European teenagers might find their summer travel plans to be cheaper than ever this year. The DiscoverEU initiative is offering 18-year-old citizens of Europe the chance to travel by rail, for free, to one or more EU countries. There are 20,000 passes available, and successful applicants must take their trip — not exceeding 30 days in length — between August 1 and January 31, 2020. The program is open only to those born between July 2, 2000, and July 1, 2001, and you must apply before 11:00 AM British Summer Time on May 16. Applications open on May 2.
Successful applicants are expected to become ambassadors for the program and write about their experiences on social media, such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter using #DiscoverEU. Applicants should note that while the EU will pay for transport in full, it will not cover the cost of accommodation, travel insurance, or make any itinerary arrangements. According to the website, the promotion is designed to “give you the chance to meet like-minded travellers, become more independent and confident as well as explore your EU identity.”
Tibor Navracsics, European commissioner for education, culture, youth, and sports said he hopes the DiscoverEU giveaway will “inspire young people to become engaged in their communities and become ambassadors for Europe. Whether it’s voting in the European Parliament elections, encouraging their peers to do the same, or working with us to build lively societies”.
Navracsics wants to eventually make the competition permanent and is asking for $782 million from the EU budget to fund tickets for 1.5 million teenagers over the next seven years.
Although the UK is planned to leave the EU this fall, British teenagers are able to apply for the DiscoverEU free rail pass and enjoy traveling freely around Europe before things change forever for UK citizens.
You can apply for the tickets individually or as a group of up to five people. To apply, fill out an online application, including a short quiz, and answer a subsidiary question. A selection panel will award the tickets accordingly.
H/T: The Guardian