Buying Swiss Rail Pass??

Feb 22nd, 2002, 11:06 AM
  #1  
Lynn
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Buying Swiss Rail Pass??

Is it cheaper to buy a 8 day swiss rail pass once we're in Switzerland or to buy it in the USA before arriving?
Also, are the trains marked on the outside smoking and non smoking like other cities in Europe?
Thanks!
 
Feb 22nd, 2002, 02:04 PM
  #2  
Bob Brown
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In response to your second question, the rail cars are clearly marked with smoking and non smoking symbols.

If you buy an 8 day pass from Rail Europe, you will pay $30 more for it than you will pay in Switzerland.
($235 versus $205)

There are two major varieties of 8 day passes: the regular pass and the flexi pass, both sold in first and second class seating. The 8 day regular pass is 340 chf, which converts to $204, at today's rate of exchange.

Two or more adults together can get 15% off of the single pass price. If you are under 26 there is a lower price as well.

Depending on where you are and where you are going, you might look at the Swiss card. It is 165 chf. It gives 50% off all national rail travel. But, in the mountains, you get better discounts than you can get with a pass. For example, the Swiss card will save you 50% off of the Jungfraujoch trip, which is normally 162.00 chf. With a pass, it is 25% off as best I can find out.

 
Feb 22nd, 2002, 02:13 PM
  #3  
Bob Brown
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PS. The Swiss card also includes a train ride from your arrival point to your first destination and back, provided travel is completed in one day. It is unfortunately sold in few places in Switzerland - border and airport stations.
 
Feb 22nd, 2002, 06:41 PM
  #4  
Ronda
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Good point, Bob, on saving $30 buying the pass in Switzerland. I plan to ride the trains to get around every day and we will be there for 17 days.
 
Mar 26th, 2002, 11:30 AM
  #5  
Grasshopper
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Bob, Not to belabor the point here, but... If I am landing at CDG and taking the train to Geneva or some other first day destination in Switzerland, will my Swiss pass work for that trip? And the same thing going from Vevey to Paris on the return?
 
Mar 26th, 2002, 11:42 AM
  #6  
Beth
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To your first question -- if you did want to buy your pass before leaving, Rick Steves sells them as well. Perhaps his passes also are more expensive than the Swiss Pass you can buy there.

Your pass technically could work for the portion of your trip from the French-Swiss border to Geneva. Last year, when we were travelling from Switzerland to Italy, we got our tickets at the Interlaken train station and paid only for the portion between the border and Venice. I am not as certain, however, how that works when you start in one country and then travel into another country where you have your rail pass.
 
Mar 26th, 2002, 12:50 PM
  #7  
Marla
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In 1999, we purchased our Swiss passes from Rick Steves' website. The cost was about $5 more per pass, but we received a free Rick Steves book for each pass purchased. If you are looking for a particular Rick Steves book, it might be worth checking out. Have Fun!
 
Mar 26th, 2002, 12:58 PM
  #8  
Bob Brown
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Grasshopper. I was out of action for a while, and did not see your question until now.
I cannot answer with direct experience for transborder travel, but I can respond to two aspects of what you ask.
The trip from Paris to Geneva is mostly by far in French territory. So any savings from a pass would be minor.

In 2000 we bought a Berner Oberland Regional Pass. When we went to
Vienna, we decided to take the train from Interlaken. Because of the pass, we had a discount as far as Bern, which was the limit of the pass. We were sold three separate tickets: Interlaken West to Bern; Bern to Zürich, and Zürich - Vienna. As an analogus situation, your Swiss pass runs out at the border, which is a similar limit. I would think your Swiss pass would be good for a discount on Swiss tracks.
 
Mar 27th, 2002, 06:56 AM
  #9  
Tina
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We are also trying to decide whether to buy the swisssaver flexipass here or in Switzerland. We have a 6 year old so we want to take advantage of the discount our son gets if the parents travel together. Can we get that discount before we leave as well? or does it have to in Switzerland?

Thanks!
 
Mar 28th, 2002, 08:47 AM
  #10  
Linda
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Tina, All of the websites I have seen in the U.S. also offer the free-travel pass for children. We purchased ours from Rick Steeves and were happy with the service. Have fun, Linda
 
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