Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

German rail pass (with free KD rail travel) or Bahncard25 with KD Rhine card?

German rail pass (with free KD rail travel) or Bahncard25 with KD Rhine card?

May 23rd, 2014, 04:57 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 36
German rail pass (with free KD rail travel) or Bahncard25 with KD Rhine card?

The KD Rhine card is EUR34 and gives "up to" 50% discount; seniors receive "up to" 30% discount; there is 20% discount with a valid rail ticket.

The Bahn card25 costs EUR125 and gives 25% discount.

the German rail card includes free travel on KD ferries.

Either the Bahncard or the German rail card - I've forgotten which - offers a discounted "twin ticket" for 2 people.

I'm trying to figure out which is best and I'm very confused!

We have 4 nights in Berlin, 3 in Dresden and 5 in Boppard (still dithering slightly about whether that should be 5,3,4 rather than 4, 3, 5)

We shall need to book the ff train trips:
Berlin to Dresden; Dresden to Bingen; Boppard to Frankfurt.
and the ff KD ferry trip:
Bingen to Boppard.
and the ff train and/or ferry trip:
Boppard to Cochem

as well as a mix of ferry and train trips for our 5/4 nights based in Boppard to various other places.

I am finding it virtually impossible to decide which of the above options is the most economical and have almost reached the point of just booking individual trips (at seniors' rates if they're offered - although on the bahn de site there's no mention of seniors when you get into the actual booking bit). The only thing that made me hesitate was the cost of the ferry from Boppard to Koblenz and thence to Cochem. It's seems quite expensisve. And hence my enquiry to the Fodor forum!

Any advice would be much appreciated!
MRM49 is offline  
May 23rd, 2014, 06:33 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 33,295
Have you tried pricing these trips individually on the Bahn site using dummy dates which are as far in advance as possible? The reason I ask is that as far as I know that is about the only way you will know for certain that a pass, any pass, is going to save you a "significant" amount of money.

Now, just what is "significant" to you? Is the pass whatever it costs WORTH not having to even post a question?

I am not trying to be snarky but simply saying that there is no way anybody here can say that a pass is better unless they know the costs of the trips.
Dukey1 is offline  
May 23rd, 2014, 06:48 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 75,910
If taking a handful of longish train trips like between regions as you seem to do the German (Twin if traveling in pairs) Railpass costs about 29 euros a day and allows complete flexibility to hop any train anytime with a very few exceptions that you will never encounter (ICE Sprinter trains require a supplement and reservation I believe but there are very few on these, mainly designed for commuting business types early in the morning I think)

And the German Pass is 100% valid on KD boats on the Rhine (except dinner cruises) and on the Mosel Koblenz to Cochem.

a series of discounted 29 or 39 euro tickets means booking weeks in advance to get these limited in number ducats that are train-specific and cannot be changed nor refunded - yet the pass allows you to hop any train anytime - just pop into the station and jump on board. It also saves a lot of time and effort lining up a string of discounted tickets far ahead of time and lets you keep your schedule flexible - I enjoy just packing up leisurely and heading to the station and jumping on the next of the very frequent inter-city trains.

If spending time in regions you may want to take advantage of local travel passes so only buy days on the pass for when taking inter-city trains - fully flexible tickets can cost a ton so if flexibility is key the pass is priceless.

For lots of good stuff on German trains and passes, etc check out these IMO superb sources: www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.
PalenQ is online now  
May 23rd, 2014, 10:04 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,228
There are a lot of different and confusing offers at the DB site for your rail trips. I suggest looking at P2P fares for your journeys; prices are for two adults:

Berlin-Dresden: €29 savings fare, €80 walk-up fare
Dresden-Boppard: €61 savings fare, €210 walk-up fare
Boppard-FRA: €29 savings fare, €46 walk-up fare

The Savings fares above total €119, almost 1/3 of the walk-up price and are the best possible savings fares - you might not get those if you don't book when soon after they first go on sale (92 days out) so that's the way to do it, but even if you don't, you'll still get a better price than just walking up.

Railpass: Cheapest twinpass is €308/3 travel days.

"and the ff KD ferry trip: Bingen to Boppard"

You cannot book in advance. You can only buy the €34 KD cruise pass in advance. But why do that?? Bingen-Boppard costs only €24.60, and as you already know, you can get a discount by showing the rail ticket you use to get there - so maybe €38 for two total for the cruise.

So with the 3 major travel legs on savings fare tickets and buying your discounted cruise tickets, you're looking at roughly €157 total; you'll also need a train ticket for Boppard-Bingen, so add about €19 walk-up price for two and you're at €176 at the bottom end.

"and the ff train and/or ferry trip:
Boppard to Cochem"

I would definitely advise against a river cruise to Cochem. Too long, too dull after the vastly more impressive Rhine cruise.

Besides, you can hop on a train there and back (change trains in Koblenz) using a VRM mini-group ticket - €21.80 for the two of you:

http://www.vrminfo.de/en/tickets-and...eisure-ticket/

Hey, guess what? You are still coming in at under €200 total as long as you buy those savings fares promptly.

5 nights in Boppard makes sense if you are really going to get out and do some outings - there are plenty to do there. But 5 in Berlin and 4 in Boppard would be just fine as well.
Russ is offline  
May 23rd, 2014, 11:42 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 75,910
You can easily see by full fares that if you want flexibility to hop any train anytime - just show up and hop on that the German railpass would be a boon - IF you want flexibility - if you are comfy with booking these limited in number tickets weeks in advance and are fine with the no changes/refunds allowed then that would be the way to go. It all boils down to flexibility as well as availability of those deep discounted tickets.
PalenQ is online now  
May 23rd, 2014, 12:40 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,228
About savings fares and flexibility: If you are not booking rooms in advance and/or not creating a day-by-day itinerary, a 3-day railpass might be better for you. If you are booking rooms ahead, then you know what day you depart for your next destination, and the potential need for flexibility is greatly reduced.

I must correct PalenQ's inaccurate comment that with advance-sale savings fares, "no changes/refunds (are)allowed."
Such tickets are refundable (for a flat fee) up to the day of scheduled travel; at that point, no refund is possible.

Even then, it MIGHT be refundable if you insured against cancellation; from the DB site:

"It is possible to purchase a DB special fare insurance from EUR 5.00 which will refund the ticket price in case of cancelation in specific cases."

http://www.bahn.com/i/view/DEU/en/pr...ngs-fare.shtml
Russ is offline  
May 23rd, 2014, 01:39 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 75,910
thanks for that correction - they are refundable but not clear is they are changeable - of course probably subject to seats in that fare category being available. Is that right or are they not changeable at all? Just to be clear so I can correct what I say.

The longer a German Railpass is the cheaper per day it becomes - at some point being about 29 euros a day (p.p. Twin Pass) if you have enough travel days on the pass (maximum # is 10 - many years in the off-season they offer an extra day free so if folks buy early even in peak season sometimes they get 4 days for the price of 3 - not always that way but often so.
PalenQ is online now  
May 23rd, 2014, 02:35 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,228
"...not clear is they are changeable... Just to be clear so I can correct what I say."

It's less exhausting to be accurate in the first place. You said there were "no changes," so you must have read that somewhere, or you wouldn't have said it, right? I wonder where.

I don't think the DB site says anything about "changes" - you inserted that word into the discussion. Generally, if you want to change your DB travel plans, you refund the ticket and buy a new one.

The price per day of a railpass and an 11th day after buying a 10-day, €541 twinpass (or the first-class railpass you often recommend at nearly €1,000) seem pretty irrelevant for the OP's situation, PalenQ, given that she has only 3 main travel legs which would cost only €336 for two if she just walked up to the window and paid full price for P2P tickets.
Russ is offline  
May 23rd, 2014, 04:01 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 36
Thank you all, this is really helpful!

Dukey, pricing the trips individually on dummy dates is exactly what I did! But even then I couldn't figure out whether I'd be better off with one of the other options!

and Russ, those prices, Eur 29/61/29 are exactly what I got. Thanks also for your advice re travelling by train to Cochem. This eliminates my concern about the expensive boat. I'll read about the VRM mini thing shortly.

Thanks PalenQ for the websites. I'm familiar with Seat 61 and Rick Steves but not the other so I'll take a look.

As our accommodation is all booked (and if we do make a one day change due to swapping nights in Berlin/Boppard, I'll do that soon, before I book the trains)flexibility for date changes is not required.

We are now at the 3 months out stage so I'm going to go ahead and book those savings fares. Such a relief to have made a decision! thanks again.
MRM49 is offline  
May 23rd, 2014, 04:31 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,228
MRM49: You'll probably use your credit card to purchase the savings fare tickets; you must also choose either the credit card or another identity card to have with you on the train in conjunction with your tickets. Be sure to note which ID you choose and to take it with you.

This year, I used the same credit card for purchase and for an ID. 3 weeks after I bought the tix, the same CC was canceled because of a potential security risk. I fortunately remembered NOT to cut the thing into pieces and stowed it with my passport - then took that card with me on the trip 2 months later; the new replacement card with a new CC # would have been worthless in the eyes of train personnel, who DO and DID check these things, but my void and otherwise worthless CC was with me and carried out its final mission.

Ehen the card was first canceled, I might just as easily have forgotten all about my DB purchase and trashed it. So I think maybe next time I'm at the DB website, I'll skip over the CC/ID option and pick a different ID doc to use.
Russ is offline  
May 23rd, 2014, 05:03 PM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 36
Thanks for the tip Russ. I did know I needed to have ID with me (I've done quite a number of dummy bookings!) but may think more carefully about which one....
MRM49 is offline  
May 24th, 2014, 06:50 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 75,910
Russ quit acting like an attack pit bull - I give the best info I can and at times I may not be up to speed on somethings and when I ask you to clarify something you said I had wrong, more viscous attacks. Lets make this a bit more civil?

And when I say no changes or refunds allowed I mean after the train has departed - if you miss the train - now I did not say this as such but that's what I meant - and to get a refund being your train - how is that done if not in Germany - thru www.bahn.de? It is as simple as you claim. Say if you cancel your trip.
PalenQ is online now  
May 24th, 2014, 08:35 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 75,910
I don't think the DB site says anything about "changes" - you inserted that word into the discussion. Generally, if you want to change your DB travel plans, you refund the ticket and buy a new one.>

In the Savings fare column you'll see whatever cheap Spezial or Sparpreis fare is available on that train, from €19, €29, €39 etc depending on the length of the journey and on how far in advance you book. These fares are cheaper, but they only allow travel on the specific train you've booked, they are refundable and changeable before departure for a fee, no changes or refunds allowed after departure.>

I get my info from www.seat61.com - which says changes are possible before departure - something you say is not so and I do not know who is correct - for a fee - so Man talks about changes too - is he all wet?
PalenQ is online now  
May 25th, 2014, 09:00 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,228
"And when I say no changes or refunds allowed I mean after the train has departed - if you miss the train - now I did not say this as such but that's what I meant..."

Nobody else reads what you mean to say - just what you say. And the stuff you say stays here forever. So I understand why you want to correct yourself. But you can't do that unless someone points it out to you.

"I get my info from www.seat61.com - which says changes are possible before departure - something you say is not so..."

Aargh. I said refunds ARE possible. Here is exactly what I said - again. Read carefully.

"Such tickets are refundable (for a flat fee) up to the day of scheduled travel; at that point, no refund is possible."

I am not a "pit bull" for asking you to be more accurate. The truth is that for some reason, you are SO excited about pushing railpasses that accuracy and truth routinely take a back seat in your posts. If you say buying a savings fare = no changes or refunds, that is just not the truth, and it makes a savings fare ticket look more restrictive than it is; anyone who stumbles upon your statement this week or 5 years from now should be told that it isn't true, and if your purpose is to be helpful, you should make an effort to avoid such overstatements in the first place.

"...so Man talks about changes too - is he all wet?"

Why don't you ask "Man" what he means? I don't write his stuff. IME, it's a simple equation: change = refund + new ticket. That's all.

AS for the passage from "Man" that you quoted above... I would say that his explanation is somewhat inaccurately stated as well:

"...These fares are cheaper, but they only allow travel on the specific train you've booked, they are refundable and changeable before departure for a fee, no changes or refunds allowed after departure."

The truth is, if you have a 9 am train, and you show up "before departure" at 8 am the same day for a refund, YOU WILL NOT GET ONE. You must get the refund THE DAY BEFORE your train is scheduled to depart. The DB site makes this perfectly clear:

"...Possible up to one day before travelling against a fee of EUR 15.00. From the first day of validity: No exchange and no refund possible..."

So maybe Man needs to get an editor if he wants to get it right. Not a bad idea since his passage also contains a comma splice.

Also, it's good to assess the credibility of your information sources. DB created all the rules for German railpasses. Man did not. His content is only as good as the language he uses to summarize the rules from the REAL information source - DB.
Russ is offline  
May 27th, 2014, 08:42 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 75,910
Nevertheless I have found Man in Seat to be a credible source on most fronts.

anyway Russ is a font of great info on discounted tickets which he espouses with a zealousness equal to my railpass mention - I only mention railpasses when they are viable if people want fully flexible travel - to roll out of bed and head to the station, not having to make some non-refundable non-changeable (on say of travel) train - then just a few trips can make a pass viable - and yes mix in some days on regional travel bargains like in Bavaria. I always point out that discounted tickets are available too and yes their restrictions which few ever talk about... more information the better - no one would ever mention railpasses it seems even though for some folks they are priceless in their flexibility, etc. And of course require a handful of longer trips, etc.
PalenQ is online now  
May 28th, 2014, 11:12 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 75,910
"...Possible up to one day before travelling against a fee of EUR 15.00. From the first day of validity: No exchange and no refund possible...">

a 15 euro fee on a 29 euro ticket - when once says they can be refunded that steep refund fee should be mentioned as saying a 'fee applies' to me at least usually means a few euros.
PalenQ is online now  
May 29th, 2014, 06:41 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 75,910
Also, it's good to assess the credibility of your information sources. DB created all the rules for German railpasses.>

Like when you said a German Pass would not be valid on a German train from Kempten to Garmisch? A German Railpass is valid on all German trains going between two German towns - at least mine has been on two occasions.
PalenQ is online now  
May 29th, 2014, 05:12 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,228
Russ wrote (about the importance of checking DB for good information about DB train travel,) "Also, it's good to assess the credibility of your information sources. DB created all the rules for German railpasses."

PalenQ now writes, "Like when you said a German Pass would not be valid on a German train from Kempten to Garmisch?"

Once again you misunderstand and/or misquote. Once again, I challenge you to provide the quote where I said that. And once again, you will NOT be able to - that's because I NEVER SAID THAT, PalenQ.

Let me save you some trouble. Here's the thread:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...nd-in-july.cfm

So go ahead. Show me where I claimed that the German Railpass is NOT VALID for Kempten-Garmisch.

What I DID say was that I had CHECKED the DB sources and could find NO EVIDENCE there that the German railpass is valid on that route - then I invited YOU to provide a link that says it's valid there so that my doubts would be assuaged.

"...if you don't mind, please report how you know that this is so, hopefully with a link to that information."

But you still have provided no such link.

Let me repeat what I said to you before:

"This route is not listed on the German railpass DB flyer and it is not included on the flyer map as a valid route either...

Now, that doesn't mean it's absolutely not included, necessarily - maybe the flyer is incomplete..."

If you can read this, then it's clear I am not saying you are wrong. I asked and am asking you again to see some written EVIDENCE, from any source, that backs up your claim. You see, I am ignorant about the GR pass on this route. I've looked myself and can find nothing. I am, so far, unwilling to fully accept what you say on this question - or to pass on what you say to others - until I see some hard evidence - like text from the DB site or other reputable source that says the same thing.

(Do you now see how that is different from saying it's NOT true??)

Your personal experience is not hard evidence - it could be affected by your memory, your lack of attention to accuracy, or other factors. You are human. Very human. And humans often say the darnedest things.
Russ is offline  
May 30th, 2014, 06:48 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 75,910
Before I boarded those trains twice I asked at the train station info - now this was a few years ago and maybe things have changed. I assume the train personal in Garmisch were correct. Why is a Bavarian Pass valid on those trains - same reason a German Pass would be - anyway nuff said - we both try to give the most accurate info we can - I learn from you and hopefully will re-state things correctly in regards to discounted tickets, etc.

Yes we all make mistakes - like when you said someone with a railpass arriving in a station is stuck there transit wise when in fact they can use S-Bahns the whole rest of the day, etc.
PalenQ is online now  
May 30th, 2014, 08:38 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,228
"Yes we all make mistakes - like when you said someone with a railpass arriving in a station is stuck there transit wise when in fact they can use S-Bahns the whole rest of the day, etc."

Again, you insist on misquoting and/or misunderstanding. Here's exactly what I said:

Russ: "Railpasses have equipment restrictions; they restrict users to trains..."

(S-Bahns are trains, PalenQ. No one ever said railpass holders can't use S-Bahn trains.)

Russ: "You are not allowed to use local buses, trams, or the U-Bahn. Local daypasses like the Bayern Ticket routinely allow the use not only of trains, but of trams, buses, and U-Bahn as well."

(Why do you think there are hundreds and hundreds of bus, U-bahn, and S-Bahn stops all over Munich, Pal? You see, S-Bahn stations are relatively few in number and NOT always located near hotels or other tourist destinations. TRAINS DON'T USUALLY GET YOU CLOSE ENOUGH TO YOUR DESTINATION.)

Take a look at the S-Bahn routes below - see the large areas of Munich that the S-Bahn leaves untouched?)

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...C3%BCnchen.png

If you want to get to your hotel or do some sightseeing without walking for blocks with your bags, you will often need more than just a train ride and a railpass (and a Bayern ticket takes care of that.)

You might need to use the tram:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...ymphenburg.jpg

Or the U-Bahn:

http://www.michaeltaylor.ca/trams/ge...229-mun-mt.jpg

But your railpass is, as I said, useless for both.

So, Pal, where's the mistake, exactly? Where did I say they are "stuck"?? I said they will have to buy another ticket or hail a taxi to use the local public transport that will get them to their hotels - and that's what they'll often have to do.

Now then... you still have nothing in print that proves you can use the Garmisch-Kempten route with a railpass?

I'm sorry, but since time after time you ignore my actual words and continue to invent your own truth, I simply cannot rely on your word alone. I will wait to see it in print to be convinced.
Russ is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:05 PM.