Eurostar vs. Regional Trains

Apr 19th, 2007, 06:23 AM
  #1  
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Eurostar vs. Regional Trains

I'm trying to book a train ticket for my husband from Florence to Milan in June. He is very nervous about travelling alone (he speaks no Italian) so I wanted to get a reservation on the Eurostar train, but when I search the trenitalia website it only offers me regional trains. I found the Eurostar trains on RailEurope.com but I think they charge a premium and I didn't see a ticketless option. (I always prefer to buy directly from a provider and not use a third-party website, but I'm stumped on this.) What am I doing wrong on trenitalia?
angevine74 is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 06:31 AM
  #2  
 
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Are you trying to reserve more than two months in advance? Seat reservations generally open two months in advance. You can check schedules on www.bahn.de - this will show all trains, whether bookings are open or not.
GeoffHamer is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 06:32 AM
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Did you try to choose tickets more than 60 days in advance? the site won't sell tickets that early.

By the way, there are many ticket machines at the train station in Florence that have an 'English' option--easy to use.
ellenem is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 06:33 AM
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OP - eurostar trains require reservations which can be changed on regular fare tickets i believe

Regional trains do not accept reservations and fares i believe are calculated by distance and are dirt cheap but would take much longer on that route.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 06:40 AM
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Yes there are loads and loads of machines in stations and in January i experimented with them and found then idiot proof - all in English and very simply to use (unlike www.trenitalia.com)

my only question is do they accept American credit cards - similar machines in France and Dutch train stations do not - i think these do but not sure. Do they? I had a railpass so never pushed the to buy button.

But with at least hourly Eurostar trains no problem getting on.

And at last resort try BETS (800-441-2387), a RailEurope agent who won't charge RE's mailing fees i think and at least you can ask them if the Eurostar tickets RE issues are changeable - i believe they are if you select the 'flexible' fare on Italy Eurostar fares. these i believe you can change without penalty in Europe.

But the station machines are a snap and Fodorites will gladly help you with the often fickle trenitalia.com sight, where you may also be able to save money over buying at stations.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 06:41 AM
  #6  
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My date is less than 60 days away (June 9)and I know it would be simpler to get a ticket after we are in Italy, but my husband likes to have things pre-arranged, so I thought I'd humor him After all, he is going home and I am staying behind for a month in Florence, so it's the least I can do!
angevine74 is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 06:45 AM
  #7  
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I looked at the site suggested www.bahn.de and I found a good Eurostar option. If I book thru that site am I paying any additional fees I wouldn't pay if I could get this train on trenitalia? Seems odd to book a train in Italy from the US thru a German site!
angevine74 is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 06:48 AM
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Although trenitalia sells tickets 60 days in advance, very often they do not have all the runs up until 30 days in advance. There are a number of reasons for this. So keep checking. There will be ES trains from Florence to Milan up on the site eventually.
TravMimi is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 06:49 AM
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I've never heard that you can book an Italian train on the bahn.de site but maybe it's changed.

RailEurope would charge $47 Florence-Milan in 2nd class and $64 in 1st class including the reservation. But, they would also charge an $18 handling fee and $15-18 mailing fee, which makes just one train ticket much more expensive (these are flat fees regardless of number of tickets ordered). BETS would i think charge $5 mailing fee and $15 order fee - so $67 would be your cheapest total by ordering in the U.S. or about 50 euros - compare with trenitalia.com to see how much you'd save there and balance how important it is for hubby to have the ticket in his hands and just have to board the train. Again i believe these tickets thru RE are changeable but ask.

Myself i'd just buy at the station but understand novice travelers reluctance to do this.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 07:27 AM
  #10  
LJ
 
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Although I do understand the hesitancy of novice travellers to simply go the station and book at the machine, it is very simply the easiest and safest way. Easy because it truly is idiot-proof (and I ought to know, I am a techno-moron) and safe because you can be sure the train schedule is up-to-date. Yes, they do take credit cards from North America (and everywhere else!)
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Apr 19th, 2007, 07:39 AM
  #11  
MaureenB
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I also recommend BudgetEuropeTravel.com, if you want to buy the tickets in advance.

If possible, take EuroStar, I think it's more comfortable and you won't have the constant stops.

We used our American Visa credit card at all the train stations we were at in Italy last May, and there was no problem at all. However, my travel companion could converse in Italian, so that helped a lot!
>-
 
Apr 19th, 2007, 07:44 AM
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Sometimes the more you travel the more you understand why in certain situations it's best to have tickets and reservations in advance.
TravMimi is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 02:54 PM
  #13  
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Thanks for all the good suggestions. I will probably keep checking trenitalia.com since I have lots of time. As for the bahn.de site, it was good for checking schedules but you can't purchase tickets thru the site if you are outside Germany.
angevine74 is offline  
Apr 20th, 2007, 05:53 AM
  #14  
ira
 
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Hi A,

www.trenitalia.com/en/index.htm shows 4 ES* and one IC+ between 07:00 and 10:30 for F to M on June 9.
ira is offline  
Apr 20th, 2007, 05:36 PM
  #15  
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Thanks, ira -- those trains are indeed on the site now. Domestic harmony is restored
angevine74 is offline  
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