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Eastern European Rail Pass reservations

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May 2nd, 2011, 12:05 AM
  #1
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Eastern European Rail Pass reservations

2 couples traveling to Eastern and Central Europe in October. The Eastern European Rail Pass is reasonably priced. Plan to travel between Krakow and Warsaw, Prague and Salzburg, Salzburg and Vienna and Vienna and Budapest (we're flying from Warsaw to Prague). Question: Do we need a reservation?
Treesa is offline  
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May 2nd, 2011, 04:28 AM
  #2
 
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Hi,

On some trains you need a reservation, on some you don't. Depends on the type of train. You don't have to reserve seats in advance, you can do that at the station on the day of departure.

Train travel in Eastern Europe is still very cheap. I doubt that you will gain from buying a rail pass.

If you want, you can check prices for point to point travel on the national railway companies web sites. For example, 2nd class reserved seat on an Express InterCity train from Warsaw to Krakow is only 44 USD (115,50 PLN) and as little as 17 USD (43,50 PLN) on a regional train.

www.bahn.de is a good site for train schedules.

Have fun!
Have fun!
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May 2nd, 2011, 05:05 AM
  #3
 
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seat61.com

good pass/reservation discussion to review

always train like a local

never reserve never booked save a tonne

Pass is a giant rip off in the east especially

where regional trains are dirt cheap.

Everyone loses money figuring pass cost per day.
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May 2nd, 2011, 05:16 AM
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From experience I would get seat reservations, especially if you want to sit together. Last year going from Brno to Krakow I was told (at the Brno info window) there were plenty of seats and I didn't need a reservation.

The train was a compartment type (seats 6) and although I didn't have a lot of luggage (1-21", a small duffel on top and a backpack for my netbook and DSLR camera, etc.) I had to walk through several cars to find a non-reserved seat. There was a couple in one compartment and when I indicated I wanted to enter the man blocked the doorway so I could not sit with them. It's a pain to walk through the narrow corridor with luggage because people are standing in the way and they don't move enough to get the luggage through.

Get seat assignments even if you are told there are plenty of seats!

Some further advice - do not take large suitcases because if you're in compartment trains the only place to put your luggage is on the rack in the compartment. You have to put the bags horizontally so they don't fall off the rack and that takes up more space. You also have to lift them over your head since the rack is pretty high up (at least for me). I made sure my roller bag weighed no more than I could lift over my head.
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May 2nd, 2011, 12:41 PM
  #5
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Thanks to all for answering. Adrienne, we travel light. We're spending 6 weeks in Europe with a 19" rollaboard and a small backpack. We're staying in apartments with washers and dryers, though. My motto is: less is more.
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May 2nd, 2011, 12:54 PM
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I'm still learning the art of packing light but I'm much better than anyone else I know personally. I have problems with books and paper (trip info/maps, etc.) and my big shoes! LOL
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May 2nd, 2011, 01:42 PM
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for the number of trains you are taking the Eastern European railpass IMO is a true bargain - especially in first class which IME I heartily recommend in old eastern European countries - with a first class pass you can almost always find lots of empty seats just by showing up - not always true in 2nd class - even in 2nd class for the number of trips outlined the pass should be a great deal and on most trains the neat part is you can just show up and hop on - fully flexible tickets in places like Austria can cost a fortune.

For lots of great info on Eastern European trains and railpasses check out these fantastic IMO sites - www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.seat61.com; www.ricksteves.com. Check out www.bahn.de the German Railways all European schedules section as it will tell you exactly what trains are subject to mandatory seat reservations - again very few from what you outlined.
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May 2nd, 2011, 02:22 PM
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Thanks, PalenQ, great advice. I was hoping you would chime in.
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May 3rd, 2011, 11:59 AM
  #9
 
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Treesa - thanks!

and for what qwowadis continually posts about any railpass anytime:


Pass is a giant rip off in the east especially

where regional trains are dirt cheap.

Everyone loses money figuring pass cost per day.>


Well this IMO is total misinformation posted by someone who has not even bothered to look at the per day cost of the east European railpass

a 5-day flexipass - five unlimited travel days in a one-month period costs in first class $331

or about $66 a day or about 38 euros a day - perhaps qwowadis can give some examples for the trains OP is taking where they can get a first class ticket for 38 euros and especially one that allows spontaneous hopping on trains - he can't.

And in 2nd class the 5-day pass is $228

or about $45 a day - unlimited at will travel in all those countries or about 30 euros a day - please tell me where for the type of trains OP is taking you can get fully flexible tickets for 30 euros - or even perhaps those discounted tickets that often are sold in limited numbers and have restrictions on them.

How can these prices be the 'total ripoffs' qwowadis calls them?

So disregard that type of misinformation given either from ignorance or malisciousness IMO.
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May 4th, 2011, 09:26 AM
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and for those traveling longer than five days of train travel in a month period the extra days above the minimum five that come with the pass cost only, per day:

1st class - $38 p.p. - 25 euros
2nd class $31 p.p. - 20 euros

this for unlimited day's travel hopping on any train anytime - is this what qwowadis considers a 'giant rip-off'?

No the Eastern European railpass for an itinerary like the OP is IMO a no brainer - I'd like Qwowadis to show how those train trips can be done much cheaper - especially in first class which IMO the average tourist on the trip of a lifetime should do - much more relaxed, more room to leisurely store luggage - in first class I always it seems have empty seats near me to put my bags on rather than fending in 2nd class for space in perhaps already crowded overhead luggage racks as in 2nd class most seats will IME be full.
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May 4th, 2011, 01:38 PM
  #11
 
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Though reservations are not obligatory on many trains in those countries you can on mainline intercity trains at least make optional reservations once there for a few euros or local equivalent - I would only consider doing this in 2nd class and then only if I were traveling with others and wanted for sure to be sitting next to each other - you can usually find an empty seat in 2nd class but maybe not a window seat, etc which you can ask for when reserving at stations.
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