Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page > Confused with Europe RailPass Reservations!!

Confused with Europe RailPass Reservations!!

Reply

Mar 28th, 2011, 11:14 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 89
Confused with Europe RailPass Reservations!!

Hello!.

I am completely confused with the europe rail passes. After doing all the research and the price comparison on all the passes, we decided to buy the 6 day - select saver pass for three countries. (Me and my husband will be always travelling together - so buying saver pass made sense).

While buying the pass we selected three countries as Benelux(that is supposed to cover Amsterdam, Belgium etc), France and Italy. Now we are trying to book our reservation on the train from Amsterdam to Paris - and it says the reservation cost would be $186 for 2. Even the individual ticket without any pass is $186.

Am I doing something wrong? I would have expected the reservation fee to be just some $15-25, but it says the reservation fee is $186??

Can someone please help!. Let me know if you need more details..
Rs_travel is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 28th, 2011, 11:24 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 405
Which website are you using to make the reservations? How far in advance is it?

Never use an expensive reseller like RailEurope. Use the national railway companies for the best prices (or I believe it's Thalys for the fast trains Amsterdam-Paris). Also European countries change their timetables in June, so nothing will be available yet after June 12th.
mjdh1957 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 28th, 2011, 11:31 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 32,197
That "expensive reseller" just happens to be OWNED by the SNCF and the national railroad of Switzerland.

You should be able to get a passholder fare for that trip and you might want to call Budget Europe Travel Service..they offer better service than RailEurope, too
Dukey1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 28th, 2011, 11:47 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,879
It really makes no difference who owns Raileurope; avoid it (and I agree that it is joint owned by the SNCF and Swiss Rail).

One of the many traps in using rail passes is paying for the reservations. Check specifically on the reservation fee for travel from Amsterdam to Paris. You can pre-purchase a Smoove fare for 35€ (under $50) or purchase a rail pass and then pay an additional $80-$85 for the reservation.

Seems like an easy decision to me.
Sarastro is online now  
Reply With Quote
Mar 28th, 2011, 11:57 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 73,123
From your other thread-

I don't know - this came up a few weeks ago and Man in Seat 61 said the 2nd class seat reservation fee should be $13 or so - but in first class the supplement is much much higher as it also includes a full meal with wine, etc. You may want to go 2nd class on this portion even though you have a first class pass. And even though you have bought your passes I would tell you to call Byron at www.budgeteuropetravel.com to definitatively determine what is the case with a railpass and Thalys. I have bought passes from him for years and am sure he will answer your questions even though you already have a pass. Alternatively contact the agent you bought your pass from and ask about 2nd class fee with a pass.

The Thalys is the only train I know of in Europe with such a ridiculous supplement for railpass holders!

But to compare the $80 per person with the 35 euro Smoove fair is either disingenous or mistaken - that is a 2nd class seat and Man in Seat 61 says a 2nd class passholder fare is $13 - so compare the 35 euros or $50 to the $13 - still one may be better off not using a day on the pass but let's compare apples to apples not apples to oranges.
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 28th, 2011, 12:18 PM
  #6
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 89
Thanks everyone. So the only website I am aware of for europe rail pass is raileurope.com. I am based out of US, and I thought this was the only place to buy the europe pass from.

I have not yet purchased the pass, but was planning on purchasing a select-saver pass for 6 days(+1 free) for 3 countries. But before I buy the pass, I wanted to checkout the reservation costs for my travel. And I came across this ridiculous $186 for two. I am trying to reserve for 05/23 from Amsterdam to Paris.

PalenQ - Can I buy rail passes from budgeteuropetravel? and how would they deliver the pass to me?

I'll try to check out reservations from individual website of Thaly's but yesterday when I was trying to check for trenatalia - it was redirecting me to raileurope as soon as I selected US for "Where will you pick up your tickets"
Rs_travel is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 28th, 2011, 12:41 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 116
Rs -- Don't select the US as your country; choose another English speaking country (Canada, etc.)

For French trains, it is possible to purchase less expensive -- but nonrefundable -- Prems tickets 3 months in advance. There are also tickets on IdTGV trains available 6 months in advance. You can price the tickets at TGV-Europe.com (but don't select the US as your country). I was able to print all my tickets at home.

If you are certain of your travel dates in advance, a Prems ticket may be cheaper than a RailPass day. I recently compared the cost of my Prems tickets for 5 days of travel this summer to the RailEurope options. My tickets cost a total of $200 for a combination of 1st and 2nd class tickets. A 5 day France pass plus the seat reservations would have cost $378 for 2nd class or $451 for 1st class. The individual tickets on RailEurope would have cost $430 for 2nd class.

I don't know if the other countries that you plan to visit also have cheaper advance-purchase tickets, but I'm sure someone else will chime in.
ardithl is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 28th, 2011, 12:42 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,879
Rs_travel - you can purchase a first class ticket today on www.thalys.com for travel on May 23rd for 79€ or 35€ 2nd class. If you continue to the south of France during your vacation, advance purchase tickets on iDTGV trains start at 19€. PREM tickets to the south are typically available starting a 22€ if purchased in advance. iDTGV and PREM prices are, just like the reservations you purchase with a pass, non transferable and non refundable but it is these prices with which the costs of a rail pass should be compared, not the inflated prices one finds on raileurope.

When making comparisons on pass costs vs. advance purchase costs, be careful not to select the USA as you place of residence. Doing so on many websites such as tgv-europe.com or voyages-sncf.com will bump you automatically to the Raileurope website where discount prices are not available and complete rail schedules are not listed.

With the exception of having to make reservations, rail passes can offer good flexibility but you will pay a hefty price premium for the option.
Sarastro is online now  
Reply With Quote
Mar 28th, 2011, 02:02 PM
  #9
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 89
PalenQ - We spoke to Byron at budgeteuropetravel. He was really helpful in answering all the questions we had with regards to our trip. He confirmed that Thaly's is one of the most expensive high speed trains, and so the price of $186 we were looking at is indeed right for Amsterdam to Paris - even with a rail pass.

So he gave suggestions to buy direct second class tickets (or first if budget is not of concern) from Amsterdam to Paris or break the journey from Amsterdam to Brussels to Paris. He said that way we can even reduce the number of days on our select pass. - I'll be looking at these options to see what comes out better.

ardithl/sarastro - I'll give that a try. I checked thaly's and I see the 35 euro tickets for May 23rd. I'll check the tgv website's as well.

I guess we will reconsider the whole buying the rail pass for 6 days option, and look at these individual tickets and reservation costs before we make a decision.

Thanks a lot everyone as always..
Rs_travel is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 28th, 2011, 04:12 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 31,659
>>>>I'll try to check out reservations from individual website of Thaly's but yesterday when I was trying to check for trenatalia - it was redirecting me to raileurope as soon as I selected US for "Where will you pick up your tickets"<<<

That's because most European train companies will not mail tickets to USA. If you select USA, they will roll over to the reseller RailEurope which will cost more. Instead of USA, if you want the purchase to be in English, select Great Britain, Canada, etc. If you are purchasing tickets between two countries, you usually must purchase from the country of departure for that train and pick up your ticket in the country of departure.
kybourbon is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 28th, 2011, 04:47 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 31,659
From the Thalys website, here are the prices using a pass.

http://www.thalys.com/nl/en/fares/pa...msterdam/Paris

It appears the $186 charged by RailEurope is marked up about $10-11 after you covert from € (at current exchange rate of 1.407). Comfort 2 isn't cheap either - $109 for two.
kybourbon is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 29th, 2011, 10:00 AM
  #12
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 47
I suggest you call RailEurope directly and speak with a representative who can assist you with your questions and clarify.

While searching for railpasses for Italy, their website confused me tremendously. I thought i had to pay a $16 per person fee to make a reservation for each train i was going on-so when icalled them directly to inquire, the lady told me i only needed to pay the reservation fee for high-speed trains only. So i only had to pay the reservation fee for 2 trips versus all the trips i was planning on taking.
L_Garabito is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 29th, 2011, 10:17 AM
  #13
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 73,123
I guess we will reconsider the whole buying the rail pass for 6 days option, and look at these individual tickets and reservation costs before we make a decision.>

But remember the current special for passes bought before end of March - get an extra day free - perhaps you are doing day trips from some of your bases - like Paris to Reims for Champagne tours - Paris to Normandy D-Day beaches; Rome to Pomeii; Amsterdam to Delft, etc. Then the extra day free could make it overall a good deal. Just a thought.
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 29th, 2011, 10:23 AM
  #14
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 32,197
Why is everyone here calling RailEurope a "reseller?" They do not RE-sell tickets..they simply SELL tickets to people in North America..I suppose in a vain attempt to keep people from PRETENDING they live in France so they can get cheaper tickets.
Dukey1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 29th, 2011, 12:55 PM
  #15
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 73,123
RailEurope is not the only 'reseller' of such tickets in North America either - ACP Rail is its major competitor but prices usually seem the same - perhaps the re-seller is the European Railways themselves thru their Euronet ticket selling system both RE and ACP Rail I believe use.

anyway RE is always the target, right or wrong.
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 29th, 2011, 01:03 PM
  #16
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,879
While Raileurope is indeed jointly owned by the SNCF and Swiss Rail, Raileurope does not operate trains, they only sell tickets. As this joint venture cannot sell tickets to trains they do not operate, they sell tickets on trains operated by other entities, hence the term ¨resale¨ which I believe actually depicts their function.

Raileurope does not limit their efforts to North America. They have sites in Spanish for Central and South America as well as for all Caribbean countries.

Citizens of all of these countries, in fact of any country in the world, can purchase tickets on the European websites such as www.tgv-europe.com or www.voyages-sncf.com and have the option of having tickets mailed to them. That is any country in the world except one - the USA. Those who reside in the USA (and the requirement has nothing to do with citizenship) must use Raileurope for this service. Why USA residents are singled out is unclear except to say the Raileurope is a USA company, charted in New York.

Dukey1 if you are content to pay more money using Raileurope which does not list all trains on their schedules and offers little if any access to discounted fares while offering someone who lives in Mozambique or Vietnam access to the same fares as those who live in France - that´s fine. But there are many others who are very content to avoid Raileurope and reap the benefits.
Sarastro is online now  
Reply With Quote
Mar 29th, 2011, 04:37 PM
  #17
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 31,659
>>>I thought i had to pay a $16 per person fee to make a reservation for each train i was going on-so when icalled them directly to inquire, the lady told me i only needed to pay the reservation fee for high-speed trains only. <<<

You've been misinformed then unless all of your other trains are the slowest R train. In Italy, seat reservations are required for all but the slowest R trains which don't have any reserved seats. Seats for the faster trains are 10€ (AV,ES,ESCity). Seats for IC trains are 3€.

>>>I suppose in a vain attempt to keep people from PRETENDING they live in France so they can get cheaper tickets.<<<

You don't have to pretend to live anywhere. Most rail companies don't ask where you live.
kybourbon is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 30th, 2011, 07:29 AM
  #18
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 73,123

You've been misinformed>

Well it depends on how you read that if she was misinformed or indeed informed correctly - if I read I would have to pay $16 for each train.... was told only on high=speed trains then it would be correct - you only pay the actually $14 fee for Eurostar and AV high-speed type trains - just 3 euros for Inter City, which are not high speed.
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 30th, 2011, 08:03 AM
  #19
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 31,659
PQ - Please learn to read. Notice the unless in the sentence.

>>>You've been misinformed then unless all of your other trains are the slowest R train.<<<
kybourbon is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 30th, 2011, 10:05 AM
  #20
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 73,123
>>>You've been misinformed then unless all of your other trains are the slowest R train.<<<

tsk tsk - you should have written

>>>You've been misinformed then unless all of your other trains are the slower IC train or slowest R train.<<<

Correct? As written the 16 euros would seem to exclude any IC trains, which cost 3 euros not 16 euros.
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
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


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:00 AM.