Validating rail tickets in europe
In Italy and France, there are little yellow (Italy) and orange (France) machines that operate like old-fashioned time clocks.
I would like to know if I need to have my tickets validated? This puts a date on the pass indicating the start of the period of validity. Each day you use the pass, before you get on the train, fill in the date for that day.
Additionally reservations are required on the SJ High-speed train in Scandinavia and most trains in Spain (Renfe).
Also, some trains require the payment of a surcharge, which includes the compulsory seat reservation.
Onboard, the conductor will still come around and check your ticket.
In Germany, Belgium, and The Netherlands, you just hop on the train and wait for the conductor to punch your ticket.
Night accommodations must be reserved and paid for in advance.