EURail Pass worth it for this itinerary?

Mar 14th, 2014, 11:04 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 41
EURail Pass worth it for this itinerary?

Hi everyone,

This itinerary is not set in stone but I would like to hear some suggestions regarding the EURail pass.

I will be 26 while my wife will be 24 at the time of this trip.

London
Bath
Amsterdam
Berlin
Nuremberg
Prague
Vienna
Venice
Salzburg
Munich
Gimmelwald
Strasbourg
Cochem
Ghent

This will be over the course of 60 days. Eight countries.
England, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, France, Czech Republic, Austria.

Is it worth it to buy a EURail Pass?

Thank your for your help
jspedz is offline  
Mar 14th, 2014, 11:35 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 6,605
Really, the only way to determine this is to pretend to buy tickets on the national rail sites of the countries you want to visit. In most countries, there are good discounts for advance purchase, but the discounted tickets tend to lock you into a specific train. You might want to make a note of the full cost and the discounted cost for each leg of the trip. For cross-border trips, you sometimes have to consult both countries' sites, because if you have to change trains between A and B, you might need to price the first ticket on country A's site, and the next ticket on country B's site.

Once you've summed up the costs, check the rail passes available, and see if the total cost would be justified. It's much more likely that the pass would pay off for your wife, who's under age 26, than it would for you. I once traveled with my daughter, who had a Eurail youth pass, while I bought point-to-point tickets, which were cheaper than a pass for me.

If the pass that would make most sense is one of the x-trips-in-y-days pass, you should then divide the cost of the pass by the number of pass days you'd need for all the trips, and look at the costs of individual tickets again. Cross off the trips that cost less than the cost of a pass day. Then try again with the total cost of the remaining tickets with a pass that has correspondingly fewer days.

Some of the countries you're visiting may have limits on the number of pass users who can ride on particular trains, and others may have mandatory reservations on certain trains, which would not be covered by the pass. You'll have to look into these possibilities as well. A good web site for train travel advice is www.seat61.com .

On some legs of your trip, cheap flights might make more sense than trains. I use www.skyscanner.net to find budget airline flights. It allows you to put in an entire country as a destination and them shows you which cities would be cheapest to fly into. This can be very useful if your itinerary is a bit flexible.

All of this research is a bit tedious, but it's the only way to determine whether a rail pass would be advantageous. Start with the country where you have the most train trips, and perhaps before you get to the end of your list, you'll already have an idea of the value of the pass.

Eurail passes can't be used in the UK, and I can tell you already that the expensive Britrail pass won't save you any money there. Then, from the UK to Amsterdam, I would take the Eurostar, which isn't covered by the pass, either. If you buy Eurostar tickets well in advance, you can get good discounts. Flying would be another option on this route.

So, you should start your Eurail research with Amsterdam.
bvlenci is offline  
Mar 15th, 2014, 05:57 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 18
I will be nice...$3,086 EuroRail Global Pass. 2 months continuous travel by 1st class. Does not cover England, but covers everything else-including Italy if you want to see Venice. That's where it's located.
jersey61 is offline  
Mar 15th, 2014, 10:34 PM
  #4  
 
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Posts: 2,362
Like bvlenci writes, research is key. For example, on the Prague-Vienna-Venice-Salzburg-Munich segments, advanced booking on ÖBB (the Austrian state railway) will offer considerably more savings than the Eurail pass, including overnight trains. I would also look at WestBahn (Vienna to Salzburg), as well as the DeutschBahn site for travel including German cities.

Flying is also an option to consider. I'm most familiar with AirBerlin and NIki, and Austrian Airlines, who often run great sale prices for the short hops. German Wings and Brussels Airlines might be worth a look, too. Happy Planning!
fourfortravel is offline  
Mar 16th, 2014, 10:12 AM
  #5  
 
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I seriously doubt anyone could travel enough to cover the cost of a pass that costs that much. None of the passes cover reservations. Some trains have mandatory reservations, and on others reservations are strongly recommended. Almost all countries have advance purchase discounts.
bvlenci is offline  
Mar 16th, 2014, 10:14 AM
  #6  
 
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Most people buy a pass that offers x days of train travel over a period of y weeks. These cost less. Even more reasonable are the Saver passes, which are for two people who are traveling together at all times. However, whenever I've priced these, I've almost always found that you could get a better price with advance purchase of single tickets.
bvlenci is offline  
Mar 16th, 2014, 11:46 AM
  #7  
 
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>>Once you've summed up the costs, check the rail passes available, and see if the total cost would be justified.<<<

Then you have to tack on any supplements that are mandatory and not included in a pass. For example, in Italy, all of the fast trains seat reservations are mandatory (10€ each). They are included with a ticket purchase on Trenitalia, but not with a pass.

Rick Steves has a route map that gives cost estimates, but doesn't take into account any advance purchase discounts.

http://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tip...ains/cost-maps
kybourbon is online now  
Mar 16th, 2014, 12:43 PM
  #8  
 
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There are relatively few trains in Europe that charge a supplement to Railpass holders - Italy - 10 euros - France TGVs usually about 3 euros - Thalys Paris to Amsterdam an obscene surcharge of about $30 or so but most trains in most countriesand every country on your list allows you to hop on any train anytime with few exceptions - so what kybourbon says about aupplements does not apply to you.

(getting to Gimmelwald is not covered by a Eurailpass though you get a 25 % discount on most of the way from Interlaken, where your pass will take you 100% covered.

If you want flexibility to hop any train anytime in those countries then the Eurailpass will be a boon as full fare fully flexible tickets are or can be very very expensive.

Your best option for a pass is probably a 2-month Eurail Flexipass - a 10-day pass to cover the list in the OP - saverpass though the other traveler could get a Youthpass being under 26 if you average the cost of a single adult pass and a single youthpass you'll find you both can go first class on the Saverpass p.p. for about the same price as two solo passes in different classes (youthpasses are 2nd class; Eurailpasses are first class and that has immense benefits in those countries too.

In first class you will IME of decades of European rail travel find lots of empty seats - easy to stow luggage on an adjoining seat rather than fending for room in perhaps already stuffe3d overhead luggage racks in 2nd class - so that too is a factor with passes - compared to discounted 2nd class tickets that are train-specific and usually non-changeable non-refundable and as they are sold in limited numbers must be booked in stone months at times in advance to get - and tracking down 10 or so discounted tickets from various web sites can take hours and encounter frustrations if they don't work as you think.

anyway I think a railpass for your OP list is a no-brainer. Check out these sites for lots of great info on European trains - www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.seat61.com - great info on discounted tickets) and www.ricksteves.com.

Again in all those places you are going to very very few trains that you will not even need to take require supplements and seat reservations - you just show up with a pass and hop on and that to me at least is priceless!
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 16th, 2014, 05:16 PM
  #9  
 
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(Cost of Pass) I don't think this couple is taking a travel secretary with them to handle all the possible tickets. They could be college students by looking at their ages. In that case, I'm sure they are able to research all the possible train variations. They might even consider hopping a ride if they come across a farmer with a hay wagon. Perhaps, they are, or at least one of them is independently rich. I don't know many people who can take 60 days off from work. Once you start looking at individual rail lines and consider trying to use point to point for some portions and maybe a German twin pass to cover German cities, etc etc. Cost would probably still be over 2,100.00. (does anyone want to do the work)? If these two are not rich, I seriously don't think they are going to see all these cities. If they are rich, they have the money for the 2 month rail pass and can wave to the farmer with the hay wagon instead of asking for a ride.
jersey61 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2014, 07:01 PM
  #10  
 
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Budget airlines can often be cheaper than the trains and you have to factor in how much time you are actually going to spend transiting to all the places vs being in them and doing/seeing things.

You should consider flying into London (visit Bath) and then fly one of the many budget airlines to one of your further points (Venice?, Prague? Salzburg? Munich?). Work your way back to a departure city (Amsterdam? Berlin?) by train for your flight home.
kybourbon is online now  
Mar 17th, 2014, 07:46 AM
  #11  
 
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Not sure budget airlines are cheaper than trains if they are using a first-class Saverpass (flexi two months validity) which costs about 55 euros a day for unlimited travel and on a night train for an extra 25 euros or so you can get a sleeping berth in a couchette - saving about $30-40 a night even if just staying in hostels and much more if in hotels.

So if you can do a budget airline for 80 euros that would be the break even point for comparing to cost of an overnight train - plus the cost of a hotel.

No I would not say often be cheaper - not even factoring in the cost of getting to the airport and back, etc.

Plus overnight trains save time over flying - city centre to city centre - young folk often have no problem sleeping on trains and often they have others their age to be with.

discount airlines are also notorious for add on charges.
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 17th, 2014, 07:58 AM
  #12  
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Thank you everyone for your responses.

From my estimate the EU Rail Select Pass First Class (4 Countries)- 10 days of service would be the best bet for us. It would cost $1512 for us, and we would have to add the countries not included in the pass. (England and we would likely pick another 2 countries not to included in the pass). The total then would be around $2000 for the both of us. This would not include the costs of flights.

Haha. No we are not rich. We are students, and we have been saving for years while working and paying for school. Travel expenses will be our main costs, we will be hosteling and cooking at the hostel where we can.
jspedz is offline  
Mar 17th, 2014, 08:32 AM
  #13  
 
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>>>It would cost $1512 for us, and we would have to add the countries not included in the pass. <<<

I don't see those prices. I see them a bit cheaper ($1420). Where are you pricing them?

It might be cheaper to add a point-to-point ticket (for those where you only have one or two train rides) than a couple of more countries.

FYI - You have more than 10 days of travel listed.
kybourbon is online now  
Mar 17th, 2014, 09:30 AM
  #14  
 
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10 day Select Saverpass = $714 p.p. currently though those prices are now fluctuating all the time as currency exchnage rates do>

and keep in mind the 7 pm rule with overnight trains - board an overnight train after 7 pm (19:00) and your unlimited travel day is all the next day - you can travel at will from 7pm to the following midnight - thus if you want to cover ground on one day on a flexipass you could say take the train from Amsterdam to Berlin and use it all the next day - say even just to go to Potsdam or ride the very utilitarian S-Bahns thru the heart of Berlin (passes valid on S-Bahns as they are run by the railways but not U-Bahns, city metros)
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 18th, 2014, 12:48 PM
  #15  
 
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FYI - You have more than 10 days of travel listed.>

Well yes but some of those are in the UK where Eutrail passes don't pass - I see 10 fairly long or expensive train trips listed in the OP that would all nicely be covered by a 10-day Eurail Flexipass Saverpass - the Global one as there is a maximum of 5 countries on the Eurail Select pass which for 10 days I do not think is that much cheaper perhaps than a Global 10 day pass.

Switzerland is one country where a single-country pass takes relatively little to realize the benefits of - maybe drop two days from the more expensive Eurailpass and it would cover a separate Swiss Pass that would cover travel to Gimmelwald, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Murren and Gtrindelwald from Interlaken 100%.
PalenQ is offline  

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