The Beauty of the Silent Car, and other Rail Secrets

This elegant fountain greets arrivals to Zurich's Hauptbahnhof. Not a bad station in which to kill a few hours in case you do miss your connection.
This elegant fountain greets arrivals to Zurich’s Hauptbahnhof. Not a bad station in which to kill a few hours in case you do miss your connection.

My newest post on the Eurail Blog is fittingly titled 10 Hacks for an Epic Eurail Trip. Hack, as you probably know, refers to a trick or shortcut producing greater efficiency or productivity. When it comes to travel, as in many other arenas, I’ve found that the only way to properly hack something is to first fail at it.

To miserably fail. In travel terms, that would mean utterly botching your transport plans and winding up alone at night in a chilly rural station because you missed the proverbial last train. A station that, while not technically god-forsaken or in the middle of nowhere, is in a remote part of town where the cafes and shops are shuttered past six. Most likely the restrooms are shuttered, too.

Or it could mean waiting until the last minute to buy a TGV to Paris (I’ve done this and don’t recommend it, as it can be surprisingly expensive). Or spending your whole day traveling to, say, Venice, only to crash in a pricey mediocre hotel––when you could have bunked down on the night train and saved yourself a night of lodging, as well as daylight hours better spent museum binging.                           

Slightly disheveled but thrilled to make my connection to the City Night Line train in Zurich, after dallying too long at a traditional beer hall dinner on the first day of Fasnacht, the Swiss version of Carnival.
Slightly disheveled but thrilled to make my connection to the City Night Line train in Zurich, after dallying too long at a traditional beer hall dinner on the first day of Fasnacht, the Swiss version of Carnival.