Eurail bookings

Old Nov 11th, 2007, 06:54 PM
  #1  
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Eurail bookings

I see some Eurail routes have to have seating prebooked. How does it work? Can you book (prepay) for the route, and then reserve seats later (by phone? email?), when you might have a better idea of the exact date you want them? How late can you leave it before the date of travel?
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Old Nov 11th, 2007, 08:42 PM
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What trip are you talking about?

On most of the highspeed routes (Eurostar, TGV, Thalys, Eurostar Italia), your ticket includes mandatory reservations. If you have a railpass, then you pay extra for the reservations and surcharge.

On German's ICE, reservations are optional. You can look for any seat or stand.
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Old Nov 12th, 2007, 03:31 AM
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ira
 
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Hi T,

For the trains that have mandatory reservations, you are assigned a seat when you make your booking.

You can usually book from 60 days out to the day before.

I wouldn't use Eurail to buy train tickets.

What is your itinerary?

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Old Nov 26th, 2007, 10:03 PM
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Sorry, been off the air for a few weeks - holidaying in New Zealand.

Intrigued by the comment that you wouldn't use Eurail to buy train tickets. Can you elaborate?

The itinerary I'm thinking of (still tentative) is:
Nice-Milan-Venice-Verons-Turin-Nice.

(Not even sure if there is a direct Turin-Nice option or if I'd have to backtrack and do the Genoa coastal route again).
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Old Nov 26th, 2007, 10:04 PM
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Bad spelling - for Verons read Verona.
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Old Nov 27th, 2007, 01:21 AM
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Eurail is the name a ticket, a pass for travel on European trains. There are no Eurail trains. French trains are run by the SNCF and Italian main line trains are run by Trenitalia.
For daytime trains between Nice and Italy, just buy tickets in Europe.
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Old Nov 27th, 2007, 05:53 AM
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Like GeoffHamer says, just buy your Nice-Italy ticket after you get to France. Buy your intra-Italy and Turin-Nice tickets after you get to Italy.

You can wait until you get to the station to buy them, or buy them a few days early from any Italian train station.
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Old Nov 27th, 2007, 06:03 AM
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ira
 
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Hi T,

>ntrigued by the comment that you wouldn't use Eurail to buy train tickets. Can you elaborate?

a. Eurail doesn't list all of the available trains

b. Eurail doesn't offer discounts.

Use www.voyages-sncf.com for Nice to Milan. They have a 15E PREMS fare. You can print the ticket online.

For travel in Italy, check schedules and prices at http://www.trenitalia.com/en/index.html

Look for the 25% off "Amica" fares.

Enjoy your visit.

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Old Nov 27th, 2007, 11:07 AM
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Twoflower, I think maybe you don't know what "eurail" is. Maybe you do, it's just not clear. Eurail is the name of a travel agency that has a website and sells train passes, tickets and other things in North America. Some people use that term as a generic for any European railway for some reason. Maybe because there is that marketing item called a Eurail train pass for visitors, but that's a term just for that pass.

So, Ira is advising you not buy tickets through the Eurail website/agency as they will obviously mark them up over what you'd pay if you bought them directly from the country's own rail company at a station in Europe.

There's no reason to reserve seats later than you book as they are compulsory, even if you could. It's not like airlines where they'd allow you to buy a ticket and never reserve a seat if you wanted. Then you'd get whatever was left over at checkin. Trains don't have checkin, so they do it when they sell the ticket. I imagine it helps them keep track of things.
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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 06:17 PM
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I've been a travel agent so I think I understand Eurail. I wouldn't describe it as an "agency" though. More of a "pass" whereby you pay for various amounts of bulk rail travel (e.g. 15 days within one month) rather than 15 individual tickets for each journey. And we're told that the reason you'd do this is because the price of such a pass would be LESS than buying individial rail tickets for each journey. But if I'm wrong about that last point, please let me know and I'll buy individual tickets as and when I need them.
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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 09:55 PM
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You can enter your itinerary on www.railsaver.com and click only if a pass saves me money. Railsaver will give you an idea whether a pass is worth it (usually isn't for Italy), but doesn't always take into account discount tickets available directly from the train companies. I really don't think a pass if cost effective for the travel you have listed.

You will pay more to buy point-to-point tickets through an agency such as Eurail since they are marking the tickets up and many times adding a high mailing fee.

You can purchase online directly from France or Italy using the links Ira gave you. Keep in mind that the price purchased directly will usually include the seat reservation and not cost extra as with a rail pass.
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Old Nov 30th, 2007, 12:19 AM
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<<< And we're told that the reason you'd do this is because the price of such a pass would be LESS than buying individial rail tickets for each journey. >>>

Many overseas visitors, especially (if you'll forgive me for saying so) Americans, appear genetically programmed to ask for a $500 Eurail pass even for just one $50 train ride. Boy, rail pass marketing must be good! For a simple train trip from A to B, normal point-to-point tickets will usually be cheaper than a rail pass, especially if you are prepared to book in advance on a no-refunds, no-changes-to-travel-plans basis, so you can take advantage of the ultra-cheap budget-airline-beating advance-purchase fares now offered on many routes in western Europe. In fact, even a tour involving several train trips can often be made more cheaply with tickets like these if you pre-book.

www.seat61.com/Railpass.htm

And of course don't forget cheap airlines in Europewhich for long distances can beat trains

www.whichbudget.com
www.skyscanner.net
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Old Nov 30th, 2007, 12:21 AM
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>And we're told that the reason you'd do this is because the price of such a pass would be LESS than buying individial rail tickets for each journey.

I am intrigued by this comment. How can anyone say whether it is cheaper or not before pricing out individual legs? It can be cheaper or more expensive...
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Old Nov 30th, 2007, 05:31 AM
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I'm not sure who told you railpasses are cheaper, but was probably someone trying to sell railpasses.

You listed 5 days of travel and a 5 day Italy/France pass would cost about $300(plus seat reservations - about 15E for fast trains - 3E for slow trains). If you purchase the tickets individually from SCNF and Trenitalia, the cost will be about $150(includes seats).
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Old Nov 30th, 2007, 05:45 AM
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Several years ago railpasses were normally much cheaper than the equivalent point to point tickets

It isn't true anymore
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Old Nov 30th, 2007, 06:14 AM
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Ordinary train tickets in most countries are priced according to the distance travelled: most European countries have a scale of charges which defines the fare for any number of kilometres travelled.
Therefore, whether a railpass is worth buying depends entirely on the distance you're planning to travel in each country.
Very roughly, a journey in France costs twice as much as for the same distance in Italy. The only way to decide whether to get a rail pass is to look up fares on the appropriate railways' websites, and compare the fares with the cost of a railpass.
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Old Nov 30th, 2007, 07:41 AM
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In any case for your travel plans there is no pass marketed that would be cost-effective as your travels are practically all in Italy and the Italy Railpass is almost always more expensive than buying individual segments in Italy or via www.trenitalia.com in advance where you can get advance discounted tickets

One problem with a pass in Italy is that you still must pay 15 euros to ride the Eurostar Italia trains and 5 euros to ride most other fast intercity trains, boosting the cost of the pass.
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