Top Tips For Travelling By Eurostar!
Yesterday we travelled to Paris by Eurostar from St Pancras, London…it was our first time travelling with them and there is no doubt it is a quick, convenient and comfortable way of visiting one of my favourite cities. We found out some things we wished we had known prior to travelling as well, so here are 8 tips for travelling by Eurostar!
Book In Advance!
The price difference is pretty massive. For an example I did a quick search today which revealed you could take a return trip to Paris from London on a Tuesday in September for as little as £58. Making the same return trip on Tuesday next week costs an eye watering £224. Trains leaving early and returning late are the best value…which is a result as you will want as much time as possible to explore!
Check other travel sites
Booking directly through the Eurostar website is not always the source for the best price tickets. A quick search on Lastminute.com for the same return journey on Tuesday next week produced a price £20 cheaper compared to the Eurostar website. Last Minute have their own dedicated section for Eurostar as well…definitely worth checking out. TripAdvisor also have guided and unguided tours which can be found on their things to do section searching under London, again cheaper at shorter notice with some added extras included in the cost. A guided tour might be for you if it is your first time visiting beautiful Paris!
Allow plenty of time
So the check in procedure is that on arrival at the station you scan your ticket which allows you through the initial gate and then there is the security check, you then go through passport control. At St Pancras this took a long time, the queues were pretty long already and then there was a problem with the e-borders gates and they had to be reset, this all meant that some people almost missed their trains. They say that the gates close 30 minutes prior to departure but I would definitely aim to get to the initial gate an hour before departure so things aren’t too panicky!
Food & Drink
There is food and drink sold on board the train, some sandwiches, ham and cheese toasties plus some other things. There isn’t a huge selection though and we were on the first train of the day and things began to sell out before we had even left England! There also isn’t a big selection of places to buy stuff from after the security checks. So if you are banking on eating get something from one of the many cafes inside the station.
Eurostar say that they provide Wi-Fi on board the trains and they admit that speeds can vary as they use 3G and 4G networks along the route, they even provide a map detailing where reception/speeds are good and bad. On both of our journeys we found the Wi-Fi useless, we could connect but I couldn’t even download my emails, load the news feed on Twitter or visit the BBC website. I was better off using my own phones mobile data, but the reception is patchy along the route…and in the tunnels. Don’t bank on getting work done if you need to use the internet!
We drove to St Pancras Station, there is a pretty big car park there and we were on the second train of the day so arrived pretty early so there were plenty of spaces, however it can become full at peak times. If you want to be sure of getting a space you can pre-book on the St Pancras station website. We payed for 24 hours which was around £34.
On the standard seating there are no chargers for mobile devices, you can pay more for upgrades on the seats some of which include charging points. If you are going to need to charge devices take a mobile charger, I use one by Anker which you can connect 2 devices to by USB and charges an Iphone 6 times, a brilliant bit of kit, you can get one on Amazon here.
Each adult is allowed two pieces of luggage up to 85 cm long and there is no weight limit, it just has to be able to be carried by the passenger on and off the train safely and placed in the storage racks or over the seats. You are also able to take one extra small piece of hand luggage like a laptop case or handbag. Children are allowed one piece of luggage and one piece of small hand luggage. There are no restrictions on liquids, but there are obviously rules about carrying dangerous items.
I would definitely travel by Eurostar again, but unless it was unavoidable, I would book in advance to get the cheaper prices. You can connect by rail to loads of places around Europe and taking only 2 and a half hours it allows you to really make the most of your time in Paris or wherever you are heading off to!
Whilst in Paris, on a tour we organised with support from TripAdvisor, we had an awesome day! It was well organised and everything ran really smoothly, check back soon to find out about everything we got up to…including visiting the incredible Musee d’Orsay!
Thanks for reading….Happy Travels!