EU railpass or not?

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Apr 11th, 2014, 02:38 PM
  #1
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EU railpass or not?

Hi Everyone,
I will be travelling to Europe next year so I have lots of time to plan ahead.

My itinerary is as follows

Bath
London
Paris
Strasbourg
Munich
Berchtesgaden
Prague
Berlin
Copenhagen
Ghent
Amsterdam
Back to London to fly home

I will backpacking with my wife within the span of 40-50 days. I will be over 26 and she will be under 26 years of age.

I have been looking into the Select 4 Pass (10 Days in 2 Months) and also the Global pass (10 days in 2 months).

I am wondering if a Railpass would even be worth it for my destinations? Particularly I am not sure how the Eurostar fits into this?

Thanks!
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Apr 11th, 2014, 02:54 PM
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Eurostar has a passholder fare but other fares it has are cheaper - so pass is of no use there. Otherwise you are taking so many trains of long distance a 4-country pass (just pay for the bus from Nurnberg to Prague and back - think that would be all in all cheaper than the extra money involved with a global pass. Bus is also the quickest way from Nurnberg/Munich to Prague - discounted fares of about 25 euros I think if you book far enough in advance. Railpasses are valid too on the bus - maybe putting Czech Republic on in lieu of Denamrk if the Germany border to Copenhagen one way fare is cheaper - again www. bahn.de/en is the German Railways site - I use it for schedules of trains all over Europe - easiest one I have seen to use.

Some will suggest discounted tickets but then you must book weeks or months to get as they are sold in limited numbers and tehn are set in stone - a specific train and usually cannot change nor refund. So with the pass is all your countries you can hop on any train anytime - no reservations or surcharges mandated (except for sleeping accommodations on overnight trains - pass pays for basic rail fare but not optional sleeping berths.

But even a series of discounted tickets may not cost much less than a pass or even more - you may not be able to get one segment and then at full fare ouch -like Berlin to Frankfurt full fare is about $130!

And do not forget the railpass if over 25 is first class and IME of decades of traveling on passes first class I will say there is a definite advantage to first class - not only are seats larger there are fewer in each same-size train carriage - easier to stow luggage - I often in those countries put my bags on an adjoining empty seat.

2nd class can always be chock full (or not too) - so if the cost of discounted tickets even approaches the cost of a pass keep in mind that those discounted tickets are 2nd class (though you can often also get discounted first class tickets) so compare to the first-class pass.

Plus booking several discounted train trips in multiple countries simply can take,m for the novice, hours and hours and some sites are famous for flummoxing newbies using them.

For my money a 4-country pass especially would be a great deal for what it provides - hop any train and in first class.

For lots of great info on European trains and passes I always spotlight these superb sources; www.budgeteuropetravel.com (I buy passes from Bryon there for years - he will expertly answer any question even if you are not buying; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com - the latter site is trying to make his fame by hyping discount tickets - so great info on that angle there.
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Apr 11th, 2014, 02:54 PM
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The pass will do you no good in the UK and not much for the Eurostar - I think you get a discount, but buying early will be cheaper. For the other trips you need to price the individual legs and compare them to the pass. You'll have to buy a first class pass, so your wife will have to also.

For loads of info on train travel and buying tickets, read seat61.com.

If you haven't bought the plane tickets, I suggest revising this itinerary so that you fly into London and home from Berlin or Prague. It's called Open Jaw or Multi-City on the ticketing sites. Also, have you laid this out on a calendar allowing for travel time?
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Apr 11th, 2014, 04:15 PM
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You are doing quite a bit of backtracking. Have you looked at a map and checked on the trains available between these places?

No need to waste time and money going back to London just get an open jaws ticket - it will save time and money.

Also consider you look at train schedules and reconsider the order of this trip. Copenhagen esp is an outlier and perhaps you can get a cheap flight from there to somewhere.
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Apr 11th, 2014, 07:47 PM
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Thank you PalenQ for the advice and tips.

To Thursdaysd, yes open jaw is something that we are definitely looking into. We have laid it out on a calendar and allowed for travelling time. We have at least 3-4 days for each destination.

To nytraveler, I understand that Copenhagen is an outlier per se, yet it the closest destinations to it are Amsterdam and Berlin, hence why we would be travelling on the overnight train from Berlin to Copenhagen (actually Malmo). From my map I laid out, we don't back track as the lines do not cross going counterclockwise(ish) from Paris.
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Apr 11th, 2014, 08:02 PM
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EU railpass or not?
Posted by: jspedz on Apr 11, 14 at 6:38pm Posted in: Europe
. . .
Prague
Berlin
Copenhagen
Ghent
Amsterdam
Back to London to fly home


I would slip Dresden in there between Prague and Berlin. You could save a backtrack by reversing Ghent and Amsterdam. For an illustrated introduction to trains in Europe see http://tinyurl.com/eym5b.
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Apr 11th, 2014, 09:23 PM
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Hi
I have just done research for my upcoming trip for a pass v tickets and can offer the following advice.
If you plan an itinerary and know where you want to be when, you can work out prices for point to point tickets and purhase them early at reduced prices.
If those ticket prices add up to more than a pass you may then only have to add on reservation price to a pass cost or alternatively take the slower alternative.
If you don't want set plans you could always buy as you go if you want the flexability.As mentioned above Uk and Eurostar are not encluded in passes.
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Apr 12th, 2014, 04:21 AM
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You'll have to buy a first class pass, so your wife will have to also.>

and she should even if they wanted to sit in different classes as a first-class Saverpass is about equal to a solo first-class and a solo 2nd class pass added together - so both get first-class for the same total price or about.
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Apr 12th, 2014, 06:22 AM
  #9
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spaarne thank you of pointing out my error. Yes, I typed that out wrong the last leg of the itinerary is indeed, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Ghent.
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Apr 12th, 2014, 07:43 AM
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Is there some special reason for going to Gent - many folks find Bruges to be a highlight of their trip - maybe base in Bruges and day trip to Gent - Bruges have several budget hostels - private hostels - Gent fewer if any except official HI hostels - lots of folks your age in those neat private hostels in Bruges.
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Apr 12th, 2014, 08:52 AM
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Yeah, we are on the fence with Gent and Bruges. We are staying in apartments, and this makes more sense due to my wife's celiac disease (wheat, and crumbs from bread is lethal). We're going to be making most of our meals in the appartments/having picnics.

I have found that renting apartments are cheaper in Gent rather than Bruges. I've been shocked with the lower prices of apartment even compared to hostels. This might change however, Bruges would be nice as well. Thanks for the suggestion PalenQ.
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Apr 12th, 2014, 01:14 PM
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Well Gent is a nice town - and has Bruges-like parts - canals, etc but also a much more larger commercial city. I like Gent so don't get me wrong - a fine city as European cities go. Have spent many days there on business. check out the torture chamber in the Counts of Flanders castle in the town center.
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Apr 13th, 2014, 08:20 AM
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I've stayed in both Bruges and Gent many times and Bruges IMO is best savored after the tour bus hoards have departed and especially at night when the ancient humpbacked drawbridges over the canals are sublimely illuminated - ditto to the ancient Flemish facades of old warehouses lining the old port area. One reason for staying in Bruges.
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