Notices

German Rail Pass Questions

Reply

Jun 26th, 2010, 05:07 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 10
German Rail Pass Questions

I will be traveling to Germany alone with my 16 year old son (I'm Mom). We are planning on buying a 9 or 10 day 1st class twin Germain Rail Pass. I decided 1st class may be better since we will be traveling distances with our luggage.I do have a couple questions:

1. If I buy online directly from Bahn, how long does it take to get to the United States and is the post pretty reliable? Am I taking my chances ordering directly from Bahn? Rail Europe just seemed so much more expensive.

2. Can the German Rail Pass be used between any two cities in Germany? Or or there cases where it is not valid (i.e. certain cities, certain regions)? I think I read I can also take it to Salzburg?

Any other information anyone can provide would be greatly appreciated. I normally just take an escorted tour (through Trafalgar or some other company) but decided on doing this on our own to give us the most flexibility. However, I do not want to drive and we are taking the train everywhere and I'm be a bit nervous (silly, isn't it?).

Thanks in advance for your help.
MichTraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 26th, 2010, 05:32 AM
  #2
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 73,259
Hi MT,

Before you buy any railpasses, you must know that
a. you have to buy reservations for those trains where it is required
b. Bahn.de does have discounted point-to-point tickets
c. there are various regional passes
d. you can go to www.railsaver.com and enter your itinerary and click "only if it saves money".

If railsaver tells you NOT to get the pass, you can believe them.

ira is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 26th, 2010, 06:18 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 78
Ira's suggestion that you use Railsaver is correct. If you do decide on buying a German Rail Pass buy it at the train station at the airport. That will be the least expensive way. I assume that you will probably land in Frankfurt. Also there are no required reservations on any except a few German trains which you will not be using anyway. However if you are traveling long distances or at peak times they it is better to have them.
haxter1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 26th, 2010, 06:35 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 2,248
Hello MichTraveler

Are you landing at Frankfurt Airport? If so, there is a wonderful rail ticket office right there to buy your passes. Very friendly and helpful, English-speaking too.

On a recent trip, we purchased 7-day twin first-class passes. I don't know if there are restricted regions, but we went all over the place, and it was valid everywhere. Only twice did we pay the extra amount for a reservation, and it turned out it wouldn't have been necessary.

Happy travels!
swisshiker is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 26th, 2010, 06:37 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 3,916
Normally I would suggest you look into advance purchase discount fare tickets, but the Bahn summer promo looks like a good deal and you won't be locked into specific departure dates and times, which you would be with discount fare tickets.

The Bahn recommends reservations on certain high traffic routes, but only a few ICE Sprinter trains require them. Reservations are cheap if bought in Germany.

IMO, 2nd class is fine.

Your pass is good between any two cities in Germany and to certain border cities like Salzburg.

If you order passes from the Bahn, you should have them in about a week.
TimS is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 26th, 2010, 06:57 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 78
The pass will take you on anything operated by the Deutsche Bahn going anywhere. You might be using local trains or the S Bahn etc some of the time. These only have second class accommodations making it possible to get a rail pass for fewer days.
haxter1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 26th, 2010, 07:08 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 98
I always buy my rail passes from Rick Steves, they have a nice informative staff and they throw in free stuff, like a guide book.
LittleA is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 26th, 2010, 08:18 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 3,916
Besides saving money by buying a 2nd class pass for yourself and a youth pass for your son, he will likely find a lot more kids his age to talk to in 2nd class.
TimS is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 26th, 2010, 02:47 PM
  #9
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 10
Thanks everyone for all your help.

- Ira, thanks for the railsaver.com. It's great.
- If railsaver.com says to buy an Adult City-to-City Ticket, is that still through Deutsche Bahn or a different service?
- Yes I am flying into Frankfurt. Can I buy an 8 or 9 day twin railpass in Frankfurt or are there only certain passes you can buy?
- Where is the Deutsche Bahn ticket office at the Frankfurt Airport?

Thanks once again for all the assistance and recommendations.
MichTraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 27th, 2010, 06:58 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 78
You can buy any German Rail Pass at the Frankfurt Airport. It did not used to be this way.

There is a ticket office on the right just as you leave Terminal 1 to cross to the train stations.
haxter1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 27th, 2010, 07:24 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 337
Wow! Thanks Ira! Just when I had about given up on this website, you came along with a totally new and extremely helpful tool. I still prefer to drive but Rail Saver will help me convince my travel companions that a rental is usually better and cheaper for our needs. That saves me a lot of searching.

Thanks!
Otzi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 27th, 2010, 11:44 AM
  #12
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 3,916
Otzi,

railsaver.com only compares the cost of full fare tickets to that of a railpass. Booking train tickets in advance on national rail sites to take advantage of discount fares can be cheaper than driving, even when there are 3-4 people traveling together.
TimS is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 10th, 2013, 05:44 AM
  #13
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 694
I am planning to visit Frankfurt next week and plan to buy the German rail pass at Frankfurt airport. Hope it is still available from there.
Mohammed is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 18th, 2013, 01:42 AM
  #14
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 694
Hi I wwish to mention here for the benefit of any future users that I did visit Frankfurt on 16th October 2013 and was able to buy the German Rail Pass at Frankfurt Airport Rail Station.

At the airport you need to go to the "Fernb" station which basically means long distance station. There are two stations, one for regional trains and one for the long distance and inter city trains. Then you need to go to the "Travel Center" whoch is above the platform area and you can buy the German Rail Pass at this Travel Center. It is not sold at the station normal ticket counters.
Mohammed is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 19th, 2014, 06:32 AM
  #15
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 1
Thank you all for the useful information. Going to Frankfurt next Monday and will buy the German Rail Pass at the 'Travel Center' as suggested by Mohammed!
Estela_Carvalho is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 19th, 2014, 07:03 AM
  #16
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,566
2. Can the German Rail Pass be used between any two cities in Germany? Or or there cases where it is not valid (i.e. certain cities, certain regions)? I think I read I can also take it to Salzburg?>

Yes any and all trains are 100% valid with the pass except Thalys trains from Cologne thru Germany to Brussels and a handful of ICE Sprinter trains on which you must pay a supplement - otherwise the zillions of trains you can use with your pass, including city S-Bahns and yes to Salzburg, Asutria.

Check these superb sources IMO for lots on German trains and passes: www.ricksteves.com; www.seat61.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com - I have bought many passes thru the years from Byron at the latter - IME he will expertly answer any questions even if not buying. RailEurope prices are usually about the same as ordering thru www.bahn.de - but sometimes no - figure in any conversion fees for foreign transactions, mailing fees, etc.
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 19th, 2014, 09:51 AM
  #17
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,566
Only twice did we pay the extra amount for a reservation, and it turned out it wouldn't have been necessary.>

Yes in first class in zillions of trips I have taken with a first-class railpass I really cannot recall seeing a full first-class train car though first class is IME getting more full than it has been - reservations - optional - generally a waste of time and money.

2nd class yes - often much more full and at times SRO IME - not always - never can tell until the train rolls in - I would make seat reservations if 2nd class and say a couple wants to sit together - have a window or aisle seat, etc.
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 19th, 2014, 12:56 PM
  #18
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,566
Just to be sure buy a Twin Pass, one with two names on one pass and cheaper than two solo passes - one person could use the pass without the other if needed but just to mention since I did not see Twin Pass in OP's statement - maybe somewhere above?
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 20th, 2014, 01:09 PM
  #19
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,566
Just note to the rail desk clerk when you want to start using your pass' validity period - that day or a few days later - for the overall one-month period - you have to take the pass up to a ticket window to have it activated so you may as well do it then - activating it for the one-month period then you'll have X-number of boxes on it to write the date in ink in that you want the pass to be valid - if your ride without doing that you may be fined for riding without a valid ticket!
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 21st, 2014, 11:44 AM
  #20
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,566
- if your ride without doing that you may be fined for riding without a valid ticket!>

and not only be made to buy a full-price ticket as one recently told me he not only had to buy a full-fare ticket but as a penalty they burned for him one of his unused days on a pass - heartless he felt (especially after he helped defend Germany in the Cold War - well West Germany that is.
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:53 PM.