EU again issues free international train passes for youngsters

Eighteen-years-old who would like to spend a summer traveling through more than 30 European countries with a free rail pass can bid for one of the 35 000 tickets on offer from the European Commission until 29 March.

Indeed, since 2018, the European Commission has been launching its spring call for free train travel across Europe on the European Youth website. This time, young people born between 1 July 2004 and 30 June 2005 who have citizenship of one of the EU countries of the Erasmus+ program are eligible.

Almost 1 million applications

Those who register and answer five quiz questions and one shifting question will have a chance to travel for free by train across Europe for up to 30 days between 15 June 2023 and 30 September 2024. In doing so, they will also enjoy discounts on numerous activities, such as cultural visits, accommodation, food, etc.

Through ‘DiscoverEU’, as the program is called, over 212 000 passes have been distributed to 916 000 applicants since 2018. A recent survey showed that for 72% of the successful candidates, it was the first time they had traveled abroad by train. Two in three also stated that they could not have paid for the travel pass without DiscoverEU.

The selection process awards a number of passes for each member state. At the last autumn call in October 2022, nearly 1 200 Belgian youngsters were among the lucky ones out of a total of 47 700 rail passes distributed. This time, 917 Belgian youngsters can enjoy such a train pass. The expected budget for 2023 is 33 million euros.

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