DiscoverEU provides unforgettable travel experiences

free train travel in DiscoverEU porgram free train travel in DiscoverEU porgram pixabay

Over 35,000 individuals aged 18 and 19 from the European Union and associated countries will have the opportunity to travel across Europe by train for free this summer as part of the DiscoverEU program. Applications for free rail tickets are accepted from Tuesday until the end of April.

What will you learn?

1. What countries are included in the DiscoverEU program?
2. What are the eligibility criteria for participating in the free train travel?
3. What are the benefits of participating in the DiscoverEU program?
4. What are the conditions for participating in the DiscoverEU program?
5. What travel opportunities does the DiscoverEU program offer to young Europeans?

Who can benefit from this initiative?

This year's ticket pool is available to individuals born between July 2005 and June 2006, meaning those aged 18 or 19 during the upcoming summer can apply for free rail travel. The European Commission is offering 35,500 free train tickets to young residents of EU and Erasmus+ associated countries, including Iceland, Liechtenstein, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, and Turkey, valid for 30 days between July 1, 2024, and September 30, 2025.

How to get a free ticket?

The application process started at noon on Tuesday and will end at noon on April 30th. To apply, one must complete a quiz with five multiple-choice questions on the DiscoverEU project website, testing general knowledge about the EU, and answer an additional question on the European Youth Portal website. The Commission will select individuals who perform the best and award them tickets.

What does participation in the program offer?

As for the journey itself, winners will not have predetermined destinations and will be able to plan it independently. Organizers also encourage winners to draw inspiration from existing routes, such as traveling to European Capitals of Culture or taking advantage of the DiscoverEU Cultural Route, which connects various cultural sites, from architectural landmarks to theater, fashion, and design. Participants will also receive a card with over 40,000 discounts, including on public transport, cultural events, accommodation, and even meals or participation in sports activities.

For everyone, including people with disabilities

According to the European Commission, the DiscoverEU program is also tailored to the needs of people with disabilities or health issues. Participants can receive funding and the opportunity to travel with accompanying persons. Young Europeans from the most remote regions of the EU, overseas territories, and islands are also encouraged to participate in the program. The emphasis is on sustainable transport, namely trains, but exceptions are made for these individuals, such as airplane tickets to enable them to reach the continent.

Success of the initiative

The European Commission launched the DiscoverEU initiative in June 2018. So far, over a million people have applied to participate, and 284,000 tickets have been distributed. According to Commission surveys, 72% of participants sponsored by the EU had their first train journey outside their country of residence. Many traveled without parents or adult guardians for the first time, with most declaring that they felt more independent as a result. Over two-thirds of respondents admitted that without DiscoverEU, they would not have been able to finance the trip.

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