German train tickets - buy now or later?

Old Apr 23rd, 2018, 12:45 PM
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German train tickets - buy now or later?

I am helping my 20 year old nephew with an upcoming trip to Germany. He originally planned to purchase a Eurail Pass but I've learned from the forums that those seldom pay off. Amazingly, he listened to me and looked at point-to-point tickets which were considerably cheaper. I told him I would ask the experts if he should be purchasing these tickets ahead of time or if he can just buy day-of. The trip is actually coming up quickly - he leaves the US on May 5th and will return on May 17th, so there may not be much savings at this late date anyway.

I'm not sure the exact dates he will be traveling between cities, but this is what he's look to do:
Munich - Salzburg
Salzburg - Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Rothengurg - Berlin

Any thoughts? Thanks in advance!
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Old Apr 23rd, 2018, 01:34 PM
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I'm also in the process of purchasing train tickets for Germany/Austria although my trip isn't till July. I'm find numerous routes where there are significant savings by purchasing now (for example €9 vs €39 for full fare). I don't know if only a week in advance those 'saver' fares will still be available. But he can find out by going to the website and see what's available.

From Munich to Salzburg, as long as he is going after 9am or on a weekend he can buy a Bayern ticket, although if it's just one-way and he is traveling by himself there may be no savings or in fact could cost more.

If he does decide to buy tickets on line now let him know that at least some credit cards have a problem with the bahn.de site. Capital one kept rejecting my payment, even after numerous phone conversations with managers I couldn't get it straightened out. She said if I kept trying it would trigger a cancellation of my card (and they'd need to re-issue a new one with a different number). She said both the German and Austrian train sites were 'high fraud risks'. I went to https://www.trainline.eu/ and was able to buy tickets there (used a different credit card though). It's a UK site but they sell German train tickets at no additional cost (and had all the same routes/times as the bahn.de site.)
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Old Apr 23rd, 2018, 06:09 PM
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Isabel, thank you very much the information, especially the website link and credit card concern. I will pass this on to my nephew. I hope you have a great trip in July!
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Old Apr 24th, 2018, 10:11 AM
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Munich - Salzburg: As said above, he should travel on a Bayern Ticket (€25), valid after 9am (all day on weekends). Alternatively, there might be a cheap Flixbus (www.flixbus.de) but that would take a little longer.

Salzburg - Rothenburg: He could travel on a Bayern Ticket as well, it would take about one hour longer than taking a long distance train to Nürnberg (Nürnberg - Rothenburg is local transport only); else look for "Sparpreis" tickets as soon as possible (train spcific).

Buy the Bayern Ticket(s) on the spot, no pre booking necessary.

Rothenburg-Berlin: book a "Sparpreis" Ticket asap (saver fares will sell out quickly on that route); you cannot do that on local trains. Hee needs to go back to Nürnberg and take an ICE from there.

> She said both the German and Austrian train sites were 'high fraud risks'.

What that Lady said is, sorry, complete nonsens.

Last edited by sla019; Apr 24th, 2018 at 10:17 AM.
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Old Apr 24th, 2018, 10:31 AM
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That sounds odd to me, also, unless it was just a generic thing about how ALL foreign websites are what they call "high fraud risk". Becuase I've had problems with my Cap One card on some train sites (near tried bahn), even though I had alerted them. Renfe was one, and SNCF another in the past (but it worked last year). The problem was the website, it had NOTHING to do with my card, in fact they told me they had never even seen the charge try to come through. This whole idea of telling someone they'd better not keep trying to buy something on the German railwebsite is utter nonsense. Other people have this problem, it must be their software also (what is the deal with these European rail companies and their software?). I've never had a problem buying on the Swiss rail website, though, nor Czech, surprisingly.

But if Cap One says they are going to cancel your card if you keep trying to do that, I'd obviously use a different card. I have two without foreign fees and others I'd try if I had to even though they have afree, as it would be worth the convenience (Amex sometimes works on foreign websites when others won't, for example, and it has a 2 pct fee).
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Old Apr 24th, 2018, 01:32 PM
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Yes, as others say the Bavaria ticket will cover two trips, including to Salzburg in full - for Berlin from Bavaria book at www.bahn.de/en - German Railways site and get discounts if booking early enough in advance as they are sold in limited numbers and can sell weeks ahead of time. Check www.seat61.com for sage advice on booking his own tickets online - general info BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com.

Never heard of the German site being high rish for frauds but I'd always go right to the source and avoid a middleman if possible. Many many folks here have used it without problem. Discounted tickets usually not available day of travel though Bavaria Ticket should be bought same day at stations; no need to purchase ahead. If he has friends with him up to several folks can travel on that pass for about an extra 5 euros apiece.
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Old Apr 24th, 2018, 09:51 PM
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Thanks for all the helpful replies. I’ve forwarded them on to my nephew who I’m sure will be grateful for the assistance!
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Old Apr 25th, 2018, 01:42 PM
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With the Bavarian Ticket just make sure nephew sticks to regional trains - if he boards a faster express train his pass will not be valid and could be fined. Use www.bahn.de/en to see what are regional trains - and if going say Salzburg-Rothenburg or even Munich-Salzburg he may get just as cheap tickets about by booking really early at www.bahn.de/en - assuming he's only going one way and will not be using other transports that day.
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Old Apr 25th, 2018, 09:58 PM
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https://www.bahn.de/en/view/offers/b...-BAHNCARD_LZ01

If you're doing many trips in Germany (especially useful for group travel) They sell a discount card. The 25% off card I think currently will cost you about €20 with a three month duration. You need to do the math to see if the card price offsets the ticket price.

IIRC they used to sell a "youth" card also but I can't find it.
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Old Apr 25th, 2018, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Traveler_Nick
https://www.bahn.de/en/view/offers/b...-BAHNCARD_LZ01

If you're doing many trips in Germany (especially useful for group travel) They sell a discount card. The 25% off card I think currently will cost you abo
ut €20 with a three month duration. You need to do the math to see if the card price offsets the ticket price.

IIRC they used to sell a "youth" card also but I can't find it.
Okay that link does include the youth card for people under 27. €15
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Old Apr 26th, 2018, 06:12 AM
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for their limited trips all within Bavaria and a single long trip to Berlin forget any card - use Bavarian Ticket and get fares as low as 29 euros Munich-Berlin.
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Old Apr 27th, 2018, 02:08 PM
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Thank you all for the help - I really appreciate it and so does my nephew!
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Old Apr 30th, 2018, 04:47 PM
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Okay, he got the Bavaria tickets for the shorter hops. He does not need reservations for these regional trains - correct? Thanks
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Old May 1st, 2018, 06:56 AM
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Can't even make reservations for regional trains if wanted. Unlikely to be full and in any case can board and find seats when folks get off. That pass also comes in first class for not much more and more empty seats there though not all regional trains have first class.
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Old May 2nd, 2018, 09:16 AM
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Thanks, Pal, that's what I thought, just wanted to get confirmation from the experts. I appreciate it!
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Old May 2nd, 2018, 01:38 PM
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Salzburg - Rothenburg ob der Tauber>

That would take significantly longer by regional trains (which are also not as comfy as faster trains) so for those longer trips he may want to book cheap tickets on faster trains at www.bahn.de/en - TravellerNick's suggestion of a youth pass for 20 euros would make sense for taking faster trains and like Munich-Salzburg maybe with a cheap discounted ticket and the pass it could be as cheap as a regional train.
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