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-   -   Buying train tickets (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/buying-train-tickets-320511/)

MoniqueS Mar 10th, 2008 01:50 PM

Buying train tickets
 
I will be flying to Germany in a few days, then heading by train to Italy.I have my tickets from Munich to Venice but have been unable to buy my tickets within Italy on Trenitalia.All credit cards I use are denied.We will be traveling from Rome to Florence on Good Friday.Should I be concerned about getting them before hand? Is there a place that I can buy Italy train tickets in Germany? Thanks!

J62 Mar 10th, 2008 01:58 PM

The problem you had with Trenitalia is one that many experience. I was able to get around that by using a 'virtual' credit card # from CitiBank. If you are a citibank customer check online or give them a call.

Rome - Florence is a 90min trip with very frequent trains. You should be fine buying tickets once you arrive in Venice, either at the train station or at a travel agency somewhere in town. Given that it's Good Friday i would not wait till the last minute.

I don't know about buying in Germany - you should be able to at any train station or DB office in Germany but I'm not 100% sure.

ira Mar 10th, 2008 02:54 PM

Hi M,

In general, you can buy train tickets on any European train from any European train station.

Have you notified your CC companies that you will be buying Italian train tickets? Their computers might be rejecting the sale.

If so, just keep trying on trenitalia.

lovisa Mar 10th, 2008 06:39 PM

You can buy Italian train tickets through a U.S. company, italiarail:

http://www.italiarail.com/tickets/IR/IR.asp?AFF=TRE

I don't have personal experience, so I don't know how much of a premium you pay to use their services.

ira Mar 11th, 2008 04:21 AM

Hi L,

Your link is to a US agent for RailEurope.

They want $60 for 2 cl.

www.trenitalia.com has Amica fares for about $45 and standard price is $55.

((I))

kybourbon Mar 11th, 2008 06:22 AM

ItaliaRail will also tack on a minimum of $15 fee to mail the tickets. On Trenitalia you just print the code for the tickets so they don't need to be mailed.

PalenQ Mar 11th, 2008 06:38 AM

<In general, you can buy train tickets on any European train from any European train station.>

Ira once again i'll heartily dispute this claim and my recent trip i asked and it is often NOT possible except for trains originating in that country

It should be but they often chose not to do it.

In Holland they will not even sell tickets for German trains, an hour away - only for trains originating in Holland.

Please correct your info in this regards as it is wrong IME

bashamj Mar 11th, 2008 06:41 AM

I have a question regarding buying tickets through Trenitalia. My hotel was going to get tickets for me as a service, however they just told me they only accept VISA. Is this correct?

If so, how do you buy tickets if you only have MC.

Thanks for your help.

J62 Mar 11th, 2008 06:50 AM

I used my MC, both online from home and in Italy at train station kiosks.

lovisa Mar 11th, 2008 07:02 AM

Ira:

"Your link is to a US agent for RailEurope"

Actually, if you look on their website, Italiarail is part of Wandrian which owns railpass.com, but it is not RailEurope, and their premium is not as high. When I look for the same ticket on RailEurope, they want $94.

If poster is unable to buy tickets on Trenitalia (which, along with sncf, seems to give a lot of people trouble), and can buy tickets for about $5 over the standard price according to your figures, plus a service/mailing fee (and can talk to somebody in Illinois [see "about us"]), it may be worth it for the peace of mind.

PalenQ Mar 11th, 2008 07:07 AM

Wandrian i believe bought CIT Tours which had the Italian Railways Eurailpass and Eurail Tariff ticket outlet in the U.S. - only one of a few along with RailEurope (French rail) and DER Tours (German Rail)

RE bought DER Tours and when Wandrian got control of CIT Tours then they became one of the few Eurail pass and ticket originators along with RE and i think three other groups. Thus they are the official font of Trenitalia is the U.S. i believe. Not sure but i think Wandrian is run by ex RailEurope folks.

lkemerson Mar 11th, 2008 03:17 PM

Lovisa,

You said,

If poster is unable to buy tickets on Trenitalia (which, along with sncf, seems to give a lot of people trouble), and can buy tickets for about $5 over the standard price according to your figures, plus a service/mailing fee (and can talk to somebody in Illinois [see "about us"]), it may be worth it for the peace of mind.


my question is...from where can you buy them for about $5 over the cost?

where are you refering to when you say (see about us).

I'm so confuddled at this time with the whole thing. I want that Amica first class fare from Venice to Florence, but it keeps blocking my card.

My card companies say they have no problems, it is the site's issues. Unfortunately, the cards I have do not supply virtual credit card numbers which seem to have worked for others.

I am only concerned for this one fare,the rest I'll get once I get to Italy.

FRUSTRATEDLY YOURS,

Karen

lovisa Mar 11th, 2008 08:11 PM

Italiarail.com is the "official" purveyer of Italian rail tickets in the U.S. If you go to their website, you can check how much they would charge you. Their website shows a home office and telephone in Illinois.

kybourbon Mar 12th, 2008 05:27 AM

Isn't Italia Rail an American company owned by Wandarian (another American company based in Newtown, MA)? I'm not sure their "official purveyor" designation really means anything except they can sell train tickets and passes like a dozen other sites. I think their term "official purveyor" is just a marketing strategy. They are connected to Railpass and Eurail.

ira Mar 12th, 2008 06:00 AM

Hi PQ,

>>In general, you can buy train tickets on any European train from any European train station.>

Ira once again i'll heartily dispute this claim...<

OK.

"In general, you can buy train tickets on any European train from any European train station, IF the ticket agent is in a good humor."
.................................
Thanks for the correction, L
................................
Hi ky,

>They are connected to Railpass and Eurail.

That's what makes them "official".
:)

((I))

PalenQ Mar 12th, 2008 06:41 AM

No Ira once again let me try to explain

In January i asked this question in stations in Holland, Germany, Italy and France and they told me no they could not do trains except involving their country

The only place in Paris is at the International Ticket window in Gare Saint-Lazare perhaps

Britain is also in Europe and they don't do any continental tickets except perhaps involving Eurostar

Soon a new alliance named Rail Group or such will market pan-european high-speed tickets for thru ticketing involving say Thalys, ICE, TGV, etc.

So Ira i heartily dispute any info you have about telling folks they usually or even perhaps can buy tickets like you say

Now i asked a few stations in each country and maybe i did not get the right scoop - and i don't think anyone else would to.

IT IS VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE IME TO BUY TICKETS IN SAY ITALY IN GERMANY, ETC - Even on the bahn.de site you cannot do it so why would you think you could do it at a station?

Now i can't be sure as i did not ask everywhere and will gladly stand corrected - it was an inconvenience to me with a railpass not to make some onward required reservations - like when i took a night train Amsterdam-Zurich and wanted to reserve the Zurich-Milan train - no do said the Dutch - absolutely not.

Ira - i wonder what you base your info on?

GeoffHamer Mar 12th, 2008 07:16 AM

I agree with PalenQ. The European railways do not have a standard fare system and, in most cases, it is not easy to book a train in another country.
In my opinion, this is probably a good thing. The rail networks are very complicated and a booking clerk in another country will not have the required knowledge.
For a journey like Roma-Firenze, served by frequent trains, there is no reason to worry about booking far in advance - just buy tickets in Italy.

LJ Mar 12th, 2008 07:22 AM

Thank you Geoff Hamer! It really does need to be said again, esp. when you consider most folks who are spending HOURS trying to do this online are saving little or no money by doing so.

The entire European train system between major cities is based on same-day sales as that is how business people (their primary customer) use the system.

Save your strength for the real challenge: wrestling your wheeled suitcases on and off the train...they aren't built for that either!

bashamj Mar 12th, 2008 07:38 AM

Regarding Tranitalia, there are a few things to fill in that I'm confused about.

1. What is Amica and what are the differences

2. It asks me to choose train car and seat number. Is there a good answer to this or a key somewhere I can find.

3. What do the abbreviations of type of train mean.

Thanks for all your help! I need it!

PalenQ Mar 12th, 2008 08:00 AM

Amica is about a 20% discounted fare i believe - just a discounted fare - same seats, trains, etc.

Main types of Italian trains

ES - Eurostar Italia - highspeed premium train
EC EuroCity - international train
IC+ InterCity Plus
IC InterCity
R Regional train

ES, EC, IC+ require reservations before boarding
IC has optional reservations
R cannot reserve seats at all

note ES also includes AV ?? - the new highspeed ES between Florence and Naples


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