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:( ANOTHER Rail Pass vs. No Rail Pass Question

:( ANOTHER Rail Pass vs. No Rail Pass Question

May 20th, 2011, 02:04 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 52
:( ANOTHER Rail Pass vs. No Rail Pass Question

Okay Fodorites. I don't see one of these posted today so let's get this going. Just kidding, I've actually been trying to do a lot of research but just can't get my arms around the solution...

The group: 3 adults, 2 teenagers (considered adults by rail), 2 kids (4 and 2)
The proposed itinerary:
Paris > Venice (train)
Pick up van in Venice and explore Tuscany
Drop van off in Pisa (?)
Pisa > Rome (train)
Rome > Barcelona (train) (Not sure about Barcelona, we might add time and keep it to 2 countries)
Barcelona > France

It looks like the Pass would be over $2100 for our group and we might have to pay for advanced booking (we don't have to book in advance, I prefer to be flexible).

I can't figure out how much the Trenitalia Mini-passes are, it doesn't have a search feature for the cities, I don't see a lookup and it isn't accepting the typed names.

And I if I go the non-pass route, the only site that I've found that offers ticket from Paris to Venice or Rome > Venice is Eurorail. And their prices seem very high.

Any help for this poor soul?

IronBenderII is offline  
May 20th, 2011, 02:18 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 52
Question: Can we just buy tickets in Paris to get to Venice? Maybe at the train station? Any idea how much? Thanks!
IronBenderII is offline  
May 20th, 2011, 02:23 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32,800
There isn't a Trenitalia mini pass, only discounted tickets called mini-fares.

For Paris/Venice, you would need to book on the French rail site (don't select US as it will rollover to RailEurope). For Venice/Rome or Pisa/Rome (not sure which you want to book) you need to use Trenitalia, the Italian train website. They have not loaded all their summer schedules yet, but some are up and the rest should be any day. If you select your date and only see one or two trains, then the schedules aren't fully loaded as there will be lots of trains (at least hourly) on both these routes. You can look at mini fares or family fares to see which is cheapest (these will pop-up once you select dates/ages).

Are you talking about an overnight train? Prices are usually high for sleeping accommodations. It might be cheaper to fly Easy Jet (Paris Orly to Venice). It might be cheaper to fly Rome/Barcelona also. Check whichbudget.com or skyscanner.net for budget flights.

In Italy, you would qualify for the family discount.

You would have to book it as two "familys" because Trenitalia only allows a maximum of 5 on a reservation. You would have to purchase one child with 3 adults (121€) and one child with 2 adults (88€) for Pisa/Rome. I think it would be much more economical to keep the van and turn it in closer to Rome (Orvieto or Chiusi) and then train the rest of the way (about 7-10€ each). They are both just a bit south of southern Tuscany.

For Rome/Barcelona, you might want to consider the overnight ferry. Civitavecchia is the port for Rome.

There's also overnight ferry Pisa area (Livorno) to Barcelona.
kybourbon is online now  
May 20th, 2011, 05:22 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 52
Great links and information, thanks! I love the ferry idea, looking into that more...

Maybe it would be best to just take the car all the way to Rome and drop it off there? Save a leg?

Decisions decisions! And no time!
IronBenderII is offline  
May 20th, 2011, 06:32 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 356
I would look into skipping Barcelona unless you can spend a lot of time there. You'll pass right by France to get there.

I'm not sure if kids 4 and 2 would be good on a night train but there is one from Rome (or maybe Florence) to Paris.
lindy27 is offline  
May 22nd, 2011, 02:04 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,684
1. Paris-Venice starts at 45 euros with couchette, booked at www.tgv-europe.com (select 'Canada' if you're from the USA to avoid being bumped to Rail Europe, who charge much higher prices). You collect tickets at the station in Paris. With a 20 euros supplement to pay for a couchette (more for a sleeper) you're only saving 25 euros with a pass that (typically) works out at 69 euros per day.

2. Book Pisa-Rome at www.trenitalia.com, looking for a cheap Mini fare that might be just 19 euros. With InterCity trains carrying a 3 euro fee for passholders and all high-speed trains a 10 euro passholder fee, you need to do Rome-Venice/Milan every single pass day to make the pass pay. Rome-Florence doesn't even break even!

3. There's a 3 times a week 'trainhotel' sleeper train from Milan to Barcelona, see the photos at www.elipsos.com. Fares in a 4-bed tourist sleeper start at 72 euros (a bit higher in June/July/Aug) whereas the fee for a passholder is also 72 euros - so why buy the pass?? Book this at either www.trenitalia.com looking for 'smart price' or at www.renfe.com.
Man_in_seat_61 is offline  
May 23rd, 2011, 09:41 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 52
Thanks Mr. Seat 61, I think I was on your website over the weekend a few times?

So, here's what I came up with to compare... Please note this is based off of 6 people (2 adults, 2 youth, 2 kids)

Rail Pass: $1422 for 4 days travel over 2 months. I believe there is a reservation fee but I can't find what it would be or if it's required.

Buying tickets from tgv-europe.com and trenitalia.com (thanks for the tip about setting Canada).

-Paris > Venice $638
-Venice > Florence $288 (we'll pick up a car here, this assumes family discount)
-Rome > Genoa $290 (we don't know that we will stop here but we know we want to have the option to stop somewhere on the way back, we'll figure out when/where during the trip).
-Genoa > Paris: $525
--Total: $1741

So, it looks like the rail pass would save us a lot of $$. I was really hoping we could just show up at the train station and buy our tickets, looks like the rail pass is a much better deal though.

Thanks again for everybody taking the time to answer my questions, we really appreciate it!

IronBenderII is offline  
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