Is purchasing EURAIL a good idea??

Jan 1st, 2013, 06:08 PM
  #21  
 
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that it could cost $768, or even close to that, for tickets between those places on your itinerary>

well the $768 is fvor first class travel and I believe first class tickets over those trips cost well cost more than that. Again a point that many feel to consider there is a big difference between first and second-class - 2nd class is fine for some and others strongly prefer the more relaxing and comfortable trappings of first class. So St Cirq could well be said to be comparing apples and oranges in her analogy - and also flexibility is a key - yes you can book 120 days in advance to guarantee a low discounted price but then that is often set in stone - if you want to chose your trains as you go along and thus if flexibility is desired then a pass could be cheaper that full-fare tickets, which usually cost a ton of money IME.

Cheapest is not always the best, especially for the trip of a lifetime IMO!
PalenQ is offline  
Jan 1st, 2013, 10:23 PM
  #22  
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768 USD is for the global pass. According to the Eurail website, I buy that then i can travel via any train as long as its a EU rail system train. However, they did mention reservations and all. But not extra charges. This amount is for all unlimited train ride for 15 travel days within 2 months.
wandering_gal is offline  
Jan 1st, 2013, 11:27 PM
  #23  
 
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Palen, first class is not neccesary for a few hours( say 3-4) on a train, my goodness aren't you a softie, its not like we are talking about rural trains through India or China ,, even second class is comfortable in most Europeon countries.. and I find the "trip of a lifetime" a bit overblown.. lets blow all our money on one trip , why, when you could save and have another trip, even if its 5 or 10 years later!

As for fees, as some have already outlined, with the Eurorail pass there are still some routes or trains that will require an extra fee or reservation.. on some routes its actually quite a lot I understand ( like say the Thalys)..

I have taken the Thalys, TGV and Eurostar quite a few times, as well as regional trains and buses in France, UK and Spain, , but I have also used the cheapo airlines ( Easyjet and Vueling) and they can offer good value too!

It all comes down to doing a bit of research , you can save money by doing it yourself, well in advance.

I do not know anything about Visa requirements, but if booking train tickets 120 days out will save you alot of money , then can you risk booking ticket before you get visa? I mean some tickets ,its so cheap( 20-40 euros) that if you had a problem with visa its not the end of the world to lose that much money,, but if you wait and book tickets closer to date after you have visa then tickets may cost you twice as much anyways.. difficult choice.
justineparis is online now  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 03:30 AM
  #24  
 
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>>>justineparis, additional fees? so other than that 768 USD from eurail, train companies will charge me for extra fees?<<<

Yes, I provided this link of fees for passes in an earlier post.

http://www.ricksteves.com/rail/pdfs/reservations.pdf

In Italy, all the faster trains require seat reservations which will be 10€ each. Your train supplements between Paris/Brussels/Amsterdam will be more expensive.

FYI - The 1st class global pass for 15 days in 2 months shows as $1170 on RailEurope. You would then have to add your supplements to that.

You could save a lot of money (and time) by planning your trip more efficiently. Booking your flights to Europe open jaw (fly into one city and home from another) and avoiding backtracking on the train routes.
kybourbon is online now  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 04:13 AM
  #25  
 
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justineparis, additional fees? so other than that 768 USD from eurail, train companies will charge me for extra fees?

Many, if not all, of the modern fast services require an additional payment just to board them and on top there may be fees for compulsory seat reservations on top of that - in some cases it can be cheaper to buy an ordinary advance ticket. Also many of these services have limited seating for passholders so if you think it would provide flexibility to hop on, hop off when you want, you may find that you can't get the next service - or the next one, or the one after that
alanRow is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 07:36 AM
  #26  
 
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Palen, first class is not nececcesary for a few hours( say 3-4) on a train, my goodness aren't you a softie, its not like we are talking about rural trains through India or China ,, even second class is comfortable in most Europeon countries>

well I have ridden European trains now for decades and I have a different take on that - yes after riding hundreds of trains in every European country - no I am not a softie and have ridden hard class trains in Russia and throughout Asia, including India.

2nd class is OK - but first class is IME and much much more relaxed experience - now if you were riding every day I'd go second class but for the trip of a lifetime first class - so so many reasons while for the average tourist it will be nicer - especially if hauling luggage around - usually lots of empty seats in first class IME - I can put my bags on an adjoining seat rather than fending for space in crowded overhead luggage racks in second class cars that are IME often quite full.

I am not sure how much train travel you have done but if you do not thing there is a significant difference between classes I suspect relatively little - but again your criteria for comfort may be different than mine - in first class I love the solo seats - seats with an aisle and a window - rows with just one seat in each row and these do not exist in 2nd class - no having to get up to let others out or vice versa - couples can have these solo seats facing each other with a table in between - anyway to me there is a big difference and I am always glad to have a first-class railpass - so many times IME at least 2nd class can be jammed up and first-class cars sparely full.

2nd class is not a cattle car like in India but there is a major difference IME between the classes and for the trip of a lifetime money well spent IMO to go first class.

You could eat at Mcdondals and stay in one-star hotels and get a perfectly good night's sleep and food but do you? I say place the same criteria on rail travel as you do on hotels and meals, etc.
PalenQ is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 07:43 AM
  #27  
 
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<>

I completely disagree. The difference between classes is negligible IME. An almost un-noticeable amount of extra space in 1st class, which other than for a long trip, makes absolutely no difference to me.

The OP is trying to get the BEST DEAL for the money. What's so hard to understand about that? Certainly, having an extra inch of space on a train ride doesn't count for much.
StCirq is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 09:24 AM
  #28  
 
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>>>You could eat at Mcdondals and stay in one-star hotels and get a perfectly good night's sleep and food but do you? I say place the same criteria on rail travel as you do on hotels and meals, etc.<<<

It seems it's good enough for you. You've often posted about staying in 1 star/hostel type places. It seems you prefer to sleep in cheap places yet splurge on your train ride. Most people would do just the opposite since train rides are typically short (especially now with all the high speed lines) and you spend much more time in your hotel.

wandering_gal - This is a picture of 2nd class on the fast trains in Italy. All the countries you listed will have similar 2nd class.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...ssainterno.jpg
kybourbon is online now  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 09:45 AM
  #29  
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kybourbon, this is not shabby at all!

PalenQ, fast food especially McDonalds makes me sick. Definitely not having those especially when i get to eat good food in a foreign city. But point taken.
wandering_gal is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 10:46 AM
  #30  
 
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This is a picture of 2nd class on the fast trains in Italy. All the countries you listed will have similar 2nd class.>

As I have commented before when you show this that this is a stage photo of a brand new Italian train and in no way represents trains all over Europe - nor even in Italy if you have it as often is all seats full - and when you "say all the countries listed will have 2nd class trains like that" it is just not true - I travel on Belgian and Dutch trains every year lots and believe me there are no regular trains like that - only the Thalys train and that does not even live up to that staged publicity photo you so often trot out - even French TGVs - at least most of the stock will not.

No if folks expect all trains in 2nd class to be like that they will be sorely disappointed - and there is a reason many many Europeans pay extra to ride first class and it is not just a matter of a few inches of bigger seating.

I have ridden trains around Europe for decades and made my living as a profession travel writer writing about trains - I will state as firm as possible - there is a significant difference between first and second class on most trains in most countries, including all of your countries. And to me and many others the differences, stated above, are well worth the extra money, especially if on the trip of a lifetime - wroth enough so that many Europeans gladly pay extra - either that or they just throw their money away as some would have it - one wonders why there are even first-class train cars if no one finds them worth the extra fare.

That said second-class train cars are perfectly fine and if cost is your sole judgment perfectly good for getting you between points A and B - but if you have other factors - such as often having empty seats nearby to put your bags on or the desirable to me at least row of one seats - the aisle and window seats that I so love then the extra money is worth it - I also enjoy the extra leg room and folks who have physical problems or are large or tall may also benefit.

So there are factors simply besides costs that I judge this by - I respect others' criteria and what they find adequate for them - it is far different from mine but just as valid - but would say that it is a personal matter to the individual and their desires and budget. Again I say apply the criteria you put on restaurants and hotels to train travel - cheapest is not always the best
PalenQ is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 10:59 AM
  #31  
 
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However, they did mention reservations and all. But not extra charges. This amount is for all unlimited train ride for 15 travel days within 2 months.

The Eurail site mentions the extra charge requirement.

In the "Popular Questions" section on Global Pass page, there is a "Which trains can I use?" which mentions:

"During your European rail trip there may be certain situations where you are required to make and pay for train seat reservations. "

http://www.eurail.com/plan-your-trip/train-reservations
greg is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 02:49 PM
  #32  
 
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St Cirq and kybourbon - it is not only I who thinks there is a difference - a real difference that folks do pay extra for on European trains but it is also what none other than a guy whose site you both, if I recall correct, often refer to - Man in Seat 61 of the www.seat61.com site (a superb site I also always refer folks to gor its great info) anyway he said on a previous post here during a similar debate about Italian trains and the difference between classes - he said 'I too am an aficionado of first class' (paraphrased but exactly what he conveyed) - so none other than Man in Seat 61 concurs that there is a difference worth bothering about. But again 2nd class, like food at McDonalds and the starvation budget hotels that will feed you and let you sleep perfectly fine - is perfectly adequate for those needs - it will get you there and today's high-speed trains in comfort - just not the same comfort-level as 1st class and if needing to cut costs at every level definitely go 2nd class - I respect the opposing opinions to this as long as they are based on real facts and not that 'you should go 2nd class because there is absolutely no difference between classes - that is strictly misinformed misinformation and should be called out as such IMO.
If there were no difference 'except a few inches of bigger seats' there would be no first and second class train cars - just one class. But Europeans continue to pay more and to them at least there is a difference.
PalenQ is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2013, 07:19 PM
  #33  
 
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<>

That is patently false and is the obvious reason why you find those horrid 2nd class carriages so horribly crowded (which I never have...though more crowded than 1st class...obviously). Europeans overall and by large travel in 2nd class.

Your logic, as usual, is faulty.
StCirq is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2013, 07:18 AM
  #34  
 
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>

to this comment of mine StCirq says



StCirq - are you saying no Europeans travel first class on trains? You then obviously have not been on many or any European trains or you will find I'd say about 20% of the train cars to be first class on typical trains, more on some.

No to state that quite a few - no not the majority of Europeans do not pay more to ride first class shows that you just have not ridden many trains or really any to say something that is so so totally inaccurate - most Europeans do ride 2nd class but many also pay extra for first class and the increased comfort or whatever it offers.

No the typical train in Europe has 20-30% of its seats in first class and Europeans do pay more to ride them and to say they do not is simply inaccurate - at least in my experience of literally riding thousands of trains in recent years.
PalenQ is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2013, 08:39 AM
  #35  
 
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Europeans overall and by large travel in 2nd class.>

No argument there if you consider all rail travel, much of which is commuters going back and forth daily and of course they may go 2nd class because 1- they are not carrying around a lot of luggage as foreign tourists usually do - way too much in many cases! and yes the expense every day of going first class mounts up - but IMO a foreign tourist on the trip of a lifetime may have different criteria and needs, especially with lots of luggage in tow.

But there is no dispute that Europeans in general travel 2nd class and also that a sizable number, even commuters do pay extra for first class.
PalenQ is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2013, 02:22 PM
  #36  
 
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wandering_gal - PQ posts the same thing on all the train threads insisting everyone must travel 1st class. You can search his buzz words "decades of train travel" "McDonald's one star hotels" "trip of a lifetime", etc. and you will turn up dozens of threads by him saying the same thing. Even the "stage photo" accusation. It's a photo of an acutal Italian AV train car in 2nd class and exactly like what you would get if you book an AV train. The trains look exactly like that as do the faster trains in Switzerland and France (you can look at pics of rail cars in the various countries on ManinSeat61). It's fine if PQ wants to spend his vacation riding the trains all day (that's what he enjoys) and if I was basing my vacation on being on a train all day every day instead of at my destination, then I would go 1st class too. Most people don't take vacations to just ride trains all day every day.

The reality is most train rides these days are very short and the consensus is less than 4-5 hours, 2nd class is fine. The picture I showed is a typical 2nd class on the faster trains. 2nd class on these trains is more comfortable than economy on airplanes. Rome to Florence is 90 minute travel time. Rome to Naples is only 70 minutes. The majority of people travel 2nd class which is why there are so many more 2nd class cars than 1st class.

>>>Man in Seat 61 of the www.seat61.com site (a superb site I also always refer folks to gor its great info) anyway he said on a previous post here during a similar debate about Italian trains and the difference between classes - he said 'I too am an aficionado of first class' (paraphrased but exactly what he conveyed) - so none other than Man in Seat 61 concurs that there is a difference worth bothering about.<<<<

That's not what he says on his website.
From ManinSeat61 website:
**2nd class is perfectly adequate for most travellers throughout Europe. You do not need to pay for a 1st class ticket to travel in comfort these days, even in Eastern Europe, especially on the fast modern air-conditioned express trains. If you're on a budget, don't bother with 1st class unless you are offered prices that make it very cheap to upgrade.**
http://www.seat61.com/Europe-train-t...%20class%20..?

You can see in the link above a picture of a French TGV train 2nd class.

You can also see other fast trains (AV/ES) in Italy on this link. It's unlikely you would take the very slow R trains or even the IC trains for the travel you are planning.
http://www.seat61.com/Italy-trains.h...0trains%20like

Trenitalia's own photos of 2nd class on the fast trains.
http://www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/inde...008916f90aRCRD

http://www.railgallery.info/photo_sh...+copy.jpg.html

2nd class Thalys pics (Paris/Brussels/Amsterdam train).
http://www.seat61.com/thalys.htm#.UOYC9ay5X6s

I'm sure PQ will say all the photos are staged. Staged/not staged, they are photos of the actual trains/classes.

As you are checking prices on Trenitalia for the Italy portion of your trip to book in advance, be sure to check 1st class too as sometimes you can snag the 9€ fares in 1st. If it's just as cheap to buy 1st, then it makes it sense to do so in that case. Otherwise, you can save a lot of money booking 2nd class, especially in advance.
kybourbon is online now  
Jan 4th, 2013, 08:02 AM
  #37  
 
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wandering_gal - PQ posts the same thing on all the train threads insisting everyone must travel 1st class>

Wrong, wrong, wrong - I point out the advantages of first class but I never ever insist one has to travel first class - but with all the propaganda kybourbon keeps putting out insisting there is absolutely no difference between classes needs to be corrected - she says the difference is only in a few inches of large seats - ignoring all the other benefits of first class - just as the guy she often quotes - Man in Seat 61 even admits to when he said "I too an an aficinado of first class - he has his reasons but I guess kybourbon will say he is foolish to travel in first class as well.

kybourbon points out that Man in Seat 61 says something different on his web site - well I am saying what he posted here on Fodor's during a similar debate about classes - that he was indeed a fan of first class - assumingly for some reason.

Peruse my postings and never do I say you must ride first class - I simply point out the many benefits that folks like kybourbon refuse to acknowledge and there are real differences - again as I said above 2nd class is fine but first class finers.

But for kybourbon to say that I insist other folk travel first class is just not true - pointing out the differences is a valuable thing to someone making a decision.

And again many Europeans do pay extra for first class - fools to kybourbon for doing so I guess - 20-30% of trains are first class and though they are not as full as 2nd class there are many folks riding in them - I guess they are just idiots to pay more according to kybourbon who have never ever admitted there is any difference between first and second class - one wonders if she has ever ridden in first class - if she had she would realize there is more a different than 'a few inches of bigger seats".
PalenQ is offline  
Jan 4th, 2013, 11:37 AM
  #38  
 
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This guy, along with maninseat61, actually knows what he's talking about, and explains it in readable English:

http://www.vagabondish.com/european-...sses-planning/

And gives you a handy worksheet to help you figure out if a pass is worth it or not.
StCirq is offline  
Jan 4th, 2013, 12:51 PM
  #39  
 
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st Cirq - thanks for that guy's link and here is what he says about railpasses:

"Now I’ve taken trips where I was so happy to have a pass and I’ve taken trips where I wasted gobs of money on having one. I’d say that about 10-15 percent of people could save money by relying on purchasing tickets as they go vs. buying a pass before hand."

Yes only 10-15% of people could save money by buying tickets as they go - 10-15% -- 70-85% will SAVE money by buying a ass. Thanks for bringing that to light.

And the debate here is about first vs second class - saving money perhaps means by buying 2nd class tickets over the price of a first class pass - and despite what you and kybourbon adamantly claim there is a difference between classes - i always say 2nd class is perfect adequate but that first-class is more relaxed, especially for folks with luggage, folks who are big or tall, folks who are physically challengeed - you deny all that and say there is basically no difference. And you dare say someone does not know what they are talking about! I base my comments on literally thousands of trains trips in nearly every country - where do you ride trains? You always write about renting a car - do you ever ride trains - I think not or you would realize that there is indeed a difference between classes and that more than a few Europeans gladly pay more for that privilege. You'd be best off writing about something you actually know about - through experience on a variety of trains in a variety of countries and I just think you must not have this experience to say there is basically no difference between classes as you do.

Once again for your info - first class is better than 2nd class because - seats are about 25% bigger (not "inches bigger") - they are typically many more empty seats i first class to put your bags on or move around if you wish, in some countries like Italy you get complimentary beverages and snacks served at your seat and there are just three seats in a row - two on one side of the aisle and only one on the other and these so-called isolated or solo seats are ones many folks prefer - not having to bother others to get out or be bothered by others needing to get out - as aisle and a window seat and this is one reason I strongly prefer first class - leg room for someone who is tall and easy in and out without bothering anyone and a window seat too. Try to wrap your head around these FACTS on nearly all trains and then you will no longer say there is basically no difference between first and second class and that anyone who pays extra for first class is simply a fool. It ain't so for the reasons I just reiterated again in case you did not hear about them before - tell me why these perks of first class are not perks.

And again I do not insist anyone go first class - I point out the advantages of first class over 2nd class and yes recommend that anyone of the trip of a lifetime and with bags should go first class - if you want to call presenting the differences between classes insisting them go ahead but it is ingenuous.

When someone says there is very little difference between classes I will give my opinion based on zillions of trains rides that there is.

And as a rail nut I often sit in stations on benches at the ends of the platforms just watching trains, for hours on end in many countries and it is a FACT that 2nd class train cars are considerably more crowded as a rule than first class - especially in Italy - in Florence there is a small platform at the extreme front of the station - track 28 or whatever number that is far removed from the main station - I often sit on a bench there and see dozens and dozens of Italian trains roll in at a slow speed and I can adamantly say that 2nd class is often much more full than 1st class - not always so but often.
I know of what I talk about trains regards of your attempts to malign me - much more than you do - much much more.
PalenQ is offline  
Jan 5th, 2013, 07:39 AM
  #40  
 
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<<
It seems it's good enough for you. You've often posted about staying in 1 star/hostel type places. It seems you prefer to sleep in cheap places yet splurge on your train ride>

Well kybourbon once again you jump to conclusions that simply are not true - I have to stay in one-star hotels and yes eat out of supermarkets because I am on a starvation budget - if I could afford better I'd splurge more - that said I do wide-ranging train trips and I am over 25 so the only option for me is a first-class Eurailpass - if I were under 26 I would buy a 2nd class one but I cannot and for me the most cost-effective way to do my wide-ranging travels is to buy the only thing available to me - a first class Eurailpass - the most cost-effective way for me to travel.
Once again you mis-characterize me - lie saying "I insist on others going first class when in reality I recommend going first class if on the trip of a lifetime and if carrying luggage around - recommend does not mean insist.
I point out the very real perks of first class and always say 2nd class is perfectly adequate - that is my stance and please do not distort that.
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