In Europe, a “cultural enrichment plan (that) could change young lives, and maybe even revive the heyday of the Interrail train pass.”

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Spring, 1985.

There would be a round-trip flight on the then-cheapest Icelandair from Chicago to Luxembourg, returning 88 days after departure. Ground transport would be a three-month Eurailpass. Convinced that it would be my sole and only trip to Europe, a kamikaze itinerary was planned, incorporating nights on trains sleeping in seats, and crashed on the decks of boats. I studied every available trick to skim cash and expand the duration of my experience.

Way back when, the Eurail Youthpass (2nd class only; a5 years of age and under) was the equivalent of the Interrail. The latter remains available only to residents of the participating European countries.

Those were the days, my friend.

The EU Is Giving Teens a Month of Free Train Travel Across Europe, by Feargus O’Sullivan (CityLab)

This summer, the European Commission is offering 18-year-old European residents a free Interrail ticket—a rail pass that permits travel across 30 European countries for a month. What’s more, they’re not just offering it to one or two teenagers. With a budget of €12 million for this year, the commission plans to fund trips for 20,000 to 30,000 young people, with the possibility of more passes in the years to come. Exact details of how to apply and who will be get an Interrail pass, worth up to €510 ($628), will be released in the next few months. But one thing is already clear: A large town’s worth of European 18-year-olds will be able to travel from Lapland to Lisbon by train this summer, and the price they will pay is precisely nothing.

Why fund a bunch of free trips? The intent is to broaden young participants’ horizons and hopefully instill some sense of Europe’s connections.

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