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Paris -> Berlin - What's the cheapest mode of transportation?

Paris -> Berlin - What's the cheapest mode of transportation?

Old Aug 19th, 2014, 08:19 PM
  #1  
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Paris -> Berlin - What's the cheapest mode of transportation?

Hello Fodor Friends!

I'm an American traveling to Europe for the first time this September and I would like to inquire about the cheapest way to get from Paris to Berlin. I will be leaving Paris on September 13th to visit some friends in Berlin, then flying out of Berlin on September 16th.

Here's what I've gathered: it's generally cheaper to fly than to use a train but sleeper trains can be cost effective (no hotel fees and travel while you sleep). It looks like EasyJet will cost a little over $150 total to fly during the day on the 13th.

However, I can't seem to get conclusive price information on sleeper trains and I don't know why. I tried looking at www.raileurope.com, www.eurail.com, and www.bahn.de. It also appears as though some prices can't be shown online. I must be doing something wrong.

Can anyone help?

Thank you!
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Old Aug 19th, 2014, 08:45 PM
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Looks like 69 Euros on the SNCF website, for the "Sparnight" fare (night train)

I see also fares of $105 USD (easyJet) and $108 USD (Germanwings), though I'm not sure about extra taxes and fees. So you could save perhaps a few bucks especially if you are skipping a night at a hotel.
Andrew is offline  
Old Aug 19th, 2014, 08:48 PM
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Easyjet flys for 81euros.
danon is offline  
Old Aug 19th, 2014, 09:17 PM
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@Andrew, I believe the 69 euro price on the SNCF website is for a train reservation and not a ticket. I forgot to mention that I will not have a railpass.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I think I should be expecting to pay more for the sleeper car b/c I won't have a railpass and will need to buy a ticket. If I'm way off base, please let me know.
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Old Aug 19th, 2014, 09:33 PM
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The E69 is for a ticket. I've never seen a reservation for that much money; they're usually about E10. The ticket with 2nd class T3 sleeper is E99.

I used the French web site for ticket info.

http://www.voyages-sncf.com/

bahn.de doesn't show prices on the site if the train originates outside Germany.
adrienne is offline  
Old Aug 19th, 2014, 09:34 PM
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It's €54 for the bus journey booked four weeks ahead. There are no additional or hidden costs

http://www.eurolines.fr/fr/
flanneruk is offline  
Old Aug 19th, 2014, 09:42 PM
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The bus price now is E99.
adrienne is offline  
Old Aug 20th, 2014, 06:53 PM
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Thanks adrienne.

I've tried http://www.voyages-sncf.com/ but all my transactions keep on getting rejected. I'll contact them tomorrow to get to the bottom of this. My luck is generally pretty rotten when it comes to online purchases.
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Old Aug 20th, 2014, 08:22 PM
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You can try this site. I believe it's friendlier.

https://www.capitainetrain.com/
adrienne is offline  
Old Aug 22nd, 2014, 10:41 AM
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Just booked my ticket. As a caveat to anyone reading this, if you're from the States and you use http://www.voyages-sncf.com/ you shouldn't select the country that will collect your ticket under "Ticket Collection Country". Instead, you'll want to enter the country in which your credit card was issued, otherwise your transactions will be declined.

Thanks everyone for the help!
Kaufkj44 is offline  
Old Aug 22nd, 2014, 10:58 AM
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Glad you got your ticket. But both times I have used the site, I have chosen France as my "Ticket Collection Country." The first time (2013) I used my Amex card and the transaction went through the first time. This year, I bought another TGV ticket and my first Visa card was declined; my credit union Visa went though on the first try.

If you choose "United States" as the ticket collection country, the SNCF site wants to redirect you to Rail Europe (which I don't want to do). You can decline, but it can be confusing.

Lots of people have had issues with declined credit cards on SNCF's site. I haven't heard any formula that works 100% of the time for everyone.
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Old Aug 24th, 2014, 10:31 AM
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It gave me the option to either stay on their "European" site or go to Rail Europe instead. Upon researching both sites, I realized that Rail Europe took the price of the ticket, converted it to US $ and jacked up the price by $70. So, I called my bank and asked them what the currency exchange rate was for online transactions in a foreign currency, to which they replied 3%, which was just a few euros more.

In the end, I stayed on SNCF's site, paid for the ticket (which was displayed in euros) and saved myself around $65.

I'd also like to add that I called SNCF's helpline in France for assistance and that's how I knew to select USA as the ticket collection country. Perhaps, there are issues with the types of credit cards? This was a confusing process that I thought was going to be quick and easy. Regardless, it worked out (fingers crossed) and it's nice to know I was able to do this all online.
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