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ITALY: Booking train travel in Advance...

ITALY: Booking train travel in Advance...

Old Feb 6th, 2006, 07:09 AM
  #1  
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ITALY: Booking train travel in Advance...

Hi,

I am heading to Italy in 3 months and wondering about booking train travel in advance. Is it necessary for all destinations, (as I am hoping to have some flexibility with times of the day I wanted to travel) or would most of you seasoned travellers suggest booking all train travel in advance?

One day I am heading to Pompeii from Rome I will need to head out early and enusre that I get back to Rome that night. Secondly, the second last day of my trip I am heading back to Rome from Venice to catch my flight the next day.

I think that travel can only be booked 2 months in advance.

Any advice?

LittleBella is offline  
Old Feb 6th, 2006, 07:40 AM
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If you look at the frequency of trains in Italy, you'll see trains on most main lines every hour or so. These are generally trains that can carry 500 to 1000 passengers. It is extremely rare for trains to be fully booked more than a day or two in advance. On a journey like Roma-Napoli there are also hourly stopping trains where seats cannot be reserved in advance, so can be boarded by anybody with a valid ticket.
I've never booked Italian train tickets in advance, except for international journeys. You really do not need to worry about booking train tickets three months ahead.
GeoffHamer is offline  
Old Feb 6th, 2006, 08:09 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
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I went to Rome at Christmas time, and when I wanted to take a day trip to Florence on a high-speed train - i went the night before to Termini station.

What do you mean the 8 am train is sold out? The 9 too? So I lost a couple of hours in Florence because I didn't think ahead (didnt know I was going to Italy, but that is besides the point.)

If you have an itinerary set - go ahead and buy from home in US dollars. Cheaper, plus guarantee a seat on the train!
thereadbaron is offline  
Old Feb 6th, 2006, 08:31 AM
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I have a related question.

If you have pre-purchased a Eurostar ticket (Venice to Florence) for, say, 10am, and miss it due to a late plane arrival, is the ticket still good for the next train after that??
bardo1 is offline  
Old Feb 6th, 2006, 08:46 AM
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I would strongly recommend you get at Trenitalia rail pass. We had one on our trip to Italy recently and had the flexibility of travelling on any 4 days in a 30 day period. Obviously you can get more days travel in a month if you pay more but there are no restrictions on how many trips you do in one of the allowed days. We booked our ticket through Railchoice website but if you log on to Trenitalia you can get all the train times. You might want to consider upgrading to 1st class as the extra cost is not a lot but it is certainly more comfortable.
The train ticket doesn't guarantee you a seat so it is best to book one before you get on the train (only about 6&euro. The ticket covers travel on normal trains and intercity but to go on their eurostar you have to pay a supplement.
When travelling on thethese tickets don't forget to write date of travel just before you get on the train and for all tickets you need to punch them in the machine at the end of every platform. Sounds complicated but it's very easy after the first time.
Good luck
sue_sorkin is offline  
Old Feb 6th, 2006, 09:31 AM
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bardo,

If you miss your ES, you must reserve again on the new train and pay a fee. I think you'll have to stand in a line and deal with a human being to do so--you can't do this on the ticket machines.
ellenem is offline  
Old Feb 6th, 2006, 09:39 AM
  #7  
ira
 
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Hi LB,

>I am heading back to Rome from Venice to catch my flight the next day. <

I think that having a ticket for this train would be very important.

The others could be bought in Italy the day before.

ira is offline  
Old Feb 6th, 2006, 10:39 AM
  #8  
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A train pass does seem like a good idea as it adds more flexibility. For instance, if we are having a great time in Venice and want to take the 2pm train as opposed to the 1pm, we can do so. I was doing some research and it seems like the "Trenitalia Pass Saver" is a decent deal. Anyone ever purchased one, and if so how far in advance is it advisable to book seats? For example, do certain destinations seem to sell out quicker and require earlier purchasing?
LittleBella is offline  
Old Feb 6th, 2006, 02:09 PM
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A train pass may save money, but not always, especially if you are planning to take mostly the fast ES trains. With a pass you will still have to pay extra and reserve seats before you can board an ES train.
ellenem is offline  
Old Feb 7th, 2006, 05:16 AM
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So how do you go about booking seats with your pass online? Can you? I went to the 'Trenitalia" site and I could'nt see how to do it. Maybe I ws missing something.

Hoe much more is the charge (approximate) to ride ES?
LittleBella is offline  
Old Feb 7th, 2006, 05:33 AM
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Sorry to rain on your parade -- you will pay approximately 20 Euros on top of the cost of your rail pass to use the fast trains. A one-way ticket from Rome to Florence is, if you buy it onsite, approximately 30 Euros. Your trip will now cost you 50 Euros and you will still have to line up for service to reserve your seat (mandatory for all ES trains).
Second, I have changed Eurostar train tickets before and never have had to pay a fee to change the ticket.
I think that if you want a specific train, you can purchase your ticket once you arrive. Usually there will be no problem. There will be a problem IF and only if you are in sync with a major Italian holiday. Assuming you will arrive and stay for at least a week, you will have plenty of time to organize your return train.
nospam is offline  
Old Feb 7th, 2006, 06:44 AM
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ira
 
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Hi L,

Before buying any railpass, enter your itinerary at www.railsaver.com and click "only if it saves money".

You can exchange a ticket on an ES* train up to 1 hr before the train leaves. You will pay about 3E for a new reservation (required).

For trains that are not ES*, your ticket is good for 6 mos. You will have to buy a new reservation (optional).

ira is offline  
Old Feb 7th, 2006, 07:02 AM
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I have a related question regarding trains in Italy. We will take a train from Orvieto to Venice and are considering buying our tickets from the Trenitalia website. Apparently we will print out our e-tickets. Has anyone had a problem with doing this? Would it be best to just wait and buy our tickets in Rome? We will also have to take a train to Lake Como from Venice by way of Milan and then back to Milan for our flight home.
nini is offline  
Old Feb 7th, 2006, 08:02 AM
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Standard Italian train tickets are valid two months. Before boarding the train, you must stamp it in a yellow machine which prints the name of the station and the date and time. The ticket is then valid for a specified period - six hours for a short journey, or up to 48 hours for a long journey.
GeoffHamer is offline  
Old Feb 7th, 2006, 08:47 AM
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Little Bella - On the days you have to be somewhere at a certain time, I would book the tickets ahead of time just for peace of mind. We took the ES trains on our trip to Italy and they were totally packed, but we made our reservations for them two weeks out without any trouble. That being said, on the days your schedule is flexible, I would imagine you wouldn't have too much trouble catching a train within a reasonable period of time.

nini - We printed out our e-tickets on-line and didn't have any trouble. We showed them to the conductor when he came around checking tickets and that was it. The only trouble we had with the trains is that only the final destination for your train shows up on the board. We were going from Rome to Florence and finally had to stand in line and ask why our train wasn't showing up on the board. The trains final destination was Milan, so that is what showed up on the board, not Florence.
suzq_trvlr is offline  
Old Feb 7th, 2006, 11:21 AM
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At the train station there is a large yellow poster titled "Partenze." This shows all trains departures from that station. You can check this poster for the time you will depart. Next to the time are columns that shows the final destination in large type, and then another column that shows all stations the train will stop at along the way. the main departures board will list the fnal destination as suzq said, but checking this poster is a way to bypass the problem suzq had.
ellenem is offline  
Old Feb 7th, 2006, 11:25 AM
  #17  
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"So how do you go about booking seats with your pass online? Can you? I went to the 'Trenitalia" site and I could'nt see how to do it. Maybe I ws missing something."

LittleBella is offline  
Old Feb 7th, 2006, 12:52 PM
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I don't think you can book tickets with your pass online--has to be done at a ticket window at a station in Italy. this is why many think passes are note worth it if your are traveling on all-reserved (ES) trains.
ellenem is offline  
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