Sales of the InterRail pass, which grants unlimited travel through about 30 countries in Europe, have bounced back to pre-pandemic levels.
The demand for the pass was higher in the first quarter of 2022 than in the first three months of 2019, a Eurail spokesperson told Germany’s DPA news agency.
"Over the past decade, the number of InterRail passes sold has kept increasing, except in 2020 and 2021, both marked by the pandemic,” the spokesperson explained. This was largely due to the strict travel measures that were imposed by EU countries.
Launched in 1972, the InterRail pass enables the user unlimited travel through some 30 European countries within a fixed period of time. Initially meant mainly for young travellers, however, the company said that the pass is now increasingly being bought by families and elderly people.
The InterRail pass is only available for purchase by EU citizens. The more general Eurail pass is reserved for non-European residents.
Encouraging young people to travel
Earlier this week, the European Commission once again opened applications for its DiscoverEU initiative, through which 70,000 people aged 18 and living in the EU are given free InterRail passes to explore Europe by train. The tickets are allocated proportionally across member states based on their population size.
The first round of applications, including 35,000 tickets for people born between 1 July 2003 and 30 June 2004, started on Thursday (7 April) and will run to noon on 21 April.
Are you a 18 years old resident of a 🇪🇺 Member State or third country associated to @EUErasmusPlus? Want to explore Europe?🧳 Call for applications of #DiscoverEU - the programme to take you around our continent🌍 - is open NOW! Check here 👉 https://t.co/XXCJIAxUAc pic.twitter.com/4IGMkRdUeT— Mariya Gabriel (@GabrielMariya) April 7, 2022
The second round, which will offer a further 35,000 tickets, will take place in October for those turning 18 in the second half of 2022.
In January, the Commission already announced that 60,950 successful applicants aged 18 to 20 had been given a similar pass for free to travel for up to 30 days between March 2022 and February 2023.