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Five Things to Know For Your First Eurostar Trip

Travel blogger on Eurostar

When I go to an airport, I arrive with hours to spare, laptop out and ready for the security checks, nothing over 100ml in my cosmetics bag. When I get a train, I rock up with maybe 15 minutes to spare so I can grab my ticket and a coffee and leg it to the platform, forever surprised that I'm running late again. So I had no idea how to prepare for my first trip on the Eurostar*.

My journey to Belgium from St Pancras was one of the most comfortable, simple and enjoyable travel experiences I've ever had. If you're prepping for your first Eurostar, here's everything you need to know:


Luggage restrictions aren't the same as flying


St Pancras Eurostar departure gate

Eurostar allows you to take two pieces of luggage plus a handbag/laptop (although most people are only travelling for work or for a weekend so they have a lot less than that), and there's no weight limit. I didn't have to remove my laptop for the scanners, and I was able to take full-size cosmetics without taking them out of my bag as well. There's still x-rays, because security is much simpler and easy to go through.

Don't expect an airport style departure lounge


Eurostar platform at St Pancras

Once you're through security, the waiting area is pretty simple. There's normally more than one train getting ready for departure and there is a huge amount of people all heading to the platform at the same time. St Pancras station itself caters for everything you might need, so do yourself a favour and get a decent meal out there before going to passport control.

Wifi is free throughout the journey


Eurostar standard class carriage

It runs on a 4G signal so when you go through Channel Tunnel, it pretty much drops out, but it means when you arrive in France you don't have to start racking up those roaming charges to tweet something like, 'I WENT UNDER THE SEA ON A TRAIN AND NOW I'M IN A DIFFERENT COUNTRY', because that is enough to get super excited by!

The staff on the train tweet live updates


This is actually genius. Whoever is the conductor on your service, they have their own dedicated Twitter account to tweet live updates to the service including estimated times of arrival to each stop, weather forecasts and local times. It's much quicker than contacting Eurostar themselves when on the service and means that you're always seeing info that's relevant for your journey in particular.

The train is so much nicer than anything in the UK


Eurostar train

The seats are wide, there's decent leg room and everyone has a UK and European plug socket. The journey is smooth and the time spent in the tunnel passes extremely quickly. It takes you from city centre to city centre instead of arriving and then having to travel for an hour to get to your actual destination.

It is the most stress-free journey I've ever experienced (despite the delays on the way home), and I'm absolutely sold on international train travel over flying wherever possible from now on.

*My Eurostar ticket was courtesy of Visit Flanders but all opinions and words are my own

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Five Things to Know For Your First Eurostar Trip

11 comments

  1. I went on the Eurostar for the first time earlier this year. I was shocked by how fast it moved and how quick the departure process was.

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  2. Charlie Elliott10 July 2017 at 13:54

    It's just so convenient, isn't it?! I'm totally sold.
    Cx

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  3. I've still not done Eurostar and I am desperate for a trip, this was so useful

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  4. and now no more roaming charges either, wahoo! (for now)

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  5. Charlie Elliott11 July 2017 at 15:55

    Honestly, I love it! I always enjoy train journeys once I'm abroad but hate them in the UK, so this was such a surprise!
    Cx

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  6. Charlie Elliott11 July 2017 at 15:56

    Because have you actually been on Eurostar if you don't Instagram it?!
    Cx

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  7. I didn't know about the twitter accounts!! x

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  8. Charlie Elliott13 July 2017 at 09:58

    Neither did I until I saw it advertised on the screens on the train itself. Such a clever idea!
    Cx

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  9. I've never been on the Eurostar but have heard its a great way to travel, certainly seems a lot less fussy that flying! My only problem is that it's take me twice the journey to include getting to London - they need a northern stop! :D

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  10. Charlie Elliott17 July 2017 at 11:16

    Ah yes, that's not ideal! It's great for me being London based, it only takes me 20mins to get to St Pancras from home whereas any airport in the city takes me at least 90mins to get to!
    Cx

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  11. Well, I had a very different experience. My last journey with Eurostar was so bad I promised myself I would fly the next time I have to go to London.

    First of all, there was a one-hour waiting line at the check-in. I could not be more than 45 minutes early at the station with my child (aged of 4) so the Eurostar staff closed the check-in while I was in the queue, forcing me to pay to buy another ticket. The next available seat was a 1st class ticket, 8 hours later!

    The staff was very unfriendly and did not take into account (at all) that my child had school the next morning. In the same time, a couple who were behind us in the queue, were allowed to run to board the train, and no one could tell us why it was different for us.

    So, that’s just my experience but my trip would have been shorter if I had flown with Easyjet.

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Thank you for your comment, I read every single one and they always make my day!

Don't forget you can tweet me at @charlienin or email at charliedistracted@gmail.com if you have any other questions.

Cx

As of 20th November 2014, any products marked with an asterisk (*) have been provided as a sample for unbiased review