Irish people aged 18-20 are eligible to apply for free Interrail tickets to travel Europe.
The European Commission today launched a new DiscoverEU competition for free travel rail passes to 60,000 Europeans aged from 18 to 20 years and Irish people can apply for a number of tickets from today.
Applications open today (October 12th) at 12pm and close on October 26th at 12pm for a travel period in 2022, which will be the European Year of Youth.
This application round is open to young Europeans born between July 1st, 2001 and December 31st, 2003. Nineteen and 20 year-olds can also apply after their rounds were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Successful applicants can travel between March 2022 and February 2023 for up to 30 days. All travellers will be offered flexible bookings through a new mobile travel pass.
The departure date can be changed right up until the time of departure while the mobile travel passes have a one-year validity.
Successful applicants can travel alone or in a group of up to five people (all within the eligible age range).
Every Member State is allocated a number of travel passes, based on its population, as a proportion of the overall population of the European Union.
In 2018-2019, 350,000 candidates applied for a total of 70,000 travel passes available: 66 per cent of candidates travelled for the first time by train out of their country of residence.
Participants are encouraged to contact fellow travellers on the official DiscoverEU group online to share experiences and exchange tips, particularly on cultural experiences, or on how to travel digitally and sustainably.
DiscoverEU is an EU initiative based on a proposal from the European Parliament, which secured its funding for 2018 through a Preparatory Action. The initiative focuses on young people turning 18 as this marks a major step towards adulthood.
Ireland South MEP, Deirdre Clune said: “I am delighted that tickets are once again being made available so that young Irish people can discover Europe. The Commission is designating 2022 the European Year of Youth and this is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate this year by travelling and discovering Europe. It has been a very challenging 18 months for everyone and this scheme was a huge success previously with thousands of Irish people applying for tickets. The scheme is a great way to help young Irish people learn about and see other EU countries. There is so much to learn across Europe and a scheme such as this is very welcome in helping young people as they learn and develop.”
Those hoping to travel can apply here.