per adult, and £2.50 for our child.

  • Delays are minimal and compensated:
The German Rail / Deutsche Bahn train leaving Berlin.
The German Rail / Deutsche Bahn train leaving Berlin.

When travelling by European train, there is very little fuss to it, and far fewer delays than flying

In fact, European Regulation (EC) 1371/2007 on rail passengers’ rights and obligations (2009), state that passengers are entitled to standardised rights in the rail sector in Germany and in Europe.

If there are delays of at least sixty (60) minutes or more, you are entitled to compensation, and if you were to take a taxi, or another mode of transport up to €80.00, you could have that refunded too. Make sure you get the correct documentation at either the train station concerned, from another station, or from the train staff!

  • Luggage:
Get a train ticket and travel through Europe!
Get a train ticket and travel through Europe!

Train travel means that there is plenty of room for your luggage. And if you wished to take the kitchen sink with you (within reason), you probably could. No need to worry about how heavy your luggage would be and how much. There is relatively little or no fuss. In many cases, the railway staff would even help you carry your bags!

No when was the last time that you saw airport staff carry luggage for anyone!

Book your hotel here!

  • Personal space:
You can strech your legs in the corridor of the Polish Train.
You can stretch your legs in the corridor of the Polish Train.

Unlike air or bus travel, there is room to move around, and really stretch your legs. And depending on how long the journey is, they sometimes have some dedicated time for passengers to go outside, buy some refreshments, get some fresh air, take photographs, or get some WiFi!

  • The social factor:
On the Czech-infused train from Berlin to Budapest!
On the Czech-infused train from Berlin to Budapest!

The European train is a little like the Indian train in the sense that you actually get to meet people. And talk to them.

I mean, you’re sitting elbow to elbow, you’re probably going to an international country, the passengers are either locals or tourists themselves, and to be frank, everyone is quite interested in your journey. And if you’ve got a bottle of booze somewhere.

All the better!

So now to the real McCoy!

HOW TO USE THE TRAIN IN EUROPE: 10 TIPS TO HELP YOU

How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.
How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.

Depending on where you are coming from, you need to:

1.  Get a train ticket:

Get a train ticket and travel through Europe!
Get a train ticket and travel through Europe!

The cheapest way to ease into buying train tickets through most European countries (not all), is to actually book through the Deutsche Bahn portal on the local German English version not the UK or USA version! Note that for Germany, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Holland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland, if you’re going by train, I don’t recommend that you do so by InterRail or EuroRail passes, if you’re only travelling to one country, as the prices are ridiculously expensive and children have to be paid for!

The snag is to book tickets with the national train companies, directly. On their own websites, or through the German Rail otherwise known as Deutsche Bahn. Most websites have an English version. Some can be admittedly slightly hidden, but persevere, or contact them directly by calling, or via Email!

Get a train ticket and travel through Europe!
Get a train ticket and travel through Europe!

But don’t forget. Not all train companies allow you to pay online, or even to buy local tickets at local prices! Some train companies only allow you to buy a Eurail ticket if you’re buying from abroad, and which you can only pay for with a credit card. For more info on that check here..  And some do, but you either have to buy the ticket on the train, or have to pay online and then collect the train tickets once you’re in the country itself, or change the language of the website!

For train travel all around the world check out the website of The Man in Seat Sixty-One . . . or Deutsche Bahn.

A goat on the train? Ah well, anything can happen. I've seen worse. Swans for example!
A goat on the train? Ah well, anything can happen. I’ve seen worse.
Swans for example!

But remember, if you’re using the Deutsche Bahn website, change the location to Germany and use the English word for Deutschland which is Germany! NOT the UK/Ireland one! And then change the language to English!

2.  Check online for best routes:

A map of the European High - Speed Train Network!
A map of the European High – Speed Train Network!

Many train companies have their own website which you can access for routes so that you can see where you want to go. Or better yet. Where they actually go, and how to get there!

3.  Do your research:

Do you need to get a bus and then the train? Or vice-versa in Barcelona. Spain?
Do you need to get a bus and then the train? Or vice-versa in Barcelona. Spain?

I live in Berlin and the Polish border is just under two hours away as such, there are discount prices from the German Railway Service known as Deutsche Bahn or DB. You can get a one-way single ticket from Berlin to Stettin or Szczecin in Poland, for just €11.00. Reduced tickets for €8.30. If you want to make a day of it, a day ticket would be €22.00 and €16.60 respectively. You could use it for every local transport in Stettin and the ticket is valid until 03:00 the next day!

Or you could get the German Regional tickets also known as the Länder-Tickets. These are fantastic bargains as the Berlin-Brandenburg regional one day ticket is only €29.00 and can be used by up to 5 people! That’s right! 5 people can travel on this ticket and they don’t have to be related! This ticket is valid from 09:00 to 03:00 the following day, and on the trams and buses in Stettin (Szczecin), and can be used to get to the Polish border!

Book your hotel here!

Yeah well, no promises on the Bogus Bus!
Yeah well, no promises on the Bogus Bus!

You sometimes see people hustling for ticket holders in Stettin (Szczecin) ‘cos if you have 5 people travelling together that’s €5.00 each. A bargain if ever I saw one!

You can get this ticket from the VBB Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg website or DB online. For more information check here and here.

4.  In fact, if you are in Germany, why not hop to some of our neighbouring countries too:

"The Tall Young Gentleman" didn't look too happy that for Switzerland, we took the Sparpreis Europa city night line train!
“The Tall Young Gentleman” didn’t look too happy that for Switzerland, we took the Sparpreis Europa city night line train!

It might take you a while, but you can take the train from Berlin to London for as little as €59.00, to Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Italy, Denmark, Croatia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Poland for as little as €39.00 per single ticket or one way trip!

And if it’s not too far away. And being that this is Europe we’re talking about, so it isn’t! Fares can sometimes go as low as €19.00 for destinations such as to Prague for example!

The Deutsche Bahn building in Berlin!
The Deutsche Bahn building in Berlin!

For more information check here.

5.  Reserve your seat:

Me relaxing at the Berlin Music Video Awards.
Me relaxing at the Berlin Music Video Awards.

Now as a blogger, I’m always online in some form or the other, and it really surprises me how travellers and tourists leave their train bookings until the very last minute!

Believe me. Don’t do that!

It was lovely having a Bristol cab and driver waiting for me!
It was lovely having a Bristol cab and driver waiting for me!

Trains are popular in Europe. And if the destination is on a well-worn track, then the trains will be packed. And if it’s the weekend or a public holiday, you won’t get a seat, and will be forced to stand….!

In the summer, it’s not unknown for teenagers to be sitting on the corridor floor with their mates for a few hours.

But they can cope. Can you?

Try to reserve a seat on the European train!
Try to reserve a seat on the European train!

Now if you really don’t want to pay for a reserved seat, then the trick is to either go to the very front of the train, or the very back of it. And be quick about it!

However, if you’ve got luggage or kids, somebody from your party ought to sprint in and bagsy a couple of non-reserved  seats, or you might as well do the decent relaxing thing, and reserve the seat of your choice, in a compartment that you prefer.

Our tiny Czech train in the middle of no-where!
Our tiny Czech train in the middle of no-where!

Having said that, lots of small rural or regional trains have no possibility to reserve seats at all, so either jump in and turn left, or go upstairs!

6.  Take some refreshments with you:

Take some refreshments with you!
Take some refreshments with you!

If you’re on a regional or rural train, no refreshments will be sold on the train. And don’t even think that you can buy “something” at the next station as countryside train stations are either tiny little things, or simply non-existent!

Generally, super-clean-fast-efficient-modern-high speed trains have restaurants and trolley service throughout the train, but you can’t be sure that you’ll like either what they’re offering, or the prices!

Refreshments on the European first class train usually include a small bottle of wine or beer. But not always!
Refreshments on the European first class train usually include a small bottle of wine or beer. But not always!

‘Best to bring your own stuff if travelling in second class. Refreshments are usually given for first class customers and usually include a small bottle of wine or beer. But not always!

7.  Talk to the locals:

Don't be afraid to talk to locals or your fellow travellers on the European train!
Don’t be afraid to talk to locals or your fellow travellers on the European train!

My fellow travellers were always very helpful and we usually spoke in a mixture of English or German and a splattering of whatever the local language happens to be. With a lot of hand gestures, acting, drawing, and generally making quite a fool of myself, they usually understood what I was asking! The local travellers always helped us get off at the stop that we usually required too.

Many a time just looking anxious, or “other,” tends to open a conversation. And really, you don’t ever have to worry. The locals will help you. Just ask. Promise!

The locals will help you. Just ask. Promise!
The locals will help you. Just ask.
Promise!

In some cases, even the train driver will help you!

8.  Be prepared:

Have the correct documentation with you when travelling on the European train, and be prepared!
Have the correct documentation with you when travelling on the European train, and be prepared!

When travelling through Europe, you’re likely to go through different countries, each with it’s own distinct flavour of technology. In highly advanced countries such as Germany, Switzerland, Holland, and the Nordic countries, technical equipment will be at it’s highest, with power outlets either in between your seats, on the table, or on the side of the wall near the window!

In less advanced nations such as in Eastern Europe and even in Southern Europe, not so much!

There might be wifi and a power outlet. And there might not!
There might be WiFi and a power outlet. And there might not!

There will be WiFi, but it probably won’t work, or will be spotty at best. And there will be no power outlets! On our 15 hour train journey to Hungary, I spent hours searching the train for a plug-hole. And where was it?

In the restaurant, hanging dangerously on the wall of the heavy main train door, or in the toilet!

Er No!

Have the correct documentation with you when travelling on the European train, and be prepared!
Have the correct documentation with you when travelling on the European train, and be prepared!

Oh by the way. Europe isn’t a country. It’s a continent, so if you’re travelling on an international train, you must take your passport with you. Train officials never used to check people in the past due to the European law of Free Movement, but as a result of strengthened alertness due to the increased height of terrorism, and to ensure our safety, they are now. So make sure you have everything in order.

Otherwise, you’ll be escorted off the train and your holiday could end right there!

9.  If you miss your train stop, don’t panic:

How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you - don't panic!
How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you – don’t panic!

Once travelling through Poland, I realized that we had missed our train stop as the countryside scene that was I expecting, did not show up on my horizon!

Hmm!

I couldn’t really look outside the window as the window was blocked with passengers in the corridor.

I couldn’t check the train map that you normally see in the corridors either as I couldn’t get to the corridor, and I didn’t have an iPhone in those days.

We had missed our train stop! Oh no!
We had missed our train stop! Oh no!

A girl in her early 20’s noticed that I kept attempting to leave the compartment. She confirmed that I had missed our stop.

OK. I’ll get off at the next stop!

Oh, I’ve missed that too!

And the train is now going East further into Poland, whereas I was supposed to be going to the sea which was in the West!

Book your hotel here!

We got off the train!
We got off the train!

We got off the train.

Unfortunately, the train officials weren’t really very helpful and pointed at contrasting directions, so I decided to look around the station myself and peek onto other platforms and lo and behold, the connecting train that I wanted was still ON THE PLATFORM!

I checked and double-checked that it was indeed the right train, then we hopped on!

Then we hopped back on the train again!
Then we hopped back on the train again!

I so bugged the train conductor as per how many stops we had left, and what time we were expected to get to a certain seaside village, as there are no announcements and no destination indicators.

It was a case of watching and counting, each and every train stop…. 75 minutes later, we were there!

10.  If it all goes bananas, use your head:

Use your head at foreign train stations!
Use your head at foreign train stations!

There are 101 ways to travel through Europe, and the train is just one of them.

Sometimes it makes sense to choose another form of transport to get to your final destination.

It isn’t the worse thing in the world if you do!

HOW TO USE THE TRAIN IN EUROPE: 10 TIPS TO HELP YOU

How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.
How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.

This article is not sponsored, and the excitement of using the train in Europe, is my very own!

For travelling across Europe, or from Germany, please contact: Deutsche Bahn or take a look at my country destination page and book your hotel here!

It’s January!

I’ll be making an announcement this month that will either having me jumping up and down like a Jack-in-the-Box, or crying over my hot cocoa! Find out throughout January!

The 10th British Shorts Film Festival is taking place from 12th – 18th January, 2017

Berlin Fashion Week will take place from 17th –  20th January, 2017

The British Council Literature Seminar – #BritLitBerlin – will take place from 26.01.17 – 28.01.17

The 67th Berlin International Film Festival, otherwise known as the Berlinale, will take place from 09.02.17 – 19.02.17

Strictly Stand Up – The English Comedy Night will take place at the Quatsch comedy Club on 15.02.17. Save the Date!

If you’re not in Berlin in January, it’s a darn shame!

January is going to be dramatic!

How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.
How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.
How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.

Have you ever used the train across Europe? What are your stories? Spill the beans!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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