Help with trains

Old Feb 18th, 2007, 10:59 AM
  #1  
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Help with trains

I am confused about trains, purchasing passes and the need for reservations. I was going to buy the Eurail pass, since we will be visiting 3 countries. Also, since we plan to take the long trip from Germany down to Rome (and have to get back to Germany again) - I thought that night trains would be a good idea for those 2 trips. The websites for these passes are unclear as to how to book the reservations, how early I need to book them, what the real cost is (additional cost) etc. I want to know now - because if I can't get a night train - it makes a big impact on the trip (that would cut out an entire day of sightseeing each way of travel). Any help from experienced train and pass users would be greatly appreciated. The last time I used a Eurail pass was when I traveled just after college....and we really just hopped on whatever train had an available seat and went whereever it took us. This time, my plans are a little more definitive - so I need to understand the system.
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Old Feb 18th, 2007, 11:31 AM
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Nobody has experience with this??
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Old Feb 18th, 2007, 11:53 AM
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DAX
 
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Fly one way and train the other way. www.whichbudget.com gives you all the cheap flights you can research.
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Old Feb 18th, 2007, 12:01 PM
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Here's an address to get the bargain offers from the various German cities to Rome. Unfortunately they don't have it in English, but it's simple to operate, just press any of the southern German cities and then press Rom, enter the date within a month from now, then you'll get the special 29 euro per person instead of 150 euro. You can make stops within the train route to Rome at no extra charge. I'll be glad to help if you're stuck on any particulars.
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Old Feb 18th, 2007, 12:02 PM
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<<< The websites for these passes are unclear as to how to book the reservations, how early I need to book them, what the real cost is (additional cost) etc. >>>

You can only book reservations at the time of booking the pass OR at the station you are leaving from.

Railpasses aren't the bargain they used to be & you may find that point to point tickets work out cheaper even if bought on the day of travel.

I'd look at the railpass & sleeper sections of www.seat61.com & also see www.railsaver.com - which isn't perfect as it doesn't compare cheap point to point tickets against railpasses but if it does say point to point is cheaper then it's certain to be substantially cheaper
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Old Feb 18th, 2007, 12:15 PM
  #6  
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It's true what Alan said. I recommend buying your train ticket around a month before you travel. The 29 euro ticket is so cheap, you can almost throw it away if you decide not to use it, or even if you use it partially should you change your mind halfway thru the trip (eg. staying longer). I tend to have my hotel reservations and intercity travel all fixed when I go, just like my airplane ticket.
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Old Feb 18th, 2007, 12:21 PM
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DAX - What was the address that has the 29 Euro ttckets you mentioned?
Thanks.
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Old Feb 18th, 2007, 12:33 PM
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Railsaver.com tells me I am better off buying the eurail pass...so I guess I just have to get that and wait and see if I can get the reservations for the overnight trains..is that how this works? That's what I am assuming based on the response that I can only make the reservations at the station I am leaving from. That makes me nervous, I would like to know we are good to go on travel plans such as this.
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Old Feb 18th, 2007, 12:54 PM
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You can make reservations at almost any station ticket office. How early you need to book them depends on what day you're travelling, what sort of accommodation you want, etc.
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Old Feb 18th, 2007, 01:02 PM
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>Railsaver.com tells me I am better off buying the eurail pass...so I guess I just have to get that and wait and see if I can get the reservations for the overnight trains..is that how this works?

Just be careful if it is a close thing with railsaver - ot uses not the real ticket prices but the inflated rates from Raileurope. It might still actually be cheaper to buy single tickets.

And as to the "station you leave from" - it is absolutely wrong, any train station with a ticket office will do.

That's what I am assuming based on the response that I can only make the reservations at the station I am leaving from.
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Old Feb 18th, 2007, 01:43 PM
  #11  
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Sorry I forgot to give you the website, BTW they now have it in English:

http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/que...ewrequest=yes&

Here's an example of the route stops where you can stop for a few days for free (I've done it a few times for the last 2 years) however you have to predetermine the time/day at purchase time. If you need to change, just buy a new ticket since the 29 eur already pays for the first part anyway.

München Hbf EC 85 Thursday, 22.02.07 ab 09:33
München Ost ab 09:42
Rosenheim ab 10:13
Kufstein ab 10:35
Wörgl Hbf ab 10:46
Jenbach ab 11:00
Innsbruck Hbf ab 11:26
Brennero/Brenner ab 12:14
Fortezza ab 12:50
Bressanone/Brixen ab 12:59
Bolzano/Bozen ab 13:31
Trento ab 14:05
Rovereto ab 14:20
Verona Porta Nuova ab 15:09
Bologna Centrale ab 16:52
Prato ab 17:39
Firenze S.M.N. ab 18:04
Arezzo ab 18:40
Roma Termini

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Old Feb 18th, 2007, 02:00 PM
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acloonan,

I would guess that your best bet would be a "Saver Flexi Pass". Two can travel together for ten days in a two month period. An alternate is "Eurail Selectpass" which allows 5 days in three bordering countries within 60 days. Germany to Rome works for this pass which was only $383 first class in 2006. That is a bargain.

Bunks require reservations. You have a variety of arrangements from T2 to T6, meaning 2 to 6 people in the cabine in single bunks. The internet does not slice bread nor does it provide all services that train travelers would like. I suggest that you go to a train station international ticket office as soon as you arrive in Germany and make your reservations. Success will depend on when you are going, i.e., high season or less. If you can't get what you want from the ticket office buy whatever is available and then negotiate up with the conductor either before or after you get on the train. My experience is that there are often bunks available that the ticket office is not aware of, or that there were no-shows.

The bunks will cost $35 to $50 and up per person. Night trains are great, especially in Germany and Italy. In first class you can have a toilet and shower in your cabine, and breakfast in bed.

You'll get a lot of answers to your questions on
http://www.enjoy-europe.com/hte/chap17/rail.htm
and subsequent pages. Night trains are explained at
http://www.enjoy-europe.com/hte/chap17/rail3.htm

Another great rail info source is Budget Europe Travel Service in Ann Arbor. They sell passes and also put out a great booklet titled the "European Planning & Rail Guide." It is free. Call BETS at 800-441-2387 and ask for a copy.

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Old Feb 18th, 2007, 02:05 PM
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OK there's a problem with giving you the website in English so I have to give you the German one, but on the far right there is an option to switch to English (this is a nice new feature for this page).
TRY IT AGAIN:
http://tinyurl.com/epdhf
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Old Feb 18th, 2007, 03:30 PM
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One drawback is for 29 euro you can only get second class from Munich to Rome with multiple stops. If you want first class and flexibilty then you have to buy the train pass for $384 as Hopscotch mentioned.
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Old Feb 18th, 2007, 03:51 PM
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Wow DAX. That is a great map. Thanks for the link. I hope they get Paris on there soon.

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Old Feb 24th, 2007, 11:19 AM
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As for RailSaver, I have found that it is not accurate enough for making the point-point ticket vs. rail pass decision. In particular, there are a whole bunch of less expensive options that it never considers. The only way to make that decision accurately is the old fashioned way - work for it. Look up all the travel legs, find the prices of individual tickets, find if there are special lower prices for tickets, find the cost of reservations on special trains and add it to the cost of the railpass, then compare.

By the way, if you use a rail pass to go from Munich to Rome, you have to go through a third country, usually Austria. Make sure that will be one of the countries on your rail pass.

For full tickets (rail and accommodation reservations) or for reservations only for night trains between Munich and Italy, go to http://buchung.nachtzugreise.de. You can get it in English by clicking on the British flag.

On the Nacht Zug Reise website, you can locate a fare, pay for it by credit card, and print out the ticket in advance on your home computer.

Nacht Zug Reise sells both reservations and tickets with reservations. For the latter, they have both full price and SparNight fares. SparNight fares are real savers; you can get a bed in a private double for €69-79. That's not much more than the cost of a reservation using a rail pass. But, SparNight tickets are train specific, non-refundable and non-exchangeable, and they are limited in number and usually sell out weeks, if not months, before travel time.
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