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I am up to train bookings and would like some help yet again!


Apr 16th, 2013, 11:09 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2013
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I am up to train bookings and would like some help yet again!

Hi all you wonderful helpers who have helped me with this trip and have saved me a small fortune!

Now that the accommodation is sorted it is time for trains.

So the first train I want to book is avignon to paris.

Now . .my daughter can travel for free but I was thinking should I pay for her to have a seat and then use the seat for my luggage?

Also, do they book the seats automatically for you so we are altogether and

on the site it mentions in second class you can sit in a family section ..will that automatically happen?

Hopefully that all makes sense.

then next train is from the airport we need to get to Brieve to pick up a car . .so . . .should we sort out the transfer to the airport(private driver) to stick around and then take us to the train station for this direct train . .if there is one . .and do you have any idea what time frame I should be looking at? Mum leaves Paris at 12pm so I assume we need to be there by 10 at the latest . . then we are going to have to stay with her . . so I am just a bit stuck with what hubby,kids and I should do . . all I know is that we are due in Sarlat at 5pm that day.

I'll start with this . .sort this bit out and then post about the next move.

Thanks ahead of time for this who are helping me

crazyfamilyof4 is offline  
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Apr 17th, 2013, 12:15 AM
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I used RailEurope when booking the train in Spain and I thought the site was extremely easy to use. If you are traveling many hours by train then I would suggest you to book a seat for your child and book reserved seats for everyone in your family. I don't think you would need a separate seat for luggage as there should be space on the train above or behind the seats, or in a special luggage area. We traveled some routes First Class since there was not a huge price difference. You might find luck with that.
Finecheapboxofwine is offline  
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Apr 17th, 2013, 01:06 AM
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Rail Europe is one of those special sites for people who enjoy wasting money. Their timetables don't show all available trains, will sometimes show trains that don't exist and they charge a premium for their alleged 'service'. A simple search on these forums and tripadvisor will show loads of complaints.

Use the national rail companies in each country you are travelling to and you get access to the low fares available for advance booking.
mjdh1957 is offline  
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Apr 17th, 2013, 01:10 AM
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Claire, there's a recent thread on here about someone booking Brussels - Avignon tickets, with prices through RE and SNCF.
And 'Man in seat 61' has great advice on trains;
Tulips is offline  
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Apr 17th, 2013, 01:39 AM
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crazyfamilyof4 is offline  
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Apr 17th, 2013, 02:26 AM
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Claire, in another post I told you what to do.
do not go onto RailEurope as all the tickets are overpriced.

for Avignon to Paris use;

then plug in your dates and times and off you go. easy peasy.

remember I told you to put in Antarctica for ticket collection so that you do not get redirected to Rail Europe.

Once you start going through the site it is going to be a breeze.

They will give you seat numbers and all the seats will be together if you book then all together.

the tickets are etickets so you will need a somewhere to print out. Perhaps if you do not have a printer at home you husband can do it at work.
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Apr 17th, 2013, 02:28 AM
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thanks millie!

I was trying to find out about the compartments that someone said you can get.

do you think for the 2hr train ride I should get a seat for little miss 2 . .she is a wriggle pot!
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Apr 17th, 2013, 02:33 AM
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anyone know the difference between tgv and iDTGV?
crazyfamilyof4 is offline  
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Apr 17th, 2013, 03:50 AM
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Do not buy tickets from RailEurope unelss you have compared the cost against www.voyages-sncf.com or www.tgv-europe.com and you can verify that they have similar priced or cheaper tickets, which they usually don't. For your train travel in France you'll find it easiest to use www.tgv-europe.com, which has an English language version.

For trains that don't require a seat reservation (all local TER trains and some Intercités trains) you don't need to buy your tickets ahead of time because the fares are fixed and the trains can't sell out. Just buy them before you board the train.

For trains that require seat reservations (all TGV trains and some Intercités trains) you need to buy your ticket up to 3 months in advance for the cheapest prices. If you use the TGV website to buy/reserve your tickets don't forget to uncheck the box marked "Direct Trains" to see all possible options. If the TGV site redirects you to the RailEurope website then try again and enter Great Britain or Antarctic as your ticket collection country. Other countries may also work but just try to find a country that doesn't get you redirected to RailEurope. The RailEurope website often doesn't show all the trains and generally has higher prices but you can check just to compare. For trains that require reservations you can buy tickets up to 3 months or more in advance and the earlier you buy them the cheaper they will be. The discounted tickets are known as PREM tickets but these are non-refundable and can't be exchanged.

Here is a website that will tell you how to navigate the TGV website:


An excellent website to learn all about train travel in Europe is www.seat61.com.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
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Apr 17th, 2013, 03:57 AM
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I should also mention that there are a couple of new websites for buying train tickets that some say are easier to use, but one is in French only.



You can check to see if their prices are the same as the SNCF or TGV sites.

iDTGV sells discounted tickets more than 3 months in advance. Don't worry about the difference between it and TGV. Just use the one that has the cheapest tickets.

Just so you know, if you want the cheapest tickets make sure you choose second class when you are booking your tickets. Sometimes the default setting is first class. First class generally is a bit quieter and you may have a tad more seat room but I've always found second class seats comfortable.
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Apr 17th, 2013, 04:09 AM
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I don't know what you mean by compartments - it's just seating as on a plane. Maybe they meant on a sleeper train?

If it's you, your mum and 2 kids - I would book seats for all. Much more comfortable. Don't know the configuration on that train, but if the train is full, you don't want a stranger on that 4th seat, next to you holding your 2-year old on your lap.
Tulips is offline  
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Apr 17th, 2013, 04:18 AM
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Why would you want to book a seat for your luggage, there are places for luggage on trains and, in the same way that we don't want children putting their feet on the seats, why would we want your luggage on the public seats??
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Apr 17th, 2013, 04:36 AM
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The LAST place to economize is not getting a seat for your two year old.

Are there four or five of you on these trains? If four, you can get two seats facing two seats with a table in the middle. A 5th person can sit opposite. The table provides a place for the kids to color, have snacks, etc.

There are no compartments on TGVs, that I know of. Before you book 2nd class, check the 1st class prices. iDTGV are internet only tickets, often cheaper. First class iDTGV is usually next to the snack bar, food is junk only but gives the kids a chance to move around, there are a few seats in there that aren't reserved.
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Apr 17th, 2013, 04:52 AM
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About taking your mom out to CDG and then taking the train to Brive. Here's how to get to the station:

The SNCF railway station is located between Terminals 2C, 2D, 2E and 2F.
It is served by the free CDGVAL shuttle train (to Terminals 1 and 3), the Aéroports de Paris N1 bus (which stops at Terminals 2A, 2C, 2D, 2 E and 2F) and the Aéroports de Paris N2 bus (which stops at terminal 2G, 2F).

If you're just dropping your mom off, your driver could take you on to the station. Don't understand the part about having to stay with her if she is on a flight back to the Oz. Once she checks in, and I exoect two hours is adequate but check with the airline, she needs to make her way through Security and to her gate. I suppose you could all have a coffee together but once she's through Security, you can't go wave her off.

If you want to wait until her flight is in the air, which seems odd to me when we are talking about a presumably capable grown woman, there is very little to amuse yourself land side in the terminals.

You aren't really considering asking your driver from Paris to wait two hours while you check your mom in and wait for her to take off? He will be laughing all the way to the bank.
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Apr 17th, 2013, 05:09 AM
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Mum needs to go on her own once dropped off. After weeks of travelling with you she should be well seasoned and able to do that. What is said above--she needs to check in and head for her gate waiting area.
Gretchen is online now  
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Apr 17th, 2013, 05:42 AM
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You cant possible mean that the 4 of you (with two small kids) are going to sit at the airport until your mother gets on the plane....? D

rop her off and go.

All she has to do is check her bags, go through security (at which point you cant see her anymore anyways) and get to her gate. All of this is easily marked like any other airport in the world.
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Apr 17th, 2013, 05:44 AM
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I agree with gretchen and cath, mum can kill a few hours doing some duty free shopping. She's the same age as me for crying out loud, not a 90 year old with dementia.
cathies is online now  
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Apr 17th, 2013, 06:00 AM
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You were given the info about buying train tickets on one of your (many) other threads. What did you not understand?

We also established that your mother is early 50s. What part of catching a plane do you think she will need help with?
thursdaysd is online now  
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Apr 17th, 2013, 06:05 AM
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I just booked tickets from Paris to Brive, Avignon to Paris CDG and Starsbourg to Paris CDG over the past couple of weeks and was able to get PREMS tickets; the Paris to Brive were 15 euro each and the others 25 eruos - substantial savings over the 'normal' price.

There are two sites you can use to book train tickets in France.- www.voyages-sncf.com and www.tgv-europe.com

It can be tricky. Here's what I did.

First I tried the tgv site. It was in English, I put in all the info, the tickets were 15€ each. When I put in the credit card info (VISA - Capital One) it was rejected. I tried again. Rejected. I called Visa, they said nothing had been rejected, they didn't see any attempt to charge anything. I did it again while on the phone with them. Rejected, they still don't see any attempt.

Then I went to the voyages-sncf.com I tried putting in UK as country, got all the way to the end but it wanted an address and it had to be a UK address. Closed that window and tried again, this time leaving it in French. Got all the way to the end, put in the Visa credit card info. Rejected.

At some point during all these attempts the 15€ tickets are gone and the price is now 30€.

OK, back to the tgv site, which has remembered the info I put in and still has the 15€ price, only this time when I get to the payment page I put in American Express. It works!!!

That was for the Paris Brive trip. A few days later I tried to book the Avignon Paris trip but this time it rejected American Express, MC and Visa. I tried a few hours later and it worked.

Just last night I booked Strasbourg Paris and it worked great the first time.

Good luck
isabel is online now  
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Apr 17th, 2013, 06:19 AM
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I've heard many reports from people from countries without chip and PIN credit cards that their cards often get rejected on the TGV and SNCF sites, even when they call their credit card company. However, everyone seems to agree that once they use their American Express card it seems to work fine. Capital One credit cards also seem to work sometimes.
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