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Germany-Switzerland-Italy Rail Pass Seat Reservations?

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Apr 7th, 2012, 01:41 PM
  #1
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Germany-Switzerland-Italy Rail Pass Seat Reservations?

Any suggestions for traveling by train and staying on a budget will be greatly appreciated!

Trip details: My friend and I (both 20 years old) are planning a trip starting in Frankfurt on May 19th and ending in Rome on June 10th.

Is the rail pass worth purchasing? The cost looks cheaper, but it looks like we will need reserved seats for most of the trips. Does anyone know how much more this costs? We would likely use the pass for travel between Frankfurt and Munich, Munich and Zurich, Zurich and Venice, and a few of the longer trips within Italy.

I was in Germany last year and it was never hard to find a bed and breakfast from a local for under 50 euros total for 2 people (in smaller towns) and we were often approached by locals offering rooms. Is this the case in Italy as well?

Also, any suggestions of places to go in Italy would be great. We enjoy outdoors, hiking, sailing, kayaking, etc. Any suggestions of good places for that type of thing would be appreciated.

Thanks!
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Apr 7th, 2012, 02:45 PM
  #2
ira
 
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Hi B,

>Is the rail pass worth purchasing? The cost looks cheaper, ....<

Have you gone to www.bahn.de, http://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html and www.tenitalia.com to find the actual price of the point-to-point tickets?

You will find that there are discounts for advance purchase.

Some trains, eg the Italian Eurostars, are reservation only. The reservations will be an additional 3-5E if bought in Europe and about $12-15 if purchased through RailEurope.

Also, there are limited numbers of seats available to Railpass holders on reservation-only trains.

Have fun doing the research.

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Apr 7th, 2012, 02:55 PM
  #3
 
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It depends on which train you use and also sometimes the time of day. You can ride an ICE in Germany without any seat reservations and simply pick an unreserved seat unlike the comparable Eurostar in Italy on which the reserved seat is mandatory.

Time of day...if you ride early you can sometimes find unreserved seats on almost any train unless riding on one which has a mandatory reservation requirement. In Switzerland there are many trains on which you are unable to MAKE a seat reservation.

You can also get all of your seat reservations at the rail station at the Frankfort airport after you arrive. Ira gives good advice in terms of comparing prices of point-to-point tickets and a pass. And don't forget, the pass becomes more economical the more you use it. If you are only going to use the rail system to go between major points I suspect regular tickets will be cheaper.
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Apr 7th, 2012, 03:46 PM
  #4
 
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Just a reminder that May 17 is Ascension Day, which means a long holiday week-end in Switzerland. So the Swiss trains will be busy on the 19th and 20th and probably the 21st as well. In particular, there will be lots of groups (school kids etc) traveling in second class. In Switzerland (and perhaps Italy as well), many hotels will either be fully booked around the period.
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