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Booking alerts and horizons- what are they all about?

Booking alerts and horizons- what are they all about?

Our booking alert is a bit like a lovely railway alarm clock. It wakes you up just in time to book the train ticket you need, and at the best price.

We're are all about broadening our horizons. Both as a company and also with the company we share. Meaning you, our trusted loving customers. Which is why booking horizons and booking alerts are something we want to talk more with you about.

What are booking horizons?

Booking horizons refer to how far in advance train tickets can be booked. It’s the techie term used by train companies. In an ideal world all rail companies would release their tickets on the same day, but of course they don’t. Which is why we have a booking alert facility. If you sign up for an alert on a specific route, on a specific date, our technology kicks in and enables us to notify you when the train is open for booking.

How do I set up a booking alert? 

Search the train journey and dates that you want on our booking page and, if booking hasn’t opened yet, you will get a message recommending that you set up a booking alert. The only condition is that you can’t put in a booking alert for more than a year into the future.

How far in advance can I book trains?

Each provider has a different booking horizon, and these can even vary by train or bus within the same operator. For Eurostar it’s six months, although their seasonal snow and sun offers come as early surprises from time to time. We will always send you emails to alert you to these seasonal treats. The German rail operator Deutsche Bahn and the high-speed Frecciarossa or Frecciargento Italian trains are also both six months. The French national rail operator, SNCF, is only three months for journeys within France, but you have one more month to play with if you are planning to travel on one of their international services. The UK is also three months. 

For high-speed trains that travel across borders within Europe, such as Paris to Venice or Paris to Barcelona, the booking horizon is usually four months. Generally Spain’s domestic train tickets are released just two months in advance and their international trains are sometimes released 3 months ahead. For trains in Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland and Croatia, booking opens only two months before. The list goes on - which is why you can see that booking alerts are a gift from the train gods. Or at least from our travel geeks.

Can I set a booking alert for a return trip?

We recommend setting up separate alerts for each leg of a long distance journey. That way you'll be notified as soon as tickets for each part become available.

What are the benefits of setting a booking alert?

It saves you money because with travel, the earlier you book the cheaper the ticket. It also gives you a flavour of how we work. Our customers were frustrated that every train operator had a different booking horizon and so our travel geeks and tech team responded by creating this rather cool alarm clock that works for all train operators. Simple and cheap train booking is what we are all about.

What do I do if my travel dates change?

Work plans mean you have to change your holiday plans? Your kids have a tantrum and downright refuse to go hiking in the Alps next summer but want to go surfing on the south coast of France instead? Easy peasy, lemon squeezy - just go into your account’s booking alerts page, and change the details. When life throws you lemons, we aim to help you make lemonade. Which reminds us - do you know about the Annual Lemon Festival which takes place in Menton, France, every year in February/March? That will put a real spring in your step, and it’s easy to get to by train too.

If you like this article, you may also enjoy our blogs on Flexible Tickets and Ticket Refunds.

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