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Family of four needs Swiss Rail Ticket Advice

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Jul 6th, 2013, 01:00 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Jul 2013
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Family of four needs Swiss Rail Ticket Advice

Help! My head is spinning trying to figure out the best tickets for us to get, and there are posters out there who seem to know this stuff cold. We are a U.S. family of four -- two adults, one youth age 21, one teen age 15. I know we need a family card so 15 year old can travel for free, but what else is best is a mystery. We arrive Zurich July 23 and want to travel by train immediately to Wengen. On July 25, we want to ride the Jungfraujoch excursion. On July 27, we need to travel by train from Wengen to Luzerne, and on July 28, we need to go by train from Luzerne to Sils-Maria. I think that's the last train ride, although we will need to get to St. Moritz on July 31, where we will pick up a car and head to Northern Italy. Please, any advice about the right rail tickets to get for the Swiss leg of our trip would be so appreciated. I'm thinking it may be the 3 or 4-day Swiss Saver Flexi Pass, but not sure. Does the Saver Flexi Pass apply to the Jungfraujoch excursion? Should we wait for arrival in Switzerland to buy tickets? PalenQ and other experts, are you out there? Thanks so much for any help.
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Jul 6th, 2013, 02:04 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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Hmm, PalenQ is great but till you hear from him/her, you need to lay out on paper if the 8-day Swiss Pass might work better; you might have to pay out the 7/23 or 7/31 trip as a separate one-way ticket either way since I count 9 non-consecutive days usage(we are buying our Swiss Pass in Zurich and a Zurich-Lucerne one-way ticket as we need it later on as do you for more expensive legs). The Jungfrau will only be covered 25% and 50% with either depending on your final destination, believe your trip to Wengen will also be extra. Yes, you can purchase in Zurich, we were advised by Swiss Tourism in NYC there is no savings in buying here and now. See Rick Steves site or Swiss Rail for costs, it's all there.
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Jul 6th, 2013, 06:05 PM
  #3
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I made a mistake when I said we arrive 7/23, we actually leave US 7/23 but don't arrive Zurich until 7/24, so that makes 8 consecutive days of travel, or 3 days of train travel (plus 1 more for the Jungfrau excursion). Does that make a difference in your opinion? I'm confused by what you mean "Jungfrau will only be covered 25% and 50% with either depending on your final destination". Can you help me understand? Thank you so much!
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Jul 6th, 2013, 10:54 PM
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It's not hard to figure out on your own -- it just takes a methodical approach. A spreadsheet is ideal if you are comfortable with it.

Write out your days and the possible trips you plan to take. Price out each one separately at

www.sbb.ch and
http://www.jungfrau.ch/en/quick-navi...-europe/fares/

Note that some sites (sbb.ch) include the 1/2 fare price and others (jungfrau) do not. I recommend writing down the full fare prices for consistency.

1st option should be the half fare card. Do your fares (for 1 person) total more than 120 CHF? Then the half fare card is better than the full fare.

Next, consider the Swiss Card. That is just like the HFC except your in/out fares are included. If your in/out fares at half price are more than the difference, then the Swiss Card is better than the Half Fare card.

Next, sort out the pass options. This is the tricky bit as you have to look at the applicability of the pass.

http://www.swisstravelsystem.co.uk/d...tskarte_en.pdf

Many of the "higher" excursions in the B.O. are only covered 50% or 25% so the pass offers no advantage there. You'll have to see if the other trips help bring it along.

There are other options but those 3 will cover most scenarios. I'd start with the Half Fare Card as the default and see if the others buy their way own.
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Jul 7th, 2013, 06:09 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
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Standard fares:
ZRH - Berne - Wengen: 85 CHF
ZRH - Lucerne - Meiringen - Wengen: 67 CHF
Wengen - Meiringen - Lucerne: 45 CHF
Lucerne - Andermatt - Glacier Express - Segl Maria: 143 CHF
Lucerne - Thalwil - Landquart - Segl Maria: 87 CHF
Lucerne (dp 9.18) - Lugano - Segl Maria: 140 CHF
Half that fares with half fare card, free with Swisspass, except supplement for Glacier Express, resp Lugano - Segl Maria bus

Wengen - Jungfraujoch - Wengen:
standard fare: 163 CHF
with SwissPass: 129 CHF
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Jul 7th, 2013, 06:45 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
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>>>'m confused by what you mean "Jungfrau will only be covered 25% and 50% with either depending on your final destination".<<<

Passes cover a percent of this portion of your travel. There is a map on the Swiss website that is color-coded and shows what the various passes cover. Scroll down and click on show map of validity. You will have to enlarge it a few times to see the various pass coverage at the bottom.

http://www.swisstravelsystem.com/en/...s-pass-en.html
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Jul 7th, 2013, 07:34 AM
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Swiss passes also apply to the boats and buses. If you find time in your schedule, you might want to take a boat on one of the lakes.

Also note that it's not always clear up at Jungfraujoch. It's an expensive trip to not be able to see the view. Down in the towns there are screens transmitting the view from Jungfraujoch. You will know ahead of time if it's cloudy/foggy on your chosen day.

And I assume you're willing to swallow the drop off fee for picking up a rental car in Switzerland and dropping it off in another country. Assuming you don't have a European driver's license, you need an International Driver's License to drive in Italy -- to go along with your own license. In North America, IDPs are easily available at your local AAA/CAA office. About $25 including photo.
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Jul 21st, 2013, 10:57 PM
  #8
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You guys are outstanding. Thank you all. The 3 day Flexipass looks like it adds up best, especially considering the added benefit for under 16 kids.

One last question: Is it ever worth reserving seats on the train? E.g., on one day, we really need to make sure we get where we're getting on time (from Lucerne to Sils Maria). Are there advantages to paying up to save seats or seats together?
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Jul 22nd, 2013, 04:57 AM
  #9
 
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Lucerne - Andermatt - Glacier Express - Segl Maria: 143 CHF
book the Andermatt - St. Moirtz leg (compulsory)
Lucerne - Thalwil - Landquart - Segl Maria: 87 CHF
no reservation required
Lucerne (dp 9.18) - Lugano - Segl Maria: 140 CHF
book the Lugano - Segl Maria leg (recommended)
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Jul 22nd, 2013, 05:44 AM
  #10
 
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Hr
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