Touring Europe without spending a euro on transport is possible. The European Commission offers up to 60,000 free train vouchers to young Europeans between 18 and 20 years old to travel around the European continent through the DiscoverEU 2021 programme. The deadline for submission opened last Tuesday 12 and will be open until October 26 at 12.00 hours.
In this way, the initiative has extended this 2021 its age range, which was previously aimed only at 18-year-olds, since the previous rounds were suspended because of Covid-19. Exceptionally, those born in the United Kingdom may also participate, even if they are no longer part of the European Union (EU). The trip through this continent, with characteristics similar to that of an interrail, can be made between March 1, 2022 and February 28, 2023, for a maximum period of one month.
They can also choose to travel alone or in groups of up to 5 people. In case this last option is chosen, the members that make up the group do not have to participate in the contest, only the head of the same, although they do have to fill in the form with their personal data for the candidacy to be valid. They also have to meet the same admission criteria.
The DiscoverEU experience is back stronger than ever, coinciding with the European Year of Youth in 2022. To this initiative are added other proposals by the Spanish Government to help and promote young people, such as the youth bonus for rent of 250 euros per month for 2 years or the cultural bonus for young people who turn 18 in 2022 composed of 400 euros to spend on cultural activities.
What is the DiscoverEU experience?
The DiscoverEU experience is about touring Europe by train. Those selected will have to start the trip in a country that is a member of the European Union (EU) and include in the route at least another European country other than the one of departure. The trip will have a maximum duration of 30 days, between March 1, 2022 and February 28, 2023.
As for how to travel, young people can decide if they want train vouchers for a flexible or fixed trip. The flexible pass has no limit of countries or cities of destination although it does have days, having a validity of one month at the time of activation and being able to only travel for free on specific days, although in them they can take as many trains as they want.
On the other hand, with the fixed voucher you can only visit a maximum of two EU member countries or two cities in the same country, all on fixed dates that once reserved cannot be modified.
To reserve the tickets, the European Commission will appoint a contractor to book, purchase and deliver the candidates’ travel vouchers. This contractor will also be in charge of contacting the selected people, providing them with an online form to receive these travel vouchers, which will have a maximum budget of 258 euros except in exceptional cases.
In this regard, it should be noted that the European Commission does not cover any supplement or extra expense during the trip such as accommodation or meals, dealing only with transport. In relation to the itinerary, candidates who want to travel to Cyprus, Malta and Ireland will have to inform in advance.
What is the selection process for DiscoverEU 2021?
Young people who wish to participate in DiscoverEU 2021 have to complete a questionnaire type test on general knowledge of the European Union and other initiatives that have been developed in it for this group. To this exam will also be added an additional question, where they will have to estimate how many people will participate in this edition.
In this way, the candidates who are closest to the real figure will receive more points in the classification, which is where the winners will come from until the 60,000 stipulated bonuses are exhausted.