The 7PM rule
The 7 PM rule – Overview
You may or may not have heard of it: the 7 PM rule. This extremely convenient touch of Interrail magic makes traveling over-night so much more appealing. If you have bought, or going to buy, an Interrail pass that is valid for a certain amount of non-consecutive days you probably want to use those travel days to their fullest. However, if you want to travel a great distance you are mostly bound to travel on multiple days, thereby quickly reducing your travel days. Now if you want to be precious with your travel days, be sure to understand the 7 PM rule to it’s fullest – as it is quite complicating!
The 7 PM rule – Details
With the 7 PM rule you are allowed to travel over-night while using only a single travel day. If you board any train, that departs before or on 23:59, you only have to write down the day of departure of your trip and you can stay on the train for as long as you want! This is especially useful if you have an Interrail or Eurail pass with a certain amount of travel days within a period.
This rule does not allow for transfers. And any train that departs after 12 AM doesn’t count! All trains that you take must fall within the validity of your Interrail pass. Do take your time to explore the 7 PM rule. Firstly, because it’s awesome. Secondly, it’s convenient. Thirdly, it safes you travel days. And lastly, traveling over night is fun! If you have a pass with consecutive travel days than you can forget this section completely. To make this rule more clear, see below some examples of using the 7 PM rule and how not to use it.
The 7 PM rule – Example 1
I want to travel from Budapest to Bucharest, however I also wants to spend as much time in Budapestas possible. There are two possibilities. One train departs at 07:10 in the morning and arrives at 23:22 in Bucharest. The other train departs at 19:10 in the evening and arrives at 12:30 in the afternoon in Bucharest. Both options are possible with a single travel day. By taking the Night-Train I only need to write down one travel day, namely the day of departure. Furthermore I save money on accomodation and I have more time left to look around Budapest!
The 7 PM rule – Example 2
I want to travel from Amsterdam to Vienna, and I want to do that over-night. Therefore I take the train from Amsterdam to Düsseldorf, where I make a transfer on the Night-Train to Vienna. I can make use of the 7 PM rule because the Night-Train departs before 00:00, and I also don’t need any transfers to reach Vienna. Another possibility would be to travel during the day and simply admire the constantly changing landscape.
The 7 PM rule – Update in 2019
In 2019 the 7 PM rule changed. Before 2019 you needed to write down the day of arrival, rather than the day of departure. This change of rule makes it more easy for travelers and train personnel to correctly interpret the 7 PM rule. Rather than taking a Night-Train and having a whole day of traveling ahead of you, you can now travel towards the Night-Train and make use of the Night-Train for as long as you can!
You can now make extremely long journeys with a single travel day, such as Zurich-Budapest, Amsterdam-Lisbon, Berlin-Palermo et cetera. Some trips are not worth spending over-night, as you do not want to miss out on the stunning views. But it’s good to realize these possibilities. Have fun planning these massive distances! Do you want to know more about Night-Trains? Have a look at the Night-Trains section.