How to Handle European Train Strikes

You’ve got a perfectly planned trip around Europe and decided to take advantage of the extensive train system between countries, except- oh no! There’s a train strike that’s disrupting your plans! What are you going to do?

Alright, step one: don’t panic. You’re on vacation!

In the event that your train is cancelled while you’re in the station, your best bet is to head over to the information desk. The name of this desk may vary depending on the country, but the people working will be aware of the strikes and should help you find your next best options. When we got hit by strikes in France, we were able to get our cancelled connecting flights refunded and hopped on a local train instead of our original high speed train. This method took quite a bit longer, of course, but we were able to make it to our destination on our original arrival date.

This brings me to my next point- flexibility! If we waited for the next available day- we’d have been trapped in an unfamiliar town for a full day! Sometimes a creative solution is your best bet.

There are a few options for transit in Europe. If the high speed trains are letting you down, take a look at local transportation. Is there a tram or bus route that can get you to your next destination? There may be more connections, but needs must! If the final destination is close enough (or you have more money to burn than I do), it may be worth taking a look at a private car transfer, like Uber, a taxi, or a car service. T..his can be extremely pricey depending on this distance.

Other services such as long distance buses can be used as an alternative means of travel. I have used Flixbus multiple times and have liked their service.

Depending on what country you’re in, you can also rent a car! Keep in mind that some countries will require you to have an international drivers permit when driving, and make sure you pay attention to the rules of the road, which can differ between countries.

Don’t forget to consider combinations of these strategies- can you get close enough to the location by public transport that a private car for the rest of the trip won’t break the bank?

Strikes of all kinds are becoming increasingly common as inflation far outstrips living wage- and frankly, if you were in France and no one was striking, did you really experience France?

Strikes do seem to be the trend moving forward, but with a little patience and creativity, they don’t have to ruin your vacation.

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