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Dear reader, please do not panic! Whereas other articles on this topic may frighten you with safety tips (especially those written for female solo travellers), we would like to emphasise: travelling alone in Europe – and by rail – is extremely fun. We have collected a number of important tips for anybody considering a solo trip.
Relax and enjoy your trip!
Against the backdrop of planning, sightseeing and visiting the best attractions, it's easy to forget the best thing about solo travel – not having to take anyone else into account. Whether you want to get up super early and see a city during sunrise, or do the opposite and spend the whole night in an amazing club... you get to decide what you want to see, experience and try :-)
Short city trips ...
...are ideal for solo travel or to test whether solo travel is something for you. Stay in (youth) hostels, where it is easy to get in touch with other travellers, as well as with locals. The following destinations are particularly recommended for those travelling alone: Berlin (young, hip, alternative), Amsterdam (everyone speaks English here ;-)) and Avignon (for a taste of the south just 4 hours from Brussels).
Rail travel made easy
Arrive at the train station at least half an hour before the train departs. Especially if you don't speak the national language and aren't familiar with the station, this gives you plenty of time to get your bearings. Travel light, ideally just with hand luggage! You don't have any luggage to "lug" around, are far more mobile, and don't have to keep standing up every five minutes to make sure your suitcase is still at the rear of the carriage. Our checklist will help you focus on the essentials.
Important practical tip
Don't forget to bring a reliable external phone charger. A smartphone is essential when travelling. Even if you just want to stay in touch with friends and family or find your way around and use the best travel app ;-), a charger is of course indispensable. By the way, you can quickly charge your phone on most high-speed trains, as most of them have electrical sockets in the seats.
And while we're on the topic of mobile phones...
Use our free app. Save your train tickets and travel information, travel with less useless paper and stay up-to-date concerning possible changes to train timetables.
OK, we lied, we do have one safety tip...
But it's an important one for those travelling alone – and a great tip for all travellers, alone or not! Do not wear any flashy jewellery or travel with valuables. Even those who go off the beaten path and leave the tourist areas are seldom mistaken for locals. As a tourist you can easily attract unwanted attention and fall victim to pickpockets. Important documents, such as identity and bank cards, as well as cash, are best carried directly on your person in discrete places. This means not in your rear jeans pocket.
Across Europe by rail
SNCB Europe's extensive range of services means that you can choose from over 1,000 destinations in Europe. Book your journeys with Thalys, Eurostar, TGV®, ICE and other international trains online.
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* Unless expressly stated otherwise, all fares quoted are per person/per leg (VAT included) based on an online reservation for a 2nd class return from Brussels. Please note, terms and conditions apply. Tip: As the number of seats at the lowest fares on Thalys, Eurostar, TGV® and ICE trains is limited, we recommend that you book your trip as early as possible. Most international trains allow reservations to be made from 3 to 4 months before the date of departure (or from 6 months for Eurostar and ICE).
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