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In 15 days I will be in Italy!But still can't figure out the trains!

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Sep 7th, 2011, 07:17 AM
  #1
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In 15 days I will be in Italy!But still can't figure out the trains!

I am trying to book tickets from Venice to Florence and Florence to Rome and got a lot of help from Seat61. But am not sure if I can use this site to book (Seat61 India booking directs me to this)
http://www.raileurope.co.in/book-now/
Is this a genuine site ? I am totally at a loss with the trenitalia site and find this one much better!
HELP....
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Sep 7th, 2011, 07:30 AM
  #2
 
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Raileurope is a commercial broker who adds $$$ to your tickets. Why do you want to book in adavnce? I would just buy both from a travel agency while in Venice. The rain run at least hourly--sometimes more often.
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Sep 7th, 2011, 07:30 AM
  #3
 
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This is the official Italian rail site:

http://www.fsitaliane.it/homepage_en.html

What do you find confusing about the official site?

(RailEurope is a reseller of the same tickets.)
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Sep 7th, 2011, 07:59 AM
  #4
 
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I prefer to buy my train tickets in Italy from the ubiquitous self-service yellow ticket machines at the Italian train stations. (You can buy tickets from any station for any train not just from the station you are at.) The machines have instructions in English and are easy to use; you can use your credit card.

It does help to know ahead of time what trains you probably want, so you aren't surprised when you get to the ticket machine. How many trains a day from Venice to Florence? What times? What train would probably take? Then just use the machine to find the train I want and buy the ticket.
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Sep 7th, 2011, 08:04 AM
  #5
JBX
 
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1) Figure out which trains on which days you'd like to travel (using Trenitalia) ..... print out those pages & stash in your suitcase.
2) When you get to Venice, either when you arrive or next day you can then buy all your tickets. Can do this at the train station ....... OR, can purchase tix thru travel agency. As you check into your hotel, just ask the desk to direct you to nearest TA to buy your train tickets.
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Sep 7th, 2011, 08:05 AM
  #6
 
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Why not just buy your tickets at the train station after you arrive in Venice? Perfectly simple. You don't need a travel agent or a website. I've bought tickets from all 3 places:

1.Trenitalia website which takes a bit of getting used to. 2.Raileurope until I realized I was getting too little choice and paying too much since you must also pay shipping as well as inflated prices for the trip and
3.at a train station.

The last option was by far the best experience. You may not get the discounts that the website offers but for you it's too late anyway so go to the station.
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Sep 7th, 2011, 08:22 AM
  #7
 
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The German rail site http://tinyurl.com/c9jp54 is easier to use than the Italian site. It is good for schedules, train details, maps, etc. throughout Europe, but not for tickets ex-Germany. Buy your tickets and seat reservations, if required, in Venice.
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Sep 7th, 2011, 08:32 AM
  #8
 
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You *might* be able to save a little money by buying ahead from Trenitalia (ellenem's link - look for the Mini fares, if available). We saved about €15 a ticket this way for our trip from Rome to Venice. However, if the Mini fares are sold out, the others are right - no reason to worry about it beforehand if you don't want to. And definitely no reason to buy from RailEurope.

The Trenitalia site used to have issues with American credit cards, from what I hear, but they seem to have improved it lately. I had no problems with it this spring. (However, it's possible that your bank might detect "fraud" with the international charge; if that happens, just call the bank.)
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Sep 7th, 2011, 08:51 AM
  #9
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Wow...you guys are the best....so now I am not buying from raileurope.....or any website.....just looking at the site to find the train I want and I am going to buy the ticket when I am in Venice! Thank you again for solving my train query!
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Sep 7th, 2011, 09:02 AM
  #10
 
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I recently booked several tickets online using the Trenitalia website and did not have any issues using my U.S. Chase Visa card. I knew which trains I wanted to be on and just found it easier to book this way.
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Sep 7th, 2011, 10:21 AM
  #11
 
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Just so you know - sometimes the lines to the ticket windows can be long so don't arrive at the station at the last minute without a ticket. We usually purchase tickets once we get to Italy but a day or two ahead of the travel date - either from the window or from the machines.
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Sep 7th, 2011, 01:53 PM
  #12
JBX
 
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ShilpiC -- sounds like a plan! Have a great trip.
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Sep 7th, 2011, 02:45 PM
  #13
 
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Ditto suec1. And you want to be standing in the correct line.
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Sep 7th, 2011, 03:33 PM
  #14
 
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May I suggest you look at Ron In Rome's website (google it). He gives step by step instructions for purchasing on the Trenitalia website and it truly does work. But I agree that if you can't get the Mini fares, you may want to wait til you get there.
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Sep 7th, 2011, 03:42 PM
  #15
 
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ShilipiC - if you buy your tickets from the ticket machines, watch out for people offering to "help" you. we managed to avoid them in Rome by telling them "non" when they asked if we needed help, but others have not been so lucky.

the other tip is not automatically to ignore the ticket office at the station. When i got to the SMN station in Florence, i was amazed to see that there were no queues at all at the ticket office itself. i just strolled up and paid. in fact I saws feeling so pleased with myself that I stupidly only asked for Pisa, when i should have asked for Pisa aeroporto, but when the ticket inspector came round, i just looked dumb, [which I had been] and said sorry.

and [this is beginning to resemble a Monty Python sketch] don't forget to validate your tickets in the yellow machines on the platform, just before you travel. don't do it earlier, because then they will have expired before you travel.
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Sep 7th, 2011, 03:52 PM
  #16
 
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I've found the ticket vending machines at Italian train stations very easy to use - much prefer using them to waiting in a line. Then there's nto doubt about what I'm buying.

I did once have an issue with a Parma to Venice ticket with a transfer in Bologna. I had looked up two regional trains on the Trenitalia website that I wanted to book - cheapest but not much longer than the faster trains. For some reason, the ticket machine did not show this as a purchase option. So then I went to a ticket window and the agent knew exactly which trains I wanted and booked a ticket for me. As I said above: knowing ahead of time what train(s) you probably want helps. I try to avoid just going up to a ticket window or machine and saying, "Hey, I want to book a train to Florence, what times do they go?"
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Sep 7th, 2011, 04:08 PM
  #17
 
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Listen to Andrew regarding choice of trains and knowing what you want. I did some looking on the Trenitalia website and saw there were 2 distinct routes from Lucca to Venice, one through Florence and one not. The one not through Florence was far less expensive. I printed out the choices on 1 sheet with the one I wanted marked. When I went to the ticket window in Rome to buy several tickets the only one offered on the trip to Venice was the more expensive option. I showed him the page I had and he used it to find the one I wanted as it apparently had not come up on his screen. It pays to be prepared!
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Sep 7th, 2011, 06:05 PM
  #18
 
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Please don't ignore the tip that you can use travel agents within Italy to buy your train tickets.

They don't charge a fee, and you can buy Trenitalia tickets at any travel agency in Italy that displays the Trenitalia logo.

The advantage to this would be that while in Venice, a travel agency may be much closer to your hotel than the train station. Why go all the way to the train station if a TA is just around the corner?

Another advantage to using a travel agency in Italy is that there may be no lines, which isn't always true at the train station.

I'm not sure why joannay told you not to use a travel agency while in Italy to buy train tickets, but it is a perfectly good option, and may be more convenient for you. Many Italians buy train and bus tickets at travel agencies.
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Sep 7th, 2011, 06:24 PM
  #19
 
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Tuscanlifeedit, it's just that I used a travel agent once and it was the least satisfactory of the ticket-buying experiences I had. It was simply my personal experience, it was more complicated than the station window and I had to return the next day for the ticket. Granted, it was a complex routing so that may have been the reason and I believe the office I visited could not issue the ticket. But I can only speak from personal experience and I preferred the station. Also, I happen to be fond of train stations so that enters into the equation. However, what I said was you don't need a travel agent, not to not use one. I think there's a difference. And I'll defer to your greater experience with the species.
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Sep 7th, 2011, 07:08 PM
  #20
 
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Every time I have purchased a train ticket at a travel agency in Italy, my tickets have been printed and handed to me at the time of purchase. A particular office might be experiencing a momentary problem, but the norm for me over many trips across many years has been to leave the office with tickets in hand.
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