Frequently Asked Questions
A.1 What is DiscoverEU?
DiscoverEU is an initiative of the European Union giving 18-year-olds the opportunity to travel around Europe. By travelling mainly by rail (there are exceptions to allow those living on islands or in remote areas to take part), young people will discover Europe’ stunning landscapes and its endless variety of cities and towns. This journey will also give them the chance to meet like-minded travellers, become more independent and confident as well as explore their EU identity. Young people can apply during the two application rounds taking place each year and the European Union awards the selected ones with a travel pass.
A.2 Who can participate?
DiscoverEU is open exclusively to young people who will be 18 years old on 1 July 2019. This means that young people born between 2 July 2000 (included) and 1 July 2001 (included) are eligible to participate in this initiative. Applications must be submitted through the European Youth Portal during the application period running from Thursday 2 May 2019 12:00 CEST until Thursday 16 May 2019 12:00 CEST.
A.3 Can I participate if I have already travelled with a DiscoverEU travel pass under the application round in November 2018?
Young people who travelled with DiscoverEU under the application round in November 2018 are not eligible to submit a second application. In case they do so, it will be detected at submission stage. If at any stage during the implementation of the initiative, applications from young people who were granted a DiscoverEU travel pass under the November application round are being detected, either by the external contractor designated by the European Commission to take care of the travel bookings or by the European Commission itself, the applicant will be disqualified. However, if you applied and you were not selected in the previous application round in November 2018, and if you are still 18 years old on 1 July 2019, you can participate in this round.
A.4 Why is the initiative only accessible to young people aged 18 years old?
The European Parliament, when establishing this initiative chose to focus on young people turning 18, as this age marks a major step to adulthood and to European citizenship.
A.5 I do not have an e-mail address. Can I apply for DiscoverEU?
If you want to apply, you must have a valid email address. There are many free e-mail providers you can use! Make sure you remember your credentials as communications will be sent to this email address.
A.6 Can a relative or friend older than 18 travel with me?
Yes, as long as they book and pay for the travel costs themselves. However, you are advised not to book tickets or accommodation in advance before your DiscoverEU travel pass is delivered.
A.7 Will preference be given to specific transport operators?
No. The contractor who will book the trips can select any public transport mode and any operators or lines (private cars and chartered buses are, as a general rule, excluded).
A.8 I am waiting for my new passport or ID when I apply. How should I proceed?
When you apply, you can use your current passport or ID, even though it has expired. However, should you be selected, you will need to be in possession of a valid travel document (passport or national ID card) when you will be booking your tickets with the contractor and when you will be travelling in Europe.
If you are selected, we recommend that you wait until you have received your new travel document before confirming your booking. If your passport/ID expires after completion of your booking, make sure to have both your expired and new passport/ID with you when travelling.
A.9 Is there an identity verification if I am selected?
If selected, you will be asked to scan a valid ID (passport, national identity card) using your device’s camera or a webcam.
A.10 What is expected from me as DiscoverEU participant?
The European Commission would like to hear back from the young travellers and encourages them to share their experiences and adventures. That is why, once selected, all participants will become DiscoverEU Ambassadors. They will be invited to report back on their travel experiences, for example through social media tools like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, or by providing a presentation at their school or their local community. A Facebook Group has been set up and participants are welcome to join it.
B. SELECTION PROCEDURE
B.1 What is the application process?
In order to benefit from the initiative, you will need to submit an application for a DiscoverEU travel pass via https://europa.eu/youth/discovereu once the application period is open. The application period will be open from Thursday 2 May 2019 12:00 CEST until Thursday 16 May 2019 12:00 CEST.
If you are travelling in a group and you are the group leader, you must apply first and then provide all your group members with your application code. The group members will have to use this code to join your group online. All group members need to submit their data and be eligible (see rule A1) for DiscoverEU in order to be selected. Please note that you are only allowed to apply once. If you submit two applications or more, only the first application registered in the European Youth Portal will be the one to be considered for selection. Any other application from you (individually or in group) will be blocked.
B.2 How are the young people selected?
The selection of applicants will take place via an online registration tool available on the European Youth Portal, as stated above (see rule B1). Applicants must answer 5 multiple choice quiz questions and 1 subsidiary question. The European Commission will rank the applicants per nationality following their replies to the quiz and the subsidiary question. At least 20,000 young people will be selected among the applicants who have answered correctly to the quiz, and whose answer came closest to the subsidiary question. Young people with special needs (e.g. reduced mobility, visual impairments, etc.) will be entitled to receive appropriate additional support.
B.3 How do I know if I am awarded with a DiscoverEU pass or if I am on the reserve list?
After the selection procedure finishes, all group members will receive an email regarding their application. Please keep a copy of your DiscoverEU application code. Do not share your application code (e.g. on social media) except with the authorised contractor from the European Commission. You can check the status of your application on the European Youth Portal. By mid-June all applications who have or have not been selected will receive a notification. If you were not selected, you will be placed on a reserve list and you might be contacted at a later stage in case some other participants decide to withdraw their application.
B.4 Is there a quota per nationality?
The selection will be carried out by nationality in accordance with the number of travel tickets allocated to each country. This allocation is based on the share of each country’s population compared to the overall population of the European Union. In case there are fewer applicants for certain countries than the allocated travel tickets foreseen, the remaining travel tickets will be distributed equally among the countries where there are more participants than the quota foreseen.
B.5 Can I travel alone or with a group of friends?
Participants may travel either alone or in a group of maximum 5 people. You can indicate this in your application form. In the case you decide to travel as part of a group, a group leader should be appointed on the group's behalf before you submit any application. The group leader fills in the application form, including the quiz questions and the subsidiary question. S/he will receive a code when submitting the application, which s/he should then communicate to the maximum 4 additional group members in order to allow them to register. Based on the code provided by the group leader, the remaining group members can then register online and fill in their personal data.
B.6 Will all group members be selected?
Yes, a group application will be assessed as one single application. Please note that only the ones who register online (and are eligible to participate) before the end of the application period will be taken into account for the selection.
B.7 I applied as a group leader, but only I have been awarded. How come?
If you have been awarded as a group leader but your group members have not been awarded, this means that your group members did not complete their application on time via the European Youth Portal platform, or that they did not meet the eligibility criteria. Only the group members who have submitted their application by the deadline via the code provided by the group leader can participate in DiscoverEU.
B.8 What if I indicate that I would like to travel alone but then I would like my friends to join me?
All participants are potential group leaders. As a participant, you are able to add up to 4 friends who match the eligibility of DiscoverEU even if you have indicated in the application form that you want to travel alone. In order to enable your friends to join your application, you will have to provide them with your application code that you will receive via email. They will have to apply during the application period and be eligible to participate.
B.9 What if I have been selected and I want to withdraw my participation?
All you have to do is to send an email with your code to the external contractor who is designated by the European Commission to arrange the tickets. This must be done before booking your trip via the booking form. Your ticket will be given to someone on the reserve list. The contractor's email address will be communicated to you if you are selected.
B.10 I am awarded but cannot go. Can my friend(s) go without me? Can I transfer the ticket to someone else?
If you have been awarded a pass but your plans changed, the only thing you can do is withdraw your participation (see rule B9) as you cannot transfer the award decision to one of your friends. Furthermore, each travel ticket will have the name of the participant printed on it, it cannot be changed or transferred to another person.
If a member of your group (or the group leader) cancels her/his travel plans this decision will not affect the group and the remaining group members can still travel as planned. The person who withdrew cannot be replaced and the unused travel ticket will be distributed to a participant on the reserve list.
B.11 Can I change plans and travel alone when I am part of a group?
If you have been selected as a member of a group, but your plans have changed and you would like to travel alone, you can do this. You should simply complete the booking form as an individual with your personal code. No further action is required and the other group members will not be affected.
B.12 Is the travel ticket transferable to another person?
No. Each travel ticket will be nominative and cannot be transferred to another person under any circumstance. The name on the travel ticket cannot be changed.
B.13 I am on the reserve list. What does it mean?
All unselected applications are placed on a reserve list, organised per nationality and in accordance to their replies to the quiz and the subsidiary question. When a selected applicant withdraws their application or if the value of the tickets awarded is lower than the available budget, the European Commission may award tickets to applicants placed on the reserve list up to the complete use of the available budget. Inclusion on the reserve list does not create any entitlement vis-à-vis the European Commission and does not guarantee to be selected at a later stage.
Non-selected applicants on the reserve list can be contacted with an invitation to register on the booking platform. Those contacted towards the end of the project, due to being on the reserve list, cannot claim reimbursement for travels made prior to the invitation, nor request an extension of the travel period.
B.14 I am on the reserve list, what are my chances of being offered a travel ticket?
This depends on two factors, one is how many awarded participants do not confirm their place (participants on the reserve list are offered tickets that are unused by other awarded participants that withdraw from the competition) and two, the amount of tickets that are awarded in your country. The European Commission may also award tickets to applicants placed on the reserve list up to complete use of available funds.
C.1 How many days can I travel?
You can travel between a minimum of 1 day and up to one month inclusive. The journey must take place between 1 August 2019 (first start date) and 31 January 2020 (last return date).
C.2 How many countries can I visit?
This depends on the option chosen:
- fixed option: the number of countries is limited to 2
- flexible option: the number of countries is not limited. However, the number of travelling days is limited; e.g. one can be abroad for up to one month but within this one month not more than a certain number of days can be used for actual travelling (e.g. in a train).
More information on the 2 options can be found in the questions below. The contractor will also give more information if you are selected.
C.3 Can I start travelling from another country?
Yes, it is possible to start your travel from a country that is not your country of residence. However, the cost of going to that country/location is not covered by the DiscoverEU and it is your responsibility.
C.4 Can I travel with public transportation using my pass?
Public transportation (or private transport) is not included in the DiscoverEU pass. You should look yourself for information about the means of transportation, cost of tickets etc. in all your travel destinations before or during your trip.
When choosing a flexible DiscoverEU pass, you can benefit from discounts on City Cards in a number of cities. You can find out more on these benefits at the following link.
C.5 What is a Flexible Travel Pass option?
With a flexible travel pass, you will be able to travel over a period of 1 month, and travel physically on a set number of travel days (meaning you can spend a set number of days on trains within this 1-month period).
This flexible travel pass lets you ride on trains in almost all the European Union Member States. You can travel at your own pace, and you can travel on trains operated by European railway companies.
The dates on which you travel remain flexible. However, note that the flexible travel pass will have a ‘Start Date’. From this ‘Start Date’ on, your travel pass will be valid for one month. You can change your departure date, but keep in mind that you might lose some days of the validity of your pass. Once you book your ticket, it is not possible to change the start date of your pass.
You can use your travel pass as a normal ticket, so you simply board the train. Many high-speed trains, like the TGV or AVE trains, and Overnight Sleeper trains can be taken with this ticket, however you will have to pay additional ‘pass holder supplements’ for seat / sleeper berth reservations on them.
The flexible travel pass is designed to offer you the best of rail travel abroad, therefore you cannot use it to travel within your own country. The flexible travel pass is valid for travel in your country of residence on your first and last travel day. This means you can start and end your DiscoverEU adventure at a railway station that is local to you.
C.6 What is a Fixed travel option?
With fixed travel tickets, you have to select fixed travel dates which cannot be modified once your booking form has been submitted. Fixed travel tickets will be booked in economy class. The number of countries you can visit with this option is limited to 2. There are no reservation costs related to fixed travel tickets, but there is a budget limit (EUR 260).
Depending on your chosen destination(s), the fixed travel option will allow you to visit only two countries which are Member States of the European Union at the time of the award decision. Therefore, this option might be unsuitable if you want to visit several countries. Conversely, if you decide to visit only one country, which is a country neighbouring your own, the fixed travel option is a good solution.
Once you have applied for the 'fixed' travel option, the contractor designated by the European Commission to arrange the travel bookings will provide you with the confirmation of the feasibility of your itinerary within 5 working days. In case the 'fixed' travel option proves unsuitable to accommodate your travel plans, the contractor will recommend opting for the flexible option.
To have a clearer idea of the feasibility of your travel plans, we recommend that you look into the website Rome2Rio, which can give you a good idea on whether your itinerary is feasible by rail, how many stops and trains you would need to take, how much time you can expect to travel via trains and a rough estimate of prices.
C.7 What is the difference between the fixed and the flexible travel option?
Flexible travel option
Fixed travel option
The dates on which you travel remain flexible. However, note that the Travel Pass will have a ‘start date’. From this start date on, your Travel Pass will be valid for one month.
You will have to select fixed travel dates which cannot be modified once your booking form has been submitted.
You will be able to travel over a period of one month, and travel physically on a set number of days (this means that you can spend a set number of days -7 in total- on trains within this month). The flexible travel option allows you to travel to many EU countries!
You will be able to visit up to 2 countries which are Member States of the European Union at the time of the award decision (this does not include your starting country and it also does not include the countries you will cross) over a period of maximum one month.
The selected applicants can travel on consecutive days, or they can spread them out during the travel period. They are allowed to travel on trains operated by European railway companies as well as on ferries and other means of transport selected by the external contractor designated by the European Commission.
Please note that certain trains may require reservation. In these cases, selected applicants must make the train reservations themselves before or during their travel period. No supplements for train reservations or other costs encountered during the journey will be covered by the European Commission.
There is a budget limit of 260€ that needs to be respected. So make sure your requested itinerary is feasible within this budget.
C.8 Will young people always travel by rail?
Participants will, as a basic rule, travel by rail. Nevertheless, in order to ensure the widest possible access, DiscoverEU will offer alternative transport modes, such as buses or ferries, taking into account environmental, time, and distance considerations. The use of flights will only be considered in exceptional cases.
- Those residing in the nine outermost regions (i.e. Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, la Réunion, Mayotte, Saint-Martin, Madeira, Azores and Canary Islands);
- Those residing in countries/regions which are not accessible by the previous mentioned transportation means (rail networks, ferries and buses);
- When participants have to travel more than 18 hours in order to cross the border of their departure country;
- For young people with reduced mobility or disabilities. This will be assessed on a case by case basis.
Only one round trip from/to the country of origin can be a flight. Afterwards, the young people are required to travel by rail or other alternative modes (except private cars and chartered buses).
C.9 What if I want to go to the Baltic States?
Once you have been selected and you have received the link to the online booking form sent by the contractor designated by the European Commission to arrange your travel trip, you can choose one of those 2 options:
- Fixed travel option: you specify which cities you want to travel to. Simply include the Baltic State cities you would like to see in your request. Please be aware that for fixed travel, your desired trip can be realised only within the stated DiscoverEU budget of EUR 260.
- Flexible travel option: you can travel with the flexible option in combination with a Baltic State country. To do this, reach out to the contractor designated by the European Commission to arrange the travel trips. In the email, let the contractor know that you would like to opt for the flexible option in combination with visiting the Baltics. Please make sure to contact the contractor about 20 days prior to your departure date.
C.10 Can I travel within one country to multiple locations?
You can travel to as many cities and towns within one country as you like, as long as it is not your home country, and the number of travel days is not exceeded.
C.11 What if I have to cancel my trip or need to modify it?
Any potential cancellation or modification fees will need to be covered by yourself. There is no extra budget foreseen to cover expenditures of this kind, whatever the reason. Different private travel insurances are available to cover such expenditures.
If you wish to cancel your participation, please send an email to the contractor. In this case an applicant on the reserve list will receive your ticket. The contractor's email address will be communicated to you if you are selected.
If you have chosen the flexible travel option and you want to make any modifications, there is no need to inform the booking contractor. For the fixed travel option, you will need to write to the contractor.
C.12 How can I prepare my travel?
On the European Youth Portal, you can find practical information and useful tips about travelling in Europe. You must possess a valid travel document/ticket during your journey. Anything related to such a document (validity, etc.) is your responsibility.
You are legally obliged to be in the possession of a valid passport or ID card when travelling in the European Union. Participants should also ensure they possess a valid health insurance for the duration of their travels. Anything related to such a document (validity, etc.) is your responsibility.
C.13 What are my passenger rights?
To be informed on your passenger rights, have a look at the European Youth Portal’s travelling section. Young people with disabilities can familiarise themselves with their rights via this link. Be aware that all provisions for those with disabilities will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, making it easier to plan their trip.
C.14 Technical issues with your booking form
In the event of technical issues, such as not receiving a confirmation code/email or details submitted incorrectly, please contact the contractor responsible for the booking. The contractor's email address will be communicated to you if you are selected. If you do not know the email address, you can reach out to the contractor by sending a private message to European Youth on Facebook.
C.15 We are a group and someone needs to go home earlier. Can the rest of the group continue their journey?
Yes, this is possible when choosing the flexible travel option.
C.16 Can I travel in a group, even though I am awarded as an individual?
When choosing the flexible travel option, you are free to travel in a group, as well as change groups and even direction at any point during your trip.
During the booking process make sure to put the same start date as the rest of the participants you want to travel with.
The booking form automatically updates each day at midnight, and allows booking earliest 14 days prior to the date of departure. Therefore, to be safe, we recommend all group members to fill in the booking form approximately at the same time. Changing the departure date after booking is not possible.
C.17 Should I book the travel tickets myself?
No. You shall not book your travel tickets yourself, as tickets purchased separately shall not be reimbursed. Travel tickets will exclusively be booked, purchased and delivered by the external contractor designated by the European Commission.
You should also consider not booking and paying for any accommodation until you are sure about your travel dates and have received your pass.
C.18 What is the value of the travel tickets?
The basic rule is that each participant will be entitled to a travel ticket worth EUR 260. Travel will only be in 2nd class. However, this amount can be higher in the exceptional cases referred to below:
- For participants travelling from the outermost regions (e.g. Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, la Réunion, Mayotte, Saint-Martin, Madeira, Azores and Canary Islands) to mainland Europe. Once the participants land on the continent, the basic rule applies.
- For participants outside the above-mentioned outermost regions who are entitled to travel by plane to mainland Europe. Once on the continent, the basic rule applies.
- In some specific situations to be assessed on a case-by-case basis (e.g. selected applicants choosing the flexible option and traveling from/to the Baltic States, or for selected applicants residing in Ireland and other islands part of the EU) an extra journey by train/ferry/bus, might be covered.
- For participants with reduced mobility and/or special needs. Costs to be assessed on a case by case basis according to their needs. Costs of special assistance (accompanying person, dog for visually impaired participants, etc.) might be covered based on the appropriate documents for justifying their special needs, as required under the national law of the residence Member State.
C.19 What are reservations costs, and are they included (flexible option)?
No, reservation costs are not included in the flexible option pass. Trains reservations are required for most high-speed trains, international trains, some InterCity’s, and all overnight trains. However, with your Pass, you can easily travel without reservations on many local and regional trains. Furthermore, it is often possible to avoid reservations by taking slower or alternative routes with regional trains instead. With the fixed travel option, reservations are included (see rule C5).
C.20 Are any of the following expenses included: travel insurance, accommodation, subsistence or any other expenses related to the trip?
No. The initiative does not include any travel insurance. Insurance coverage is the sole responsibility of the participant. Moreover, accommodation and subsistence costs, as well as, travel expenses created by the participants' preferences (e.g. starting your travel from another country) or any other expenses related to the trip shall be covered only by the participants.
The participants should acquire appropriate health and travel insurance for the whole duration of the trip. Basic health insurance coverage is usually provided by the participant's national health insurance during his/her stay in another EU country through the European Insurance Card. However, the coverage of the European Health Insurance Card or private health insurance may not include all possible cases, especially if repatriation or specific medical intervention is needed. In that case, a complimentary private insurance is advisable.
C.21 Will the European Commission help participants with booking accommodation?
No. Booking accommodation is the sole responsibility of the participant. It is highly recommended not to book accommodation until you have received your travel pass.
D. RELEVANT CONTACT POINTS
D.1 Where can I find more information on the rules of the DiscoverEU contest?
The reference document for setting the rules of the DiscoverEU contest is published on the European Youth Portal at the following link: https://europa.eu/youth/discovereu/rules_en
D.2 Where can I find more information on the logistics of the travel conditions?
If you are selected, you will receive the address of a platform where you will find the booking form and the FAQs on all the travel logistical aspects. You will also receive the contact details of the contractor. Phone contact is not supported and therefore all communication happens in writing.
In case you need information, support or advice during your journey, there are several contact points you can get in touch with:
If things go wrong
- European Emergency Number: 112, to contact the emergency services in any EU country from any phone, fixed or mobile, dial 112, free of charge.
- In case of loss or theft, you need to report back to the local police. You will need to enclose the police report when making your insurance or compensation claim. Cancel any lost or stolen debit or credit cards immediately. If your passport has been stolen, report it to your country’s consulate or embassy as well as to the police.
Getting in touch with the EU
- On the phone or by email: Eurodesk is a youth information service that answers your questions about European opportunities (e.g. European programmes for volunteering, studying or doing an internship abroad). Please note that they will not be able to help with technical issues related to the DiscoverEU trip. Those will be dealt with by the travel agency when they will contact you (if you are selected). You can contact the closest Eurodesk infopoint via the interactive map (https://map.eurodesk.eu/).
- Online: Information in all the official languages of the European Union is available on the Europa website.
- In person: All over Europe there are hundreds of local European Union information centres. You can find the address of the nearest centre.
- On the phone or by email: Europe Direct is a service which answers your questions about the European Union. You can contact this service by Freephone: 00 800 67 89 10 11 (certain mobile phone operators do not allow access to 00800 numbers or may charge for these calls) or by email.
- Read about Europe: Publications about the EU are only a click away on the EU Bookshop website.
- European Commission Representations: The representation offices act as the European Commission’s voice and monitor public opinion in their host country. They provide information on the EU through events and the distribution of brochures, leaflets and other materials.
- European Parliament Information Offices: Their role is to raise awareness about the European Parliament and the European Union and to encourage people to vote in European parliamentary elections.