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Cheaper to buy a EuRail pass or buy individual tickets months in advance?

Cheaper to buy a EuRail pass or buy individual tickets months in advance?

Old Feb 8th, 2013, 06:05 AM
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Cheaper to buy a EuRail pass or buy individual tickets months in advance?

would it be cheaper to buy a eurail pass or all individual train tickets purchased a few months in advance? my plan is to travel through eastern europe, down to greece, over to italy, then up past slovenia and austria to get to germany. at this point it will have been 2-3 months so i will stop in germany to work for more money.
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Old Feb 8th, 2013, 07:20 AM
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Well consider something besides pricing - the flexibility a pass provides in most of your countries, except Italy, to just hop any train anytime and if you are over 25 the pass is first class and that IME of decades of European rail travel has significant benefits (especially for folks hauling luggage around as there is IME a lot more place to easily stow them in first class over 2nd class) - so you are comparing fully flexible first-class tickets to severely restricted discount tickets that typically cannot be changed nor refunded once issued and have to be booked months in advance often to secure.

And what if you cannot get discounted tickets for every segment - then you pay full price for that segment - ouch.

A Global Eurail Flexipass that gives you X number of days to be used over a 2-month period - anytime you wish - may be agood bet and would also cover in full boat passage between Greece and several ports in Italy - you are really traveling so much in so many places the pass to me seems a good thing and again you chose which trains to take once there.

For lots of great stuff on European trains, passes, etc I always spotlight these IMO superb sites - www.ricksteves.com; www.seat61.com (good info on the discounted ticket route) and www.budgeteuropetravel.com.
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Old Feb 8th, 2013, 08:52 AM
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Hi HA,

It is almost always cheaper to buy tickets in advance, but the only way to know is to price the train tickets and compare it to the cost of a pass.

Note that for reserved-seating, high speed trains the railpass has limited seating availability and requires payment for reservations.

Are you an EU citizen? If not, it will be difficult to find work.

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Old Feb 8th, 2013, 09:42 AM
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It's a matter of doing the math. We're not likely to do it for you. How do you plan to work in Germany if you aren't an EU citizen?
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Old Feb 8th, 2013, 09:42 AM
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If you are not an EU citizen it will be not only extremely difficult, but also very probably illegal to work. Not sure who would be wiling to hire you to do what for cash under the table?
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Old Feb 8th, 2013, 11:20 AM
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Note that for reserved-seating, high speed trains the railpass has limited seating availability and requires payment for reservations.>

No this is just not true - only in France, where you are not going do high-speed trains have limited seating availability and only in Italy on your list of countries do railpass holders have to make a seat reservations and these have always been a snap to get IME.
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Old Feb 8th, 2013, 11:32 AM
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Australians aged 18 -30 are eligible for working holiday visas in many European countries (and the US) and can quite legally find short term work.
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Old Feb 8th, 2013, 11:53 AM
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It is almost certainly not worth having a pass in Eastern Europe and Greece. Nor is it worth buying tickets in advance there, except for the longest or overnight trips. Nor do you need first class. In the course of many European train trips I think I've paid for first class only once, and it wasn't that much better.

I agree with the others. What makes you think you can work in Germany? Also, you need to be aware of the 90 in 180 day limit on visitors in the Schengen zone.
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Old Feb 9th, 2013, 06:06 PM
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thanks everyone for your help yes i think i will calculate each individual travel to each city, then compare it to the cost of the eurail pass, and see if it is worth the extra hassle of individual tickets.

i forgot to mention i have a dual citizenship: Australian & German. so the embassy said i can work anywhere in europe. but now im concerned, does this '90 in 180 day limit on visitors in the Schengen zone' apply to me?
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Old Feb 9th, 2013, 06:57 PM
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No, if you have German citizenship you're fine.
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Old Feb 9th, 2013, 07:01 PM
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No, you're good to go if you're a German citizen. Have fun.
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Old Feb 10th, 2013, 08:25 AM
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It is almost certainly not worth having a pass in Eastern Europe and Greece.>

Well a classic Eurailpass perhaps but the European East Pass can be a great deal in eastern Europe - a flexipass over a 1-month period it gives you first class travel for $60 a day - unlimited day of train travel or about 42 euros a day and in 2nd class it is just $228 for 5 days or about $46/day or 33 euros a day - so 32 euros a day could make the pass viable in Eastern Europe, depending of course on how many train trips you take within a one-month period.

and though trains in Greece are practically useless if you have a Eurail Pass that includes Greece you do get free overnight boat passage between Greece and several Italian ports - this could be a tidy sum.

So I disagree with the blanket statement that "it is almost certain that a railpss is not worth having in Eastern Europe or Greece - it may or may not be depending on your travels - and also whether you want flexibility to just hop on any train any time in the countries covered - online discounted tickets could easily cost 32 euros for along train trip or more and they are typically highly restricted and often cannot be changed nor refunded and are sold in limited numbers, meaning they have to be booked in stone often weeks in advance.

given your wide range of train travel I would indeed look at the Glocal Eurail Flexipass that lets you hop on any train anytime, except in Italy where it is easy to make a reservation with a pass IME and you also get free deck passage on boats between Greece and Italy (from Patras and Corfu).
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Old Feb 11th, 2013, 08:40 AM
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<i>...does this '90 in 180 day limit on visitors in the Schengen zone' apply to me?</i>

Not if you enter Schengen on your German passport.
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Old Feb 12th, 2013, 02:03 AM
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thanks guys. which website would you recommend as the cheapest for the eastern europen pass? Eurail doesnt seem to offer 2nd class passes. they only offer 2nd class for under 25 year olds, but i am 26. i am looking to save as much money as i possibly can. so i am happy to be in 2nd class.
ans for Italy, you recommend no pass? just buy individual train tickets on the day?
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Old Feb 12th, 2013, 04:52 AM
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Very intresting, I'm looking for train advice as well. Sorry Henry, we are doing Austria, Germany and Switzerland and I don't want to book in advance but want FLEXIBLITY. Yes dragging my suitcase and no not 25...heee
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Old Feb 12th, 2013, 10:32 AM
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Broncott - look at the Eurail Select Saverpass valid for 3 countries - Austria, Switzerland and Germany - it is first class if over 25 so you get the immense benefits IME of decades of rail travel in those countries as well as complete flexibility to just show up and hop on virtually any train anytime in those three countries - something that is priceless to me.
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 06:23 AM
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Broncott - there are other possibilities too - like a Swiss Pass for Switzerland, which has a lot more benefits in Switzerland than a Eurailpass - covering many of the so-called private mountain railways, lake boats and giving free entry to 400+ museums that Eurailpasses do not - and it is cheaper per day and also comes in 2nd class for any ages.

Combine this with a Germany-Austria pass and you may well end up with cheaper per day on unlimited rail travel in those countries vs a more expensive Eurailpass - more travel days for the same price.
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 11:04 AM
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I have problems understanding the argument so often used regarding the Railpass and one of the best things always touted as its flexibility.

Travelers make binding reservations for air travel to/ from gateway- travelers make accomodation reservations for specific dates, locations. often these with just limited refundability - but then some argue to have a flexible more costly travel pass- ?

Most all counties have steep dicounts for train tickets purchased in advance.
Many have special fares.
examples Bayern Ticket,or land tickets in Germany.
In Austria Spar Schein tickets, Einfach raus tickets - cheap
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 11:24 AM
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flexibility to me at least and some others above is priceless. You make it sound so so easy to nab one of those discounted and severely restricted online fares - have you tried booking one thru the French Railways site or the notoriously fickle Trenitalia and Renfe (Spain) railway sites - have you read the scores and scores of posts here from folks whobecame very frustrated with the process, often spending hours trying to track down such tickets?

Have you had a lengthy trip that foreigners may take involvoing several long train trips and you manage to scour some discount tickets but can't get them for some other segments, then having to pay full fare - ouch

You make it sound so easy and for you an Austrian resident I gather it may be a snap - you'll be taking one train trip probably and maybe inside Austria, etc. - then it is a snap but to coordinate such tickets for a multi-country journey just ain't as easy as it sounds often.

And if you look at say the German Pass I calculated that 4 train trips at the rock-bottom online fare would equal four days of unlimited travel on any train in Germany anytime - as cheap as the discounted tickets but free to hop any train anytime.

And if you go above 4 days extra days are about 14 euros a day - for two even cheaper than the Lander Tickets and you can take any train anytime whereas the Lander Ticket restricts you to much slower and much less comfy regional trains.

Inside a country those specials are easier to figure out but they do not always exist even on international routes - like Paris to Copenhagen - etc.

And a first-class railpass is first class - fully flexible first class so compared to 2nd class restricted tickets that in many countries must be booked months in advance and simply are not available at times after the allotted number is exhausted - well it is not always so easy as it is in Austria or Germany.
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Old Feb 14th, 2013, 12:19 PM
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A pass will not include mandatory seats on any of the faster trains in Italy. You will also have to pay supplements (in addition to the price of the pass) on many trains.

For Greece, a rail pass isn't really beneficial as you would likely be using ferries/buses.

>>> be agood bet and would also cover in full boat passage between Greece and several ports in Italy <<<

While a pass might cover getting on this boat (off season only), it would only be deck passage, no seating/cabin (this is an overnight boat). You would also have to pay a supplement with a pass in season even for deck passage.

Here's a list of supplements you would have to pay with a pass.

http://www.ricksteves.com/rail/pdfs/reservations.pdf

In Italy, you can often book tickets online, in advance, for the fast trains, cheaper than the cost of the seat supplement. You can get tickets as cheap as 9€.

Budget airlines are often cheap as well.

http://www.whichbudget.com/
www.skyscanner.com
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