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

Country

Booking Horizon

Austria
3 months
Belgium
3 months
France
3 months with seasonal variation
Germany 180 days;
Italy 2-6 months, depending on the train type*
Netherlands 3 months
Russia 60 days
Spain Variable*
Switzerland
3 months
Sweden 90 days
United Kingdom 12 weeks (84 days)
* The booking horizon for some trains (particularly those in Spain and Italy) can vary depending on the type of train, route and season e.g. some trains in Spain can be booked two months in advance (60-62 days), others much longer (120 days). In Italy, regional trains can be booked 2 months ahead, while national and international trains may be available 6 months in advance. For this reason, it is challenging for us state when we expect booking to open.

Booking horizon by train

Rail operator and/or train

Route

Booking horizon

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.

Still need help? Contact Us Contact Us