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How to book reservations with Renfe Spain Pass

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Apr 19th, 2015, 05:04 PM
  #1
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How to book reservations with Renfe Spain Pass

Hi, I'm traveling to Spain in early June. I fly in and out of Madrid. My itinerary: Madrid to Barcelona for 4 days, Barcelona to Zaragoza for 1 night, Zaragoza to Madrid for 5 mights. Day trips from Madrid (been to Madrid before) to Avila, Segovia, and Toledo. I can purchase individual tickets for all these train tickets on Renfe, but I can't figure out how to do it with the pass. I do have to make reservations for these trips, which I think is an extra fee as well. I think I will get a three day pass for the city trips because they are each one way,and I think I have to count each way as a journey on the pass. The day trips from Madrid, I think I can reserve/purchase once I'm in Madrid. I arrive in Madrid on 5 June, so all my day trips I can book that day because I won't be taking them until the 11th. My only real worry is getting the reservation on the Madrid-Barcelona trip because I arrive in Madrid at 9.30, and will go to Atocha to catch the train to Barcelona. I think I'll be safe if I book a 14.00 trip to Barcelona, but I'm not sure of cost and a seat if I want to purchase the trip on my arrival.

All advice welcome.
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Apr 20th, 2015, 01:12 AM
  #2
 
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It would appear you have not already purchased this pass.
What makes you think a pass is the value and the way to go?
You talk of having a RENFE pass and then buying individual tickets. You talk of a pass and then of extra fees for reservation, which is certainly not how a RENFE pass operates. Where do you get the idea a three day pass is available with RENFE? You are certainly confusing me if not yourself.
I suggest you read the article highlighted in bold here - http://www.seat61.com/Railpass-and-E...ide.htm#Should
and then move on to -
http://www.seat61.com/Spain-trains.h...kets_for_Spain
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Apr 20th, 2015, 05:00 AM
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I would not think the Spain Eurailpass to be cost-effective for your rather limited train trips - now if you were goingto Seville too thenmaybe but yours are fairly short train trips and if you nab the discounted tickets on www.renfe.com then that would be much cheaper than a pass - with a pass you need to reserve seats on all high-speed trains for about 10 euros a pop I think - easily done- take your pass up to a ticket window and make the reservation - may be able to do it online at RENFE's site not sure.

But the day trips from Madrid are cheap - on regional trains.

anyway for lots of good info on Spanish trains yes check out www.seat61.com and also www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

Book as early as possible to get the discounted ducats - sold in limited numbers on each train and can sell out weeks early - full fare still probably would be cheaper than the pass. Discounted tickets however I believe are train-specific and can't be changed nor refunded so be sure of your dates and times. Again for Avila, Toledo, Segovia just buy at the station before the train - no real advance discounts I believe that are worth it to peg you into a specific train - on day trips you never know when you may want to return.
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Apr 20th, 2015, 07:05 AM
  #4
 
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It's $209 for three days of a Spain Eurailpass - any time over a one-month period. that's about $67/d or about 50 euros a day - so price your train trips and see if that is better than regular fares and or discounted fares - plus the 10 euros or so extra each time you use the pass on high-speed trains - ones between Barcelona and Madrid.

a 5-day pass is $281 p.p. or about $56/ a day so the more days the cheaper. Nice thing about the pass you can chose your trains once there and fully flexible - if you miss the train you just lose the seat reservation fee and the pass can be used then on other trains and not lose a day on it.
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Apr 20th, 2015, 09:24 AM
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I think the OP isn't aware that Eurailpasses, etc., are not part of the regular country's train system in terms of sales or marketing. You can't just buy them online from the country's website.
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Apr 21st, 2015, 08:46 AM
  #6
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Thank you for all your replies. The day trips from Madrid are cheaper and probably easier to purchase individually for the round trip. I was trying to calculate the cost difference between the Eurorail pass and the Renfe Spain pass, (with the extra cost of making reservations on the Renfe pass, and the extra costs of the Eurorail pass)and trying to figure out how to use the Spain pass to make reservations on the trains I wanted. I don't want to wait until I get to Madrid to make the Madrid-Barcelona reservations in case they sell out. Maybe I'm worrying too much.

The main issue is that I arrive at Madrid airport @ 9.15, and I'm concerned about making the cheaper, earlier trains from Madrid to Barcelona. If I purchase the ticket directly, if my plane is late, then I lose the cost of the ticket entirely. If I buy the pass, that won't happen. I could book the 14.00 train, but that's not cheap ($134 USD), and the tourist 4 day Spain pass is $175.

So I've talked myself into getting the train pass. It might end up being slightly more expensive, but I think it will help me worry less about that Madrid-Barcelona trip.

Thanks for the websites above. I had not found them, and they were very helpful.

Take care,
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Apr 21st, 2015, 10:16 AM
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If there is a convenient Vueling flight from Madrid to Barcelona , it would be cheaper than
train ticket.
You are at the airport already. There are several flights a day for 40-50 euros.
The bus from Barcelona airport to the centre is six euros
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Apr 21st, 2015, 10:58 AM
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So I've talked myself into getting the train pass. It might end up being slightly more expensive, but I think it will help me worry less about that Madrid-Barcelona trip. >

If buying a pass I'd recommend calling Byron at www.budgeteuropetravel.com - I've bought passes from his outfit for years and he knows everything about trains and will answer any question expertly IME even if you are not buying anything~ So hard to talk to anyone at say RailEurope who wholesales passes to agents like this one and others - all are supposed to sell at the same price but check for handling fees and shipping fees which can vary.
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Apr 21st, 2015, 02:18 PM
  #9
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PalenQ, never occurred to me to fly, duh! I can get a flight for 70 euro or less. My flight choices are 11.00 and 16.00. Could I make the 11.00 flight do you think?
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Apr 21st, 2015, 02:38 PM
  #10
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Never mind. Found one on Iberia that's later and should work well.

Thank you all!
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Apr 21st, 2015, 02:44 PM
  #11
 
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9:15 landing no way you will get that train from Atocha at 11:00 - and Spain's high-speed trains since the Atocha terrorist bombing I believe may require you to board and go thru security earlier than the train.

Trains go every hour - add to the air cost the cost of getting into Madrid from the airport - well will be the same if not staying in Madrid I guess -and getting into Barcelona from airport and check baggage policies carefully for extra charges.

IMO you come to Spain to see Spain as well as a few large cities and taking the train, which all told will be as quick as flying perhaps, you see the lay of Spain in between Madrid and Barcelona - not just tarmacs and airports.

But I guess if landing in Madrid and wanting to go right to Barcelona since you will already be at the airport that may be better - why did not fly straight away to Barcelona instead of Madrid?
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Apr 21st, 2015, 04:55 PM
  #12
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PalenQ,
You are correct. I do want to see Spain, which is why I love trains so much. But your suggestion to fly instead of taking the train from Madrid to Barcelona is the best. I've booked the flight already. It leaves at 12.45, so that should be enough time.

I will take the trains for all my other trips while in Spain and enjoy the scenery and people.

Thank you again for your advice!
Take care
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Apr 22nd, 2015, 09:13 AM
  #13
 
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Thank you!

Be very careful in both Barcelona and Madrid - street theft and pickpockets are rife - if you know there is a problem that is IME the worst in Europe you will have no problems - carry valuables in a secure money belt under the clothes and be careful of anyone coming up to you - scores and scores of folks on previous Fodor's posts have been victimized or know folks who have.

Not to scare you but best to know there is a problem and then with proper vigilance it will not be a problem - but be naive to the problem and your chances of being victimized increase.

Cheers!
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