Eurostar advance bookings

Feb 26th, 2008, 12:43 AM
  #1  
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Eurostar advance bookings

Driving UK and France later this year, and crossing between the two by Eurostar from Ashford to Paris.

Problem is, to get cheaper "Earlybird" rates on rental cars I have to book and pay for them by 31 March. But my attempts to pre-book the Eurostar are met with stiff resistance - they will only allow bookings up to 120 days ahead.

It puts me in a position of committing to a car drop-off at Ashford to connect with a Eurostar departure date and time, way before I can confirm that I will be able to get on that particular Eurostar departure date, time (or even place).

Has anyone else experienced this and hopefully found a way to beat the 120-day pre-booking limit?
twoflower is offline  
Feb 26th, 2008, 12:52 AM
  #2  
 
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I don't know how you can book earlier but if you play around on the Eurostar site for dates up to June, you will see that a lot more trains go from Ebbsfleet than Ashford. Ebbsfleet is the new station that only opened last November and is intended to be the main station south of London. You may be better off dropping your car there, if possible, as there will be more choice of trains.
Kay
KayF is online now  
Feb 26th, 2008, 01:13 AM
  #3  
 
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There is a 120-day pre-booking limit because the timetable is not fixed that far ahead. There is no financial advantage in booking long in advance. Just wait until bookings open, and then go to the website.
chartley is offline  
Feb 26th, 2008, 03:16 PM
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Thanks KayF, I tried getting information on Ebbsfleet but couldn't. I googled "Eurostar Ebbsfleet timetables" and all sorts of variants of that, but all that came up was uninformative publicity blurb about the new terminal being opened.

But I'll try again. Obviously the information has to be somewhere.

Thanks also Chartley, but my reason for booking ahead wasn't financial advantage. My reason was that ideally I should securely my Eurostar booking first, so I can then book my rental car drop-off to match my Eurostar departure place, date and time.

As it is, I'm forced to book the rental car first, and my fear is that I will then be unable to get a booking on the particulasr Eurostar that connects with my rental car drop-off place, date and time.

But maybe I'll just have to do it and hope for the best!!

twoflower is offline  
Feb 26th, 2008, 03:40 PM
  #5  
 
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Just mark your calendar and book 120 days ahead (not say 100 days ahead) and you should be fine.
highflyer is offline  
Feb 26th, 2008, 09:36 PM
  #6  
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You're right, highflyer, that's exactly what I'll have to do. I had hoped there might be another answer, but...

My calendar is already marked for a "bring-up" on 20 May!!!!

Cheers
twoflower is offline  
Feb 26th, 2008, 10:12 PM
  #7  
 
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If you clear your cookies and go back into the Eurostar website as an American you can book up until November
alanRow is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 05:59 AM
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alan,

I think twoflower is an Aussie so not sure if that would work.

I'm sure you'll be fine booking 120 days out especially for a September trip which isn't peak season for Eurostar.
highflyer is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 08:00 AM
  #9  
ira
 
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Hi T,

Have you checked out www.autoeurope.com, www.kemwel.com and www.gemut.com?

You can change reservations without penalty, and might get a lower price.

ira is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 08:08 AM
  #10  
 
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You can book up to nine months in advance in the U.S. thru RailEurope and though prices thru www.eurostar.com in pounds can be cheaper this is not nearly always the case as RE also has great prices if booked far in advance. I always advise having someone do a manual search of RailEurope for your date as raileurope.com IME does not always show the lowest prices that actually may be available. I always advise calling BETS 800-441-2387, Eurostar experts and RailEuropea agents but with great service - i believe they will make a tentative booking without payment and that would give you at least something cheap whilst you scour eurostar.com for cheaper fares as they come on that site. (Don't tell BETS i told you this but i believe it's possible and a way to hedge your bets.) In any case always compare prices in U.S. and in Europe at www.eurostar.com as they do not always coincide and one may be cheaper than the other.
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 08:58 AM
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<<< I think twoflower is an Aussie so not sure if that would work. >>>

Why, can't Ozzies clear cookies?

Nothing stopping you using whichever version of the website you like - after all you might be an Ozzie living in the US
alanRow is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 12:40 AM
  #12  
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Actually I'm a Kiwi living in Australia. I think I (vaguely) understand the concept of "clearing cookies" but wouldn't have a clue if I've got any cookies to clear, or how to do it. To me, "cookies" is an Americanism for sweet biscuits!! And would not clearing cookies (if I have them) make life difficult for me ever after, or can cookies easily be re-established with the click of a mouse? Methinks I'll have a chat to my IT guru at work!

Since last posting I have found a website www.railplus.com.au that offers bookings for the date I want. The times are different from the current timetable, and the prices are between $A216 and $A752 per couple one way.

I'm a bit hesitant to book on a completely unknown website. Does anyone know Railplus, and do the prices sound OK?
twoflower is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 12:55 AM
  #13  
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BTW, thanks ira for the other website suggestions. I'll try them.

PalenQ - I've tried some of these sites but not "through the US". I guess that's where "clearing cookies" comes in?

A further question. When I checked Railplus (prev posting) it asked "Do we have a rail pass covering all countries visited?" and some of the (1st Class) fares quoted had "Passholder" alongside them. What's all that about? I've travelled Eurostar before but never needed an additional pass other than my actual ticket.

Truth is, if it weren't for having to tie in to a fixed date because of the rental car drop-off, I'd do what I did that last time - i.e. drop into a local agency a week before and buy a ticket on any date & time around when I wanted. That time I got an immensely cheaper fare than any I had seen on the internet before leaving home.
twoflower is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 01:39 AM
  #14  
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OK folks, sorry for this barrage of postings, but it'd done. Autoeurope.com and gemut.com were time-restricted (no more than 60 days in advance) and kemwel.com didn't have a rail option, but raileurope.com offered same timetable and price as railplus.com. so I've booked it on the strength of it being a site known by people on this forum.

Thanks everyone for your input.
twoflower is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 06:23 AM
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Passholder fare is only for those who have a railpass valid in Britain or France - like a BritRail pass or eurailpass - thus it is irrelevant to you

Passholder fares can be good deals, especially since they are indeed changeable up until the time of the train.
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 09:34 AM
  #16  
 
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Why do you need to pick the car up in Ebbsfleet or Ashford? You can pick the car up anywhere that is convenient, similarly drop it off anywhere convenient and drive to the joining point for car users.
helen_belsize is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 04:26 PM
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Twoflower, I have just booked earlybird Eurostar fares for Sept with our travel agent (in Australia) had to be for by today. They used Railplus I think to book through. Cost was $398 for 2 adults and 2 youths Inc $30 booking fee.
mariebut is offline  
Feb 29th, 2008, 03:47 AM
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but marie - are these Aussie dollars or U.S. $s?

curious
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 1st, 2008, 08:08 AM
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curious?
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 4th, 2008, 01:33 AM
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Sorry ,they were AUD prices using an Australian Travel agent.
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