Please help with rail passes!

May 26th, 2008, 06:00 PM
  #1  
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Please help with rail passes!

I'm trying to determine if purchasing a rail pass would be the most affordable option for travel in Germany, Switzerland and Italy. I need to get from the Frankfurt airport to Munich and then from Munich to Lucerne. About a month later, I will need to get from Geneva to Rome and finally from Rome to Venice to catch a flight. I am a student and so qualify for the discounted youth rail pass which costs $305 for 5 traveling days. Would it be best to purchase this pass or buy tickets individually? I know that rail travel in Italy is affordable but the other countries appear to be more expensive. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! THANK YOU!
alie is offline  
May 26th, 2008, 06:08 PM
  #2  
 
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I have no doubt the Eurail Select youthpass would be a great deal for you on this itinerary

to see go to www.bahn.de, the German rail site and compare regular fares for just the German and Swiss trips and you'll see the pass, youth pass, is a great deal, esp in light of the high euro
PalenQ is offline  
May 26th, 2008, 06:12 PM
  #3  
 
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If you or someone you know (maybe your parents) are AAA members, they can help you find the right pass for you.
ca_vol is offline  
May 26th, 2008, 08:35 PM
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I guess it all depends on whether or not you can commit to times and trains before you go. At $305, the Youth Select pass would be about €200, €50 per day if you only use it for the four legs you indicated.

If you can commit, you can get low promotional fares from German Rail. Frankfurt to Munich and Munich to Luzern can be as low as €29 and €39 respectively for fast express trains, less on the Frankfurt-Munich run for slower trains. I had no trouble finding those two legs for €78 combined.

For the Italian legs, ES* trains are the fastest, but they require a considerable surcharge (reservation) fees of about €15 per leg. Those two legs, for point-point tickets, minus what you would pay for reservations with a pass, would cost about €30. Even taking IC trains, which can be used without a surcharge, you would only be spending about €60 with purchase the day before Amica fares.

Those four legs, using P2P and discounted fare, total far less than the cost of a railpass, but you have to look at the actual dates you plan to travel and what fares you can get for those days.
Larryincolorado is offline  
May 29th, 2008, 01:13 PM
  #5  
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THANKYOU to LarryinColorado! Do you know what websites I can go to in order to find these fares? I know about www.bahn.de but what about finding the fare from munich to lucerne. From what I can tell, Bahn just handles domestic travel. Any suggestions? How about for Italy?

alie is offline  
May 30th, 2008, 04:25 PM
  #6  
 
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>>Bahn just handles domestic travel.

Most national rail websites only sell tickets for trips entirely within the country, but the Bahn always (or nearly always) sell tickets online for single runs ending or starting outside Germany, e.g., from Munich to Zürich. In this case, the Bahn website shows a connection, with fare, for 2 consecutive trains from Munich to Luzern, even though the second leg, from Zürich to Luzern, is completely outside of Germany.
Larryincolorado is offline  
May 31st, 2008, 09:10 AM
  #7  
 
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The following site gives the information you need to decide if a rail pass is the your best value for the trip you are planning: http://www.ricksteves.com/rail/rail_menu.htm
happytrailstoyou is offline  
May 31st, 2008, 09:25 AM
  #8  
 
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I think for the trip outlined in alie's first post the Eurail Select Youth would make the most sense, if not dollars and cents.

flexibility is a key for many younger travelers - they meet others at hostels and decide to alter their plans, etc.

I endorse ricksteves.com for railpass info and also always recommend www.budgeteuropetravel.com - request their free European Planning & Rail Guide on the home page - a great primer on rail travel in Europe.

In Italy you rarely have to take ES trains - this Jan i took a regional train from Florence to Rome and though it took about one hour longer i just hopped on with my railpass - and though it stopped at lots of stations personally i enjoy these stops - people on the platform, etc. And the regional train was sparesely crowded (i was in first class but 2nd class was the same) - contrary to most ES high-speed trains i've been on that are chocked full and you can't move around.
PalenQ is offline  

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