Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Do i need to validate international train tickets?

Do i need to validate international train tickets?

May 23rd, 2016, 02:55 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 61
Do i need to validate international train tickets?

I'm taking three international trains in Europe in August. I have been advised on other posts on Fodors that if we were getting domestic trains (such as from Paris to Fontainbleau) we would need to stick our ticket in the Composting machine to get it punched/validated before boarding. I know that we have to carry the credit card that we booked the tickets with, and that's fine. My question is, do you have to validate international train tickets before boarding the train? Or can we just print out the A4 tickets we received via email and show them to the conductor with our credit cards and that will be sufficient.

The details of the trains are below if that helps:

Thalys Train Paris - Amsterdam. The date, time and selected seats for the journey are printed on the ticket.

DB Bahn Amsterdam - Berlin. Again, the date, time and selected seats are printed on the ticket. I think it's an IC/EC train, but finding it difficult to understand the ticket as it is in German.

DB Bahn Berlin - Prague. The date, time and selected seats are printed on the ticket. Looks like its an IC/EC train as well.

Thanks in advance for your help!
kiwiabroad3000 is offline  
May 23rd, 2016, 03:23 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 6,047
Only tickets for local trains have to be validated. The international train tickets are valid when presented together with the proof of identity which you have specified - obviously your credit card.

The German train tickets look like this:


Below the line printed in blue, you find below "Fahrt" the specific train in the format ABC 1234

ABC could bei IC for Intercity, EC for Eurocity, ICE for Intercity Express, RB for regional train etc.

1234 is the number of the train.
traveller1959 is offline  
May 23rd, 2016, 03:54 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 7,134
If you have tickets for a specific train on a specific date, you don't need to validate them -- whether they 're international or not. It's only the tickets for use on any local train, that you must compost.

I've never had to show my credit card for using etickets. Just show it to a clerk to get the printed ticket or stick the credit card to retrieve my printed etickets.
Mimar is offline  
May 23rd, 2016, 08:04 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,323
Self-printed tickets do not need to be validated.

Cardboard tickets for any destination must be validated in France.
kerouac is online now  
May 24th, 2016, 02:32 AM
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,210
Not your question, but a useful tip.. check the information board on the platform for the section of platform your carriage will stop at, saves a lot of running when you find your carriage is at the other end of the platform to yourself and they don't stop for long.
Adelaidean is online now  
May 24th, 2016, 08:51 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,427
If you understand what this term validation some people use refers to (I think of it more like in-validating because it means the ticket is used up), then it makes sense when you have to and when you don't. It isn't an issue of domestic ticket versus non-domestic at all.

The point of punching the ticket, which date stamps it, is to show it's been used, which means it cannot be used again nor can you try to get a refund for it, and it's why you do it just before embarking on the train. Train tickets used to be like money in a way, you could turn them in and get a refund or whatever, and some can be used on that same route any time of day (used to be a regular fare ticket was worth even longer than one day in France, as I recall). Now with cheap APEX fares that are nonrefundable, they are worthless in and of themself. Which is why you can just print them, because the money is gone. You could print a hundred copies and it wouldn't make any difference because there can be only one use.

In 2014, they changed TER tickets in France so they were only valid for a week, it used to be good for 60 days, for example. But even now they are good for a week for the same train/line. They reduced it for fraud reasons. If you don't compost it, you could use the same ticket repeatedly. It isn't an issue as to whether it has a specific train listed on it or not, as TER tickets do.

If your ticket is nonrefundable, then it shouldn't need punching. I've never heard of needing a credit card in France except if you want to pick the ticket up from a clerk and don't have it yet. Then you do.

In France, this isn't a secret, it is printed right on the ticket as to whether you need to compost it or not. If you do, it says at the top "billet à composter avant l'accès au train". I don't know what other countries do in that regard as I've only bought special fares. When in doubt, you should be able to figure out by looking at what other people are doing.
Christina is offline  
May 24th, 2016, 10:24 AM
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 264
< It isn't an issue of domestic ticket versus non-domestic at all. <

In Germany, it is.
sla019 is offline  
May 24th, 2016, 09:50 PM
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 631
Hope you do a trip report kiwiabroad3000. We want to do something very similar in 2017.
What airline are you flying with?
tasmangirl is offline  
May 24th, 2016, 10:16 PM
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 2,585
The ticket validation is NOT linked to cheap/refundable or not. Thalys ticket, whatever their kind, are validated by personal, on board. So are ICE tickets - and it is VERY wise to have the creditcard to show, I've been asked for it quite a few times. Now, I have also changed card between purchase and travel and it was no problem, just longer.

I hardly have tickets anymore when traveling in France, I've got a card for Thalys and for SNCF - French at least are pushing towards dematerialized tickets. Composting a card doesn't yet work.

So no prob.
Whathello is offline  
May 25th, 2016, 02:06 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 61
Tasmangirl, we are flying with Emirates one way and Qantas the other. Getting to Europe from New Zealand takes a loooooong time haha. I will be doing a trip report after we return from holidays

Thanks for your advice everyone! Peace of mind now i know that we won't be in any trouble if we board our trains with printed out paper tickets
kiwiabroad3000 is offline  
May 25th, 2016, 02:12 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 76,529
does it ever hurt to validate a ticket that need not be validated?

Check www.seat61.com for relevant info - for general train info also www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

If it don't hurt or alter the ticket to validate it why worry - just do it.
PalenQ is offline  
May 25th, 2016, 08:52 PM
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 631
Have a wonderful time!
I am also in New Zealand and the long flight time to Europe is a bit of a nightmare. However I am not letting that put me off.
Look forward to the trip report.
tasmangirl is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:31 AM.