What is the difference between passes and tickets?

Point-to-point travel and pass travel are both valid options for exploring Europe, and both have their own benefits.

Point-to-point tickets are good for short distance travel, such as travel from city to city within a country. They are also a good value if you plan to restrict your travel and are only going to one or two places. This option may be more economical for you if you know the cities and destinations you want to travel to in advance.

In general, passes are a good value if you plan to travel extensively throughout one or several countries, or if you plan to cover long distances. They provide access for most rail routes and allow you to travel hassle-free by not having to wait in lines at the train station to get tickets. By selecting Pass Security when purchasing your pass, your tickets will be safe from theft or loss. In some cases you will still have to make seat reservations or pay supplements, but most routes allow for unlimited pass use without having to pay an extra fee.

Many Eurail passes offer bonuses or discounts to be used while you travel throughout Europe. These extra benefits include discounts on ferry and bus services, hotel rooms, and bonus attractions to museums. Bring your pass or ticket to the place where it will be redeemed (ferry crossings, etc.) and show it to the right employee. In the case of hotels, passengers must call in advance to ask them their rules on using the discount and how to do it.

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What is the difference between a consecutive day pass and a flexipass?

A consecutive-day pass provides unlimited rail travel for the duration of the pass, once it has been validated. For example, if you buy a month long pass you can travel at any time during that month.

Flexible travel days give the pass-holder a 2 month period from the validation date to utilize the number of days they have purchased for their pass. If you buy a 2-month flexipass with 10 days of travel, you can use the ten days at any point during the 60-day period.

Both passes have their benefits. The consecutive day pass is great if you are roaming and don't know exactly where you are going or how long it will take you. It tends to be more expensive. The flexipass only allows limited days of travel so more planning needs to go into your itinerary. It is great for travelers on a budget and costs less than a consecutive day pass.

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What is a mini fare, and how is it different from a normal fare?

A "mini fare" is a sale fare, which can be between 10-60% off the normal fare. These sale fares also come with different fare rules, including the policies about changing or canceling your ticket.

For instance, with a mini fare you cannot change a ticket - with a normal or flexible fare, you can. Mini fares are also typically limited to a certain number of seats available for sale at a certain time, so you may not find the same sale fare available the next day or even later on the same day.

It is always important to read all fare rules before purchasing any ticket.

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How far in advance should I book my train tickets?

Trenitalia's train schedules and fares are typically only released between 90-120 days in advance*, so it's not a good idea to solidify travel plans before that point—the timetable can change seasonally.

You can buy your train tickets roughly 2 months ahead of when you'll need them, and can even book them the day before your train trip. Once you're in Italy, you can buy tickets just before you get on a train.

Buying tickets soon after they're released gives you a better chance of securing seats during busy travel days, and may give you access to sales or ticket discounts that are only available for advance purchases.

The 90-120 day figure refers to high-speed trains. Regional train tickets are usually only available about 60 days in advance.

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How do I book my train tickets on ItaliaRail.com?

When you use ItaliaRail's search tool, enter the origin and the destination of your trip. Then select the date you want to travel and click on search to find the trains that suit your schedule.

The platform will show you all the trains available between your city pair, then choose the time and type of fare that accommodates with your schedule, budget and restrictions you want to take with the type of fare. Buying your tickets online is as easy as selecting the train trips you want and entering your payment information. Your seats are confirmed upon payment.

Trains that originate in Italy are reserved with electronic tickets, or e-tickets, which means you'll receive your ticket information instantly by email.

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What if I entered the wrong email address when booking?

If you realize after your purchase that you typed the wrong email address into the system, please contact customer service so they can help you remedy the purchase records and get the right information sent to you.

Customer Service contact information:

  • Toll-free U.S. phone number: (877) 375-7245
  • Local phone number in Italy: (+39) 06 9763 2451
  • Email: info@italiarail.com

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Do I need a reservation?

When to Make a Reservation

Purchasing a train ticket means you have bought the right to travel from one city to another by train. Many tickets, however, do not specify the date of travel or even the exact train. That is what reservations are for, so for some train trips you'll need both a ticket and a reservation.

All reservation holders must be in possession of a valid rail pass or city-to-city ticket that covers the routing of the train they have reserved. Not all trains require reservations, but they are required on the following trains:

  • High-Speed Trains (e.g. Eurostar, TGV, TAV, Thalys)
  • Long Distance and Express Trains in Spain, Portugal, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe
  • Long Distance and Express Trains during high season (Jul-Aug)
  • Sleeping accommodations on all overnight trains not on day trains

It's also possible to purchase reservations on some trains that do not require them. This may be advisable during high season travel, but it's entirely up to the passenger.

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What is a PNR and how do I get one?

PNR stands for "passenger name record," and it's the Trenitalia booking code for your train ticket. You receive a PNR when you have purchased an e-ticket.

On some trains, the PNR is all you'll need to show to the conductor (either printed out or on your smartphone or tablet). On other trains, you'll be required to use the PNR in a self-service ticket machine at the station to print out a paper ticket before boarding the train.

Be aware that if you print a ticket in a rail vending machine you will have to validate the ticket prior to boarding the train See: What does it mean to validate a rail ticket or a rail pass? — What you need to do will be indicated on your confirmation email.

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I entered the wrong name for my train ticket. Can I change the name now?

It depends on the type of train ticket or fare you bought. While rail passes are issued in the name of specific passengers and must match that traveler's passport, regular e-tickets or train tickets as of now are not associated with specific passengers and conductors do not require ID on the train. For most tickets, names are not required to appear in the ticket as of now, therefore you do not need to change your e-ticket if you entered the wrong name in the reservation by mistake. Please note that we have received notification that this can change soon, and the tickets will be nominative. The passenger, though is required to be properly identified at all times when travelling. 

There are exceptions to this rule, however.

If you purchase a ticket on an overnight train or a cross-border train, those tickets are for individual passengers and conductors do require ID, passport and or valid documentation to enter into a new country like VISA or the appropiate entry documentation. If you entered the wrong name you might need to change your reservation and rebook your trip. In case you purchased a restrictive fare, you might lose it as super-economy fares which are the most restriuctive, do not allow changes. We recomend you to always buy a fare that allows at least 1 change like the Economy fare. 

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When can I expect to receive my train ticket(s)?

With our exclusive e-tickets, you will receive a minimum of two emails, more depending on the number of trains trips reserved. The first email is the order invoice confirmation showing the amounts paid, and the second shows the e-ticket booking "PNR" confirmation. Both emails will be sent immediately upon completion of your booking. Download the e-ticket at the paragraph HOW DOES MY TICKET WORK? Type: E-Ticket  Click here for your Ticket(s)  - that you will see in the documentation you will receive by email.

For any orders that must be printed and shipped to you, most orders received before 3:00pm EST Monday-Friday will be shipped the same day. Orders received after 3:00pm EST are shipped the next business day.

Delivery time for most standard US orders is 2-3 business days, unless otherwise requested. International orders can take between 3-7 days. A signature is required for delivery of the package. You can place a rush order if you need to. Please email us for assistance, and be sure to include your order number, name, address, and departure date.

Please be sure there is enough time for your order to reach you prior to departure. No orders are shipped on Saturdays, Sundays, or US holidays, so allow an additional 24-to-48 hours for weekend orders. ItaliaRail is not responsible for weather-related delays or situations beyond our control. For questions regarding delivery, include your Order ID number and name in an email to info@italiarail.com.

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What if my train ticket is lost or stolen?

Any e-ticket could be re-printed in plain paper to be shown to the train conductor, or shown in electronic format like in a smartphone, so it could not be lost unless the printed paper or phone and laptop is lost. We recommend the printing of e-tickets in plain paper in case phones are out of battery of have any electrical issue. You can contact customer service to request a copy of your ticket to be sent to a different email if needed.

Lost or stolen Rail Passes are not refundable, exchangeable, or replaceable.

Any handling and/or issuing charges for passes are non-refundable.

Unused Rail Passes are refundable within one (1) year from issue date or six (6) months from issue date where so stated, provided they have not been validated, have been canceled and so stamped at a retail station in Europe prior to the beginning of the validation period.

All refunds on Rail Passes are subject to a 15% cancellation charge.

Partially used or validated passes are non-refundable.

Please mail us at info@italiarail.com or call us while in Italy at our local number to (+39) 06 9763 2451 or toll-free (US/CA) at (+1) 877-375-7245 to speak with a member of our customer service team 24/7. For more information, please include your Order Number in your email.

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What does it mean to validate a rail ticket or a rail pass?

Validating a Train Ticket

As of 5th August 2023, Trenitalia tickets for regional trains that are purchased online need to be validated. This validation must be done before your train departs and you'll incur a fine if your ticket isn't validated. Please click here for instructions on how to validate your regional tickets.

Note that tickets for Trenitalia's high-speed trains do not need to be validated before boarding.

Validating a Rail Pass

On the first day of travel, all people listed on the pass must go to the ticket office of the train station and have a ticketing official validate the pass. This is also called "activating" a pass. The station official should put a stamp on the pass.

Please note that the pass must be validated at the station before boarding your train - a conductor on a train cannot validate the pass. If you do not validate the pass, or if you tamper with the pass in any way, the conductor has the right to confiscate it, at which time, the unused part of the pass is non-refundable.

High-speed trains in Italy require you to have a seat reservation booked in advance to boarding a train or you could be kicked out of the train. You can book your high-speed seats anywhere on our site.

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What's the difference between tickets and seat reservations?

Tickets or e-tickets and seat reservations are not the same thing in Italy, and you won't always need both. A ticket or e-ticket is what you need to travel from one city to another on any train in Italy, and it shows a seat reserved for the type of class and fare purchased. A seat reservation is what grants you a specific seat on that train and it must be issued for travellng in conjunction with a Rail Pass. All high speed trains in Italy require to have a seat reserved for a Rail Pass or a ticket/e-ticket with its seat assigned.

In Regional trains passengers travel without seat reservations, that means there's no assigned seating. You run the risk of standing if the train is full, however.

When both a train ticket and a reservation are required, that means you're getting an assigned seat for the trip. Reservations are required on high-speed trains, overnight trains, and most long-haul routes.

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Do I have to print my ticket, or can I just show it on my smartphone?

Some e-tickets allow for "ticketless" travel, in that you do not need to print a hard copy of the ticket before boarding the train. This is generally true with high-speed train. In these cases, you can simply show your e-ticket on your personal mobile device (smartphone or tablet).

Other e-tickets will require you to "print a ticket upon departure," which means you will need to use a self-service machine at the train station to print a hard copy of your ticket. Input the PNR for every segment when prompted on the self-service machine and you'll get printed tickets you can then validate (if necessary).

The type of e-ticket you have will indicate whether you need a hard copy or not. Keep in mind that if you have one with the "ticketless" option and, for any reason, you are unable to access the email for ticket information, you would need to buy a new ticket. We suggest that you print the tickets, just in case.

ItaliaRail Tip: Take a photo of the email QR code and save to your photo library as offline electronic back-up.

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What do I do if I never receive an order confirmation email?

If you don't receive an order confirmation after your purchase, contact Customer Service so we can re-send the information or — if necessary — correct a mistake in the email address. Please allow a couple of minutes for the system to generate the email information and check your spam folder. If you have not received your e-tickets please contact us at any time. We provide 24/7 customer service support.

Customer Service contact information:

  • Toll-free U.S. phone number: (877) 375-7245
  • Local phone number in Italy: (+39) 06 9763 2451
  • Email: info@italiarail.com

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Can I select / change my seat?

At this moment your seats will be assigned automatically at the moment of booking. We apologise that at this moment we are in the process of upgrading our system to allow for just that - the ability to choose your seats at purchase time or change them depending on the fare type after booking.

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What is an electronic or e-ticket?

An electronic or e-ticket is the newest reservation confirmation for booking reservations trains in Italy. This is exclusively available on trains that originate within Italy.

Upon completing an e-ticket booking, you will receive an email confirmation of your train journey in place of the printed and shipped tickets. This email will include the booking confirmation code, referred to as a "PNR," and the booking change code. This confirmation PNR will also include specific train information—date, time, number of passengers, fare code, and rules.

An e-ticket will either allow you to travel "ticketless"—boarding the train with only the PNR code—or will require you to check in before departure using the check-in link provided in the order confirmation email you will receive after purchase. Pay close attention to your email confirmations as the specific requirements of your train tickets are included

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