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Had trouble making rail reservations at raileurope.com?

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Apr 22nd, 2006, 12:05 PM
  #1
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Had trouble making rail reservations at raileurope.com?

I have spent 6 hours today and phone five conversations attempting to buy an TrenItalia 4-day rail pass through Italy, and to make compulsary reservations for some segments of the trip, and to make point to point tickets for segments where we won't use the railpass. After four attempts to make the reservations myself and two attempts to have the "call center" at RailEurope make them for me for a fee, I gave up.
Has anyone experienced this website having difficulty confirming reservations from one town to another....even towns as well-known as Siena to Naples could not be confirmed clear through. If they can confirm any legs they want to break it down into intermediate stops and not "change train" stops. At $11.00 for each reservation, I will spend hundreds of dollars getting through a 4-day pass.
Does anyone know of another site where I can buy a railpass, reservations, and point to point tickets through Italy, online?
Please....HELP!
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Apr 22nd, 2006, 12:22 PM
  #2
rex
 
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For starters, I never knew that it was possible to reserve or purchase anything at raileurope.com - - I thought it was an information only website, but I have not looked at it recently.

Second, conventional wisdom is that a "rail pass" is never a wise purchase for train travel in Italy. Train travel is intrinsically such a good value that it makes the most sense to just buy point-to-point tickets....

... once you get there!

Raileurope notoriously marks (almost) everything up, and charges for the reservations, and charges for shipping and "handling".

Buy everything you need once you get to Italy (though you CAN buy almost everything you want online at trenitalia.com as an alternative).

Best wishes,

Rex
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Apr 22nd, 2006, 12:48 PM
  #3
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Good comments, Rex; I am cooling off from my frustration now.
Yes, the railpasses are only sold in US to US citizens only. The cost is considerably less against point to point tickets accumulated over 5 trip legs. The pass is free shipping.
IT is not the problem;the reservations are causing the frustration, because their system is flawed and was described by one very young lady I spoke with in an unflattering manner which I won't repeat.
Trenitalia.com does not sell railpassesnly tickets.
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Apr 22nd, 2006, 01:22 PM
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You can buy passes from Rick Steves. His people are very knowledgeable about the different options. In fact, he has a helpful web site for comparing the cost of point-to-point tickets vs. a pass: www.ricksteves.com/rail/rail_menu.htm
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Apr 22nd, 2006, 03:51 PM
  #5
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Mimar,
I saw his order form for the railpass. Do you know if he sells tickets and reservations also?

A good idea we have considered.

Thanks!!
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Apr 22nd, 2006, 07:39 PM
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RS does not sell p2p tickets. Get the pass from his site + the extra goodies he throws in (usually), then get your p2p and reservations from Trenitalia.
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Apr 22nd, 2006, 07:47 PM
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$11.00 per reservation is off the reservation. In Europe they cost €3.00, about $3.70.
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Apr 23rd, 2006, 04:25 AM
  #8
ira
 
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Hi C,

>The cost is considerably less against point to point tickets accumulated over 5 trip legs.<

That is quite unusual for Italy. You priced the tickets at www.trenitalia.com?

Part of your problem is that some of your trains either do not require, or do not permit reservations.

For example, to get from Siena to Naples, your first leg is on an R train.

What's your itinerary?



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Apr 23rd, 2006, 11:48 AM
  #9
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We experienced having to break the journey down into more managable segments when we typed in Siena to Naples. I divided it into the intermediate stops (some on ES trains)and the schedule was still not available online. The people at their call center could not get it either.

I was told on phone with RailEurope about reservations not always being required. Does that mean, however, the schedules are not showing up on their screens? Sometimes,I want a reservation even tho they are not required. And, I would like to see the point to point fares to determine if a rail pass is the most economical way to travel. We like to have reservations now to avoid lines and "sold out" problems when traveling.
International train fares are often available, I know. But I still would like to see the schedules. For example, our itinerary will have four travel days starting off with a leg to Garmisch from Venice, and a leg to Innsbruck from Garmisch, and a leg from Innsbruck to Cinque Terre. This section seems to be causing the most confusion. Railsaver.com says to purchase a 4-day Trenitalia FlexiPass (Companion Saver cost is $211) and purchase point to point tickets for portions outside of Italy. $22 dollars to cover segment from Brennero to Garmisch, $12 from Garmisch to Innsbruck, and $10 from Innsbruck to Brennero. The pass would cover the rest of that second day from the Italian border to Cinque Terre. Our other three legs are to Siena from Cinque Terre, and to Naples and Sorrento. We will finish in Rome.
This 4-day pass idea seems about the same cost as p2p tickets with the exception of the leg from Venice to Garmisch. I can't seem to find out what that fare would cost. We saw $160 on the website, which makes the pass a good deal, but the lady at EuropeRail says that isn't correct.
The three-country rail pass is another option at $325, depending on the cost of this out of Italy adventure. But I have been told the conductor on train would take Italy railpass and tickets for the segments outside of Italy. If that is true, the three-country rail pass is much more money.
RailEurope will try to help tomorrom morning to confirm some legs that were not in their system. I don't know if I should work with them now or not. I had so much trouble, I told them I would pay their fees to do this for me, and they resisted. Finally, they said "yes." After they took my information and worked at it for an hour, they quit too until Monday.
I am a "checkmate."

I like the idea of buying pass from RS. Thanks! I forgot about his bonus items. I didn't know I could speak with staff about the choice of passes, either. A good idea.
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Apr 23rd, 2006, 11:53 AM
  #10
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oops...I did not preview my reply.

I meant to say that I know international trips do NOT always show the fare.

I meant to spell tomorrow correctly too.
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Apr 24th, 2006, 09:45 AM
  #11
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OK I give up

I am following your suggestions to wait until we get to Italy to buy tickets and make reservations.

I am not going to buy a pass from Rail Europe.com.

This pre-planning has taken away the fun....I quit.


Thanks for all of your helpful suggestions!
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Apr 24th, 2006, 12:50 PM
  #12
 
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You can only price on Trenitalia within 60 days so pick a date in that time frame even if it's not when you are traveling. Even if you aren't traveling for several months the price won't really change so at least you will have an idea of point-to-point tickets. ES tickets on Trenitalia include your seat reservation in the price as all seats are reserved. IC trains should cost 3E more for seats.

You can't reserve seats on R or D trains in Italy. It doesn't matter whether you have a railpass or point-to-point tickets - there simply are no reserved seats. Some of your destinations require an r or d train as a connection so that is why you can't get everything reserved.


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