How far in advance can I book?
The term booking horizon refers to how far in advance you can book tickets. This varies between trains, countries and rail operators, but three months is a good estimate for most services, with some notable exceptions such as Eurostar. This article lays out the booking horizons for most rail operators, by country and train, to give you an idea of what to expect.
Seasonal timetable changes, which is due to take place in June and December, may prevent you from booking some journeys as far in advance as usual.
IN THIS ARTICLE
Booking horizon by country
||3 months with seasonal variation|
|Italy||2-6 months, depending on the train type*|
|United Kingdom||12 weeks (84 days)|
Booking horizon by train
Rail operator and/or train
|Eurostar||To/from London-Paris/Brussels||180 days|
|Eurostar Disneyland (Marne-la-Vallee)||To/from London-Disneyland Paris||11 months in advance (does not run every day)|
|Eurostar Ski train||To/from London-French Alps||Seasonal service with fixed booking/travel dates (approx. Aug for travel Dec-April)|
|Eurostar direct south of France||To/from London-Lyon-Aix en Provence|| Seasonal service with fixed booking/travel dates (approx Dec for travel May-Aug)
|Frecciarossa, Frecciaagento (High-speed trains in Italy)||Intercity trains in Italy||6 months|
|mnItalo (NTV)||Intercity trains in Italy||4 months|
|National Rail||Throughout the UK||12 weeks (84 days)|
|Renfe-SNCF||To/from Paris-Barcelona||4 months (119 days)|
|TER (regional)||Trains in France||3 months|
|TGV (high-speed)||Trains in France|| 3 months with some seasonal variation
|TGV France-Italy||To/from Paris-Milan/Turin||4 months|
|TGV Lyria (France - Switzerland)||To/from Paris-Geneva/Zurich||4 months|
|TGV Alleo (France - Germany)||To/from Paris-Frankfurt||4 months|
|Thalys||To/from Paris - Brussels-Amsterdam||3 or 4 months|
|Thello||To/from Paris - Milan-Venice||4-6 months|
If booking isn't open - set a booking alert
In general, ticket prices are based on availability so, as the date of travel gets closer and tickets sell out, the price goes up. This usually means that the earlier you book, the cheaper the tickets.
If bookings aren't open for your preferred dates, you'll be given an opportunity to set up a booking alert. We'll send you an email as soon as booking opens, so you have the best chance to book the cheapest tickets. If your plans change, you can manage your booking alerts in your account.
Booking tickets with different booking horizons
If your journey involves more than one train it is possible that each leg will have a different booking horizon. This means that one section of your journey may open earlier than another.
This is especially relevant with trips that include Eurostar, for which booking typically opens 180 days in advance. There are lots of things to consider when deciding if you should wait until all parts of your journey are available, or buy each leg as booking open. We've explained some of the issues to help you decide in the following article, Booking tickets separately.
Seasonal timetable changes
Every year in December and June, the European train timetables are amended. There are seldom major changes to important routes, but the change allows for minor alterations and seasonal variation of international services.
- The European train timetable usually changes on the second Sunday in June and the second Sunday in December.
- While the timetable is revised and compiled, the booking window is reduced. So, for a few months before then, booking may be disrupted.
- Booking typically opens in mid-October for the winter timetable and mid-April for the summer timetable
- We compile a list of when we expect bookings to open for each operator. Check for seasonal information in our blog and help articles.
- The most reliable way to be notified when booking opens is to set a booking alert.