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15 Days on Eurail Pass in S. Europe...Do-able??

15 Days on Eurail Pass in S. Europe...Do-able??

Jan 11th, 2004, 10:29 PM
  #1  
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15 Days on Eurail Pass in S. Europe...Do-able??

I'm planning my european trip and seriously looking into the Eurail pass for myself and a friend. We are college aged males, and while I've seen alot of Europe already, my friend hasn't. The Eurail pass seems like a fun and adventurous way to "backpack" it through Europe.

We are looking into a 15 day consecutive Eurail pass, but I'm wondering if that is enough time. We will be based out of Dusseldorf, Germany, and the furthest point of venture will be Rome. On the way I am thinking we can see destinations in Bavaria, Switzerland, Austria, and all through Italy, and POSSIBLY (i realize the distance here) cutting up through Berlin before heading back to Dusseldorf.

Is this feasable in 15 days consecutive, if we try to do the long train trips overnight? The main focus would be Italy (probably at least half of the pass spent there).

I am thinking that once you factor in the travel time, 15 might not be enough to get a good enough visit in the major cities.

Thanks.
robkoval is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 05:16 AM
  #2  
JonJon
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You can use www.railsaver.com or www.railpass.com if you get to the point of wondering if point to point tickets would be cheaper, although it sounds as if a pass might be better for you since the more you use them the more economical they become.
If you have a very good idea of which particular countries you want to visit you might do better, money-wise buying a pass that covers only the countries you'll be in (Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and Austria???) which you can also do.
I personally like passes since they eliminate the need to buy any tickets (with rare exceptions in countries like Switzerland), validating tickets, using machines, standing in lines, etc. But I would be cautious as to which agency you use to purchase them. If you can find one that will throw in the shipping for free, or even better, a Thomas Cook timetable I think that would be ideal.
Have a great trip.
 
Jan 12th, 2004, 05:23 AM
  #3  
ira
 
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Hi rob,

In addition to JonJon's advice, keep in mind that the railpass does not include reservations when required. Figure about 10E each.
ira is online now  
Jan 12th, 2004, 05:51 AM
  #4  
 
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to be blunt, I'd do a german rail pass and stick to Germany, dusseldorf, berlin, munich, the Rhine and Mosel, garmish or berchtesgaden, a few other towns and your entire 15 days will have been well spent. And you can get a german pass for the 15 days for a fraction of what the total eurrail pass would be.
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Jan 12th, 2004, 06:29 AM
  #5  
rex
 
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I partially agree with Earl - - as much as I like Italy - - if you alrady have a good reason that you are starting in Dusseldorf, then you can fill 15 days (in Germany and/or adjacentcountries) and not have to spend so much time as go to all the way to Rome to see a lot of Europe. Realistically, to give Italy less than 5-6 days sems a crime; save it for another trip by itself?

I am also biased against overnight trains because it is not my idea of a a way to spend a night; in that context, I think you can do this (or some other better-chosen) itinerary just as affordably withOUT a rail pas as with. But if I was traveling with a bunch of guys, and was back in "college age", I can see how overnight travel is perfetly well suited to your needs, and will save lodging costs - - at least once or twice.

Keep in mind that if you simply want to "insert" a trip just TO Italy (skipping over everything in between - - like Austria or Switserland), there are now some VERY low-cost flight options to get between Germany and other parts of Europe. Often cheaper than the train, and 2-4 times faster (though not an overnight option).

Best wishes,

Rex
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Jan 12th, 2004, 07:22 AM
  #6  
 
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I agree that since it seems Germany is your main focus, you stick with that. You could sneak into Austria, particularly Salzburg for a matter of a few small coins in addition to you German rail pass. But a couple of college aged males should be content for a week each in Berlin and Munich. Since you want to do a whole lot more, I'd still just stick with a few other areas of Germany, but don't spend less than at least three or four days in each of those two cities. There goes half your trip already!
Patrick is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 07:37 AM
  #7  
 
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Consider a Eurail Flexi Pass. Ypou can use these passes for a specific number of days within a specified time frame.

I haven't used one the last few tinmes, but a flexi pass would probably be appropriate for you.

Winnepeg is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 07:40 AM
  #8  
 
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Just checked RailEurope.com and found these prices for the Eurail FlexiPass:

Any 10 days in 2 months $694
Any 15 days in 2 months $914

Wondering what a consecutive pass costs these days? Flexi might be the way to go


Winnepeg is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 07:43 AM
  #9  
 
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Just noticed that you are college ages, a Youth Eurail Flexi pass might even be better.

Here are the prices for a Youth Flexi pass:

Any 10 days in 2 months $488
Any 15 days in 2 months
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Jan 12th, 2004, 09:09 AM
  #10  
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Hi, thanks for input...

But as for the scope of the trip, we will definately not limit it to Germany... My parents actually live in dusseldorf, and I have already seen the mosul river valley, bavaria, the rhine, etc. My friend however has never seen Europe.

Hes coming into dusseldorf for about a month total, and really wants to see Italy (which I have already seen as well).

I was just thinking that a plane trip, while cheaper, also would require us to get rail passes for Italy alone, and that would basically eliminate southern germany/austria/switzerland or at least make it more difficult to go see them on a separate trip by either train or driving. Being able to hit Munich and parts of Bavaria on the way down, as well as other sites in between, is appealing.

But again, I'm worried about whether or not 15 days will leave us enough travel + visit time.
robkoval is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 04:15 PM
  #11  
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ttt please
robkoval is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 06:41 PM
  #12  
 
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"But again I'm worried about whether or not 15 days will give us enough travel + visit time"

The answer is simple. "NO!"
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Jan 12th, 2004, 06:59 PM
  #13  
rex
 
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<...would require us to get rail passes for Italy alone...>>

The point is that train tickets are more affordable than you think... and buying a pass is sometimes a way to spend $488 to buy travel that would have cost you $300-400 if you bought the individual tickets. A "pass" is like pre-paying for "all you can eat" (er... all you can ride") - - and then you feel like "well I need to keep traveling to see as many places as I can to get my money's worth out of the pass!"

You have limited time; planes travel faster than trains if you want to cram more in, they might be your best friend. And then buy tickets as needed to move around.

Take a look at http://www29.germanwings.com/ - - and see how cheaply you can get from Cologne/Bonn to Rome - - and then if you want, to take the train back via Florence, Venice, Salzburg, Munich, wherever, go for it.

Buying a pass is not the most economical way to do all this.
rex is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 07:47 PM
  #14  
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Ok I appreciate the feedback...and thanks for the germanwings site, I had been racking my brain trying to find all the different discount airlines I could remember and I couldnt find any that did a dusseldorf-rome, the nearest I had found until the germanwings site was from amsterdam.

But what I'm now thinking of doing is getting a saverpass for around 400 dollars that covers 15 days of unlimited use (or perhaps a cheaper select pass). We would then take a flight to Rome from cologne for 59 euros or so, spend about 3 days or more in Rome, and then activate the 15 day pass upon leaving rome. This would allow us much more time, and we could make our way up through florence, venice, and into austria and switzerland on our way back to germany.

I think that this plan is economical for the reason being that we definately want to see regions of germany that are 5+ driving hours away from my house in dusseldorf, as well as the areas in switzerland and austria that I have never seen. I'm assuming travel costs alone, meaning train use from city to city within each country, would run us more than 400 dollars. We're talking going up through Italy, into switzerland and austria, into bavaria, and out into east germany for berlin (throw in a side trip here and there, ex: pisa, meaning its not going to be as simple as point-to-point all the time) I could see us using the first week of the 15 days for northern Italy and perhaps Austria/Switzerland, and spending the remainder going up through germany to the specific places we want to see (main points of interest being munich/ludwigs stuff and berlin/buchenwald maybe)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that with the distance traveled and constricted time schedule my friend has in europe with me (only about a month total), this plan gets us to the most places for a good price.
robkoval is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 08:06 PM
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I guess I'm still not with you. Are you then planning to spend every day on a train going to a new town to spend one night? Within the countries you mention there are certainly 15 worthy stopping places. If that is your plan, then yes, you'll get good value for your pass dollar. It's just that I guess I don't understand the idea of riding on trains every day or even every other day, even though I love train travel. Is your plan to do 15 destinations in 15 days? Or 7 in 15 days? If you spend three nights anywhere, it's hard to imagine squeezing in more than 6 total destinations, yet it seems you have in mind a whole lot more than that. If I can't stay at least two nights, preferably three in any worthwhile destination, then it seems it's not worth going to or else I haven't given enough time to even hit its highlights. If you're planning on not traveling every day but sticking around for a couple days in each major place, then how do you pick your destinations. In other words which is the one city in Austria you'll have time for -- just Vienna, just Salzburg, or just Innsbruck? And which is the one city or place you'll have time for in Switzerland -- Lucerne, Zermatt, Grindelwald, Bern?

I'll be real honest here, your plan doesn't sound like traveling to experience or even see much of anything, it just sounds like a plan to see how much territory you can cover in 15 days and how many countries or places you can check off some list.

Sorry that my answer seems so brutal, but just for the record, I'm usually the one who supports the idea of incorporating a variety of destinations and even encourages multiple destination trips. But I just don't see a 15 to 18 day trip with 4 major countries to experience. How much of a country can you really experience in three or four days?
Patrick is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 08:23 PM
  #16  
rex
 
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Okay, so we're talking about two sides of the same problem - - and this in spite of the fact that Patrick are, from time to time on different sides of this coin.

Here is what I am trying to say:

<<I'm assuming travel costs alone, meaning train use from city to city within each country, would run us more than 400 dollars>>

There's your problem - - you're ASSUMING that a pass will save you money, and you haven't even checked, using www.railsaver.com or other tools available to you. What I'm telling you is that just buying the tickets of all the places you want to go could easily be less than the price of the pass.

Then, Patrick is adding a dimension which I often chant like a mantra - - you're moving constantly - - like a traveling salesman, or someone on a scavenger hunt. The purchase of a pass induces you to think that this is a "good" and effective use of your time and (already spent) money.

Here's one last idea that is not my own original thought, but rather one mentioned often here: think of REGIONS, not cities per se. Pick three (or maybe four) regions, and from there, you can see a different town, or a different (set of) thing(s) in proximity to your "nucleus" - - and yes, maybe it willl involve a 30 minute (4 dollar?) train ride from base to destination and back for that day trip.

But it still probably will not add up to a reason to buy a pass, I bet.
rex is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 08:37 PM
  #17  
 
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Rob,

You bring back some great memories.

While I agree with everyone that your plans are ambitious, I spent a month traveling through Europe (15 countries to be exact!) when I was about your age. Crazy itinerary and wouldn't and probably couldn't physically do it now even if paid, but it was a memorable experience. A couple of days here and there; totally wiped at the end, but amazing experiences of people and places.

There is no doubt in my mind that your plan is doable. It all depends on what you and your friend want from the trip. Just the hightlights or more time in a few places.

Whatever you decide, just enjoy!
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Jan 12th, 2004, 10:24 PM
  #18  
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Actually rex prior to posting that I had used railsaver.com and seen what it said, and it recommended a select 4 country railpass, although I didn't even think that was a good recommendation with all the side trips that we would possibly take. Thats why we like the idea of the 15 day unlimited.

But moving on, I just did a preliminary itinerary, and it COULD go as follows:

Fly into Rome, spend 3 days.

Start using rail pass after 3 days:

Go to Florence for 2 days.
Go to Venice for 2 days.
Go to Zurich for 2 days.
Go to Munich for 3 days.
End the trip by getting to Vienna on the 15th day of travel.

Now, if you'll add,I have listed 9 days in cities that we THINK we want to definately see. If we get to a city (mind you, I've already been to most of the Italian spots although I loved Rome and a refresher in the others is fine by me) and don't like it or want to leave early, we can. There are also cities that we are near along the way that we are contemplating stopping in. (milan, innsbruck, et al) Being that we have 6 FLEXIBLE days to spend however we choose along the way, I think this makes for a pretty good trip. The flexibility allows for extra traveling time, shortening or lengthening stays as we see fit, etc. And there will be side trips out of cities, for instance to Pisa, along the way.

When we arrive in Vienna, we will spend 3 or so days there (not travelling on the 15 day pass anymore) and fly back to Koln.

Thats about a 21 day long trip in all.

These are the reasons why I think the pass works for us. I typed most of this itinerary into the railsaver site as well and it recommended another select pass, although it doesn't comprehend flexibility and how the plans can and most likely will vary.

And lastly...we are recent college graduates, both moving onto med school. That means we probably won't have alot of time to travel in the next 4-6 years of our lives. We are getting a "taste" of these different regions of Europe, and I believe that life will give us the opportunity to further explore the regions that we like in the future. This is the way we want to travel at this point in our lives, and different people will obviously have their own opinions on what they see as a 'quality' vacation. With this bare-bones itinerary that we've thrown together, I don't think that this trip will be a "scavenger hunt" at all.
robkoval is offline  
Jan 13th, 2004, 04:45 AM
  #19  
rex
 
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Okay - - call me hardheaded if you will - - and I will not argue any further about the itinerary you have just listed.

But I typed it into railsaver - - AND I checked the box "ONLY if a pass saves me money".

And this is what it replied:

No RailPasses

Cost of Tickets for each Traveler (as per itinerary below) 228

4
May ROME FLORENCE Purchase a 2nd Class Youth Ticket to cover this entire journey from ROME to FLORENCE. Purchase this ticket for approximately 26 USA Dollars.

6
May FLORENCE VENICE Purchase a 2nd Class Youth Ticket to cover this entire journey from FLORENCE to VENICE. Purchase this ticket for approximately 22 USA Dollars.

8
May VENICE ZURICH Purchase a 2nd Class Youth Ticket to cover this entire journey from VENICE to ZURICH via CHIASSO. Purchase this ticket for approximately 72 USA Dollars.

10
May ZURICH MUNICH Purchase a 2nd Class Youth Ticket to cover this entire journey from ZURICH to MUNICH via ST MARGRETHEN and LINDAU. Purchase this ticket for approximately 50 USA Dollars.

13
May MUNICH VIENNA Purchase a 2nd Class Youth Ticket to cover this entire journey from MUNICH to VIENNA via SALZBURG. Purchase this ticket for approximately 59 USA Dollars.
rex is offline  
Jan 13th, 2004, 07:58 AM
  #20  
 
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OK, robkoval, you're starting to convince me. Your last plan does indeed sound possible, even attractive. I was picturing your wanting to do a lot more places than just these cities.

Rex may be right in this case about the rail pass. I know you say you'll plan on doing a lot of side trips, but will you really? Don't make the mistake of going to Florence for two days and then spending one or even both of those days doing side trips out (Pisa or Sienna, for example). And frankly, where are you likely to take a side trip to from Venice? You aren't. In Switzerland, you certainly might want to go off into the alps, but for that you can easily buy a ticket. But I'll agree that if it isn't too many dollars more for the pass, it sure is convenient, and you also get some benefits like free city transport in some of those cities (well at least Zurich, I think). And of course, Rex hasn't added in the cost of some of those other suggested trips along the way (I see your 15 days between Rome and Venice only shows 9 days, so those other 6 days will involve some more train trips.)I'm not as ambitious as Rex is to go to the trouble of looking all this up for you, but I'll certainly take his word for the prices. It's up to you if the pass is worth a few extra dollars, or if those extra trips are going to tally up to more than the pass would be total. And there's a lot to be said for not spending a lot of time in train stations buying tickets -- lines can be horrendous, and for some reason I often can't get the ticket machines to work at all for me.

But I do think you're using your head and you're now explaining your plans much better. I'm all for this trip. Have fun.
Patrick is offline  

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