another rail pass question

Old Oct 12th, 2007, 12:50 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8
another rail pass question

Husband and I spending 12 days in Switzerland in Jan 2008. I am undecided about which is the best rail pass to buy.
Our itinerary is as followsbr /> day 1 arrive Geneva, train to Montreux
day 2 Montreux
day 3 Montreux to Lauterbrunnen ( Golden pass train)
day 4 Lauterbrunnen ( probably a mountain excursion)
day 5 Lauterbrunnen to Lucern
day 6 Lucern
day 7 Lucern
day 8 Lucern to Pontresina
day 9 Pontresina ( probably a day trip to Tirano on Bernina Express)
day 10 Glacier Express as far as Visp
regional train to Lausanne
day 11 Lausanne
day 12 lausane to Geneva to fly home

I have tried to do a point to point calculation of fares and it seems line ball in regard to prices.
One question is does a "non rail" day still count as a day used on a pass if the pass is used on a boat or museum?
Which pass would be best? an 8 day flexi saver pass or a 15 day consec. pass
Any suggestions would be most appreciated.
Many thanks.
tpgtraveller is offline  
Old Oct 12th, 2007, 03:00 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,891
Hi tpgtraveller,

Have you compared the passes & point-point prices using a Half Fare Card? You pay 99 chf for the HFC, then pay only half of every train, bus, & ferry fare for one month. That's usually the most economical way to go.

Otherwise, if the prices are the same, it would come down to your personal preference: many people like the spontaneity that a pass gives them.

A ride on a ferry counts as a day of travel on your pass.

Not sure about admission to the museum, but I would think that it doesn't count as a day of travel.

Good luck!

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Old Oct 12th, 2007, 06:48 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 197
I am one of those who like the ease of using a pass. We spent 5 weeks in Switzerland in June and purchased the month Swiss SaverPass - great!!!

We are going again to Switzerland November 24th for three weeks and I already purchased our 22-day pass.

We probably will not be using the pass as much as during the month of June but it's convenient and already paid for in US dollars.
baby2 is offline  
Old Oct 12th, 2007, 07:22 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
The 15-day pass makes everything so easy - covers everything even museums and boats for the whole time - IMO the best option and gives you carte blanche to do whatever you want without comparing fares and thinking 'is it worth it at 50% off' to do this.

You may possible save a few francs with a Half-Off card but doubt it and even if you did it would not be worth the restrictions in my opinion.

And you are taking some fairly long expensive train rides, like Lucerne to Pontresina and then Glacier Express to Visp - actually you are doing lots of expensive rides so i'd go for the 15-day pass. Even in Lucerne you could use the pass everyday =- on local buses and lake boats and a boat ride on Lake Lucerne is IMO the finest of all Swiss lakes.
From Montreux there are plenty of boats as well - such as across the Evian-les-Bains, France (all covered by Swiss pass)
Few folks are traveling as much as you so other comparisions to Half-Off really don't apply as 50% off will quickly be more than the pass it seems in your case. And if you go to many museums that can cost $10-15 the pass makes more sense.
A 15-day Swiss Pass, saverpass, costs $286 p.p. in 2nd class - Half-Fare card costs 99 CHF or about $90 or about $186 cheaper than the pass - so you'd have to do $360 of travel at half-off to break even and with your route you no doubt will spend much more than that - the pass to me seems much better. You could look at the Swiss Flexipass - where you get 3 days minimum in a one-month period and then get 50% off everything (except museums, only covered on 100% travel days used) so in fact the flexipass is also a Half-Fare card and you have three very expensive train trips so the flexipass too is better IMO than Half-Fare card.
Swisspasses can be bought in Switzerland at stations but currently, due to fall of dollar are about 20% higher last time i checked www.sbb.ch so buy abroad. In the U.S. i always recommend BETS www.budgeteuropetravel.com; 800-441-2387 for their great customer service - you can actually talk to a Swiss rail expert and ask questions like you did here and they also don't have RailEurope's $18 mailing fee on most Swiss Pass orders. www.ricksteves.com also has good info on website on Swiss trains and travel. www.swisstravelsystem.com has lots of good info on specialty trains, lake boats, etc.
The value of a Swiss Pass in the Lauterbrunnen area can be immense - you say probably a day excursion - well from Lauterbrunnen there is what i think is the finest day trip in the Berner Oberland and it's all covered 100% by a Swiss Pass.
From Lauterbrunnen you hop the brand new aerial cable car up the cliff to Grutschalp and then take an impossibly scenic train along the cliff's edge (from a non-scarey distance from the edge) to Murren, a venerable watering hole catering formerly to a British invasion, then swoop down to Gimmelwald on an aerial cableway and then from Gimmelwald the most possibly thrilling cable car back down to the Lauterbrunnen Valley at Stechelberg (this cableway is like an airplane coming down) and then hop a postal bus the few miles back to Lauterbrunnen. All covered in full by Swiss Pass - if paying 50% off it'd perhaps be $30 or more (not exactly sure). At Murren it's popular to take the Alps longest gondola ride to the famous Schilthorn - an icy outpost whose revolving restaurant was featured in a James Bond flic.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Oct 12th, 2007, 11:30 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
Or knock a few days off your travels at the beginning and end of your trip and stay in Geneva area perhaps the 8-consecutive day pass would be OK.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Oct 12th, 2007, 09:22 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8
Thankyou all for great advice. I knew I could rely on you to help!
thanks also PalenQ for advice on the day excursion from Lauterbrunnen. We will definately do that trip.
I will digest all the rail pass advice and do some more sums but at this stage it seems that a 15 day consec pass would be the most convenient.
Any more advice or suggestions would be most appreciated. Many thanks, once again.
cheers,
tpgtraveller
tpgtraveller is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2007, 02:04 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
and i think if you are contemplating a Swiss Pass for use after Jan 1 2008 you check before and see if and how much Swiss Passes will increase in price in 2008

As i said Swiss Pass prices in U.S. and other countries are significantly lower than for the same pass in Switzerland - because Swiss Passes are guaranteed in price for the whole calendar year (unlike most railpasses whose prices fluctuate every few weeks in seems) and since the Swiss franc has gone up so much since when these 2007 Swiss Pass prices were set i expect a major adjustment as of Jan 1, 2008

But if you buy a pass before Dec 31, 2007 you are guaranteed to be able to use it (activate it) for six months after issue - up until June 30, 2008 at the old price. So there could be significant savings in your case by buying before the end of the year. I'd call BETS or other agents and ask about price increases which are announced usually in November to see if 2007 purchasing is warranted.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2007, 06:30 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8
I will certainly get on to it today. Cheers
tpgtraveller is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2007, 06:59 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,000

With that itinerary it looks like you are going to be wasting a lot of time checking in and out of hotels, getting oriented, waiting in train stations, and riding trains. Five different cities in 12 days is like a rabbit chase.

I would cut back to 3 or 4 cities and relax. You seem to dismiss Geneva as an entrance and exit to CH. I wouldn't.

If this is your first time using the trains of Europe I recommend that you have a read at http://tinyurl.com/eym5b. It is a good intro.

There is a Swiss Flexipass, subcategory Saverpass (for two or more people traveling together) to consider. It comes in versions of 3 to 8 days within a one month period. Call B.E.T.S at 800-441-2387.

hopscotch is offline  
Old Oct 15th, 2007, 07:07 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 36,791
We all may have different opinions. I love the itinerary. Skip Montreux, Luzern, Lauterbrunnen or Pontresina for time in Geneva? NEVER! I like those two to three nights per town itineraries with beautiful train journeys between them.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Old Oct 17th, 2007, 07:53 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
Yes IMO opinion your itinerary is peachy keen!
PalenQ is offline  
Old Oct 17th, 2007, 11:37 PM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8
Thanks everyone for wonderful suggestions. I am really looking forward to our trip. when organising our itinerary I did heaps of research on this site as well as tripadvisor.com We are not skiers or into hiking and keeping in mind the weather in January and the shorter days we thought that travel by train would be a great way to see Switzerland in warmth and comfort. We have been to Geneva before and while a gorgeous city we wanted to experience the smaller more charming places.
We have done some train travel before in Europe and find it fun, so here's hoping Switzerland doesn't let us down. We will get a 15 day Swiss Pass more for the convenience than anything else. I really love this forum. It is one of the better ones and very imformative. Everyone is so generous with their advice. Thank you all.
t
tpgtraveller is offline  
Old Oct 18th, 2007, 10:50 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
Swiss trains will not let you down

they are amongst the finest in the world - modern, clean, smoking banned, fairly punctual and run often hourly or more between all cities

and the scenery from the big windows of course can't be beat.

Conductors are unfailingly polite and helpful

Swiss trains - stupendous IME
PalenQ is offline  
Old Oct 31st, 2007, 08:09 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,960
Everything I've read says the Swiss Saver Pass only gets mountain top transportation half price off---not free.
Connie is offline  
Old Oct 31st, 2007, 08:21 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 180
Sorry for butting into this but I cannot remember what we paid for GVA/Zermatt this year. We only need the ticket from the airport to Zermatt on January 16 returning to GVA on January 27. It looks like that is just the two train trips.
Any suggestions what would be a less expensive ticket?
bajaflash is offline  
Old Nov 1st, 2007, 05:15 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
Swiss Card
Swiss Transfer Ticket
Half-Fare Card
PalenQ is offline  
Old Nov 1st, 2007, 08:52 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
Swiss Transfer Ticket may be your ticket to ride

it gives you a round trip train ticket via the most direct or fastest route and back anywhere in Switzerland

so check www.sbb.ch for regular price of a Zurich Flughafen-Zermatt ticket and compared with Transfer Ticket price

it is meant i believe just for folks like you who once they get to an area will not travel out of it and once there use local passes for any lifts, etc. Swiss Transfer tickets i believe are only sold outside of Switzerland

The Swiss Card offers the same round trip ticket but then gives you 50% off practically everything that moves in Switzerland - all lifts, etc. for a one-moth period

Half-Fare Card - 99 Swiss Francs is only sold at stations in Switzerland and gives 50% off everything for one month

If you live in U.S. give Byron at BETS a call (800-441-2387) as he'll patiently answer any questions - pricing ,etc and anything else about Swiss rail things. Swiss Card is sold in Switzerland but about 18% or so higher than same card in U.S.

But do check www.sbb.ch to see what the regular fare is for tickets bought on arrival. then compare with Transfer Ticket, Swiss Card or Half-Fare card.
PalenQ is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
rncheryl
Europe
6
Jul 31st, 2016 03:40 PM
mjnbrown
Europe
11
May 1st, 2006 08:34 AM
Budman
Europe
9
Feb 7th, 2006 06:32 PM
isabel
Europe
4
Mar 11th, 2005 09:59 AM
JBTravel
Europe
6
Aug 29th, 2003 08:19 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO