Rail Europe Pass for Germany

Oct 25th, 2004, 09:41 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Oct 2004
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Rail Europe Pass for Germany

Hi,

I'll be in Germany for 7 days and am considering purchasing the Rail Europe Single Country Pass for 4 days of unlimited use. Has anyone ever used the pass? I'll be arriving in Frankfurt and plan to day trip to Heidelberg and then go to Berlin for 3 days. The price of $180 US seems to be good but curious about the ease of using the pass. Any thoughts?

Thanks!
travelgirl_67 is offline  
Oct 25th, 2004, 10:21 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
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You get on the train and show it to the conductor.You are supposed to have it filled out before he arrives.That is if he even bothers.When we have used them on some the trips we were never checked.
mgmargate is offline  
Oct 25th, 2004, 10:38 AM
  #3  
 
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Yes, we used them two summers ago for 6 days in Germany. We did 8 days of train travel, but I had planned ahead (OK call me obsessive) and knew that two of the days would be cheaper point to point than the daily pass rate. They were easy to use. Only problem I had was that on the first day, the conductor stamped the date right below my written in date, but stamped it wrong -- five days or so earlier -- obviously he hadn't reset his stamp. We didn't notice it until that afternoon when another conductor stamped the second space. He refused to believe that the other conductor had made a mistake. I ended up going to the Eurail Office at Berlin Zoo station and getting a whole new pass printed and getting back that extra day. I had to show them our airline tickets and stamped passports to prove we hadn't even been in Germany on the date the first conductor stamped on the pass. But I would think that was a very unusual circumstance.
By the way, when we had our passes stamped originally at the Berlin office, we also had them make the reservations for the two trips that we felt we should have them for -- one was Leipzig to Garmisch. Good thing we did that as it was the morning after a huge rock concert in Leipzig and there were no seats on the trains!
Patrick is offline  
Oct 25th, 2004, 11:18 AM
  #4  
DAX
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
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Having the pass allows you to bypass the ticket purchase line so you can go directly to the track/gleis. I always preprint the train schedules from the internet for the days that I plan to travel so I know the choices and exactly which track/gleis the train departs from or transfers to. I'd show up 5 minutes before the departure time. I don't write in the date until I'm actually sitting on the train.

If you buy a first class pass you absolutely don't need reservations because there's always plenty of seats. If you buy second class, it's usually ok except around commuter rushhour when you may end up standing on the train for about an hour if the train is full. It's better to stand up or upgrade to first class on the train rather than standing in line to pay for the seat reservation in the station.
DAX is offline  
Oct 25th, 2004, 02:05 PM
  #5  
rex
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Always worth your while to check the value of rail pass versus point-to-point tickets on www.railsaver.com

Make sure and check the box "only if it saves me money".

Four days on a train (out of seven) seems like a lot of moving around to me.

See where you are more, move around less.

Best wishes,

Rex
rex is offline  
Oct 25th, 2004, 05:16 PM
  #6  
rex
 
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Bringing your message back up "to the top" since it is your first day here ever, posting...

(Click on your own name, if you want to see how I knew that)
rex is offline  
Oct 25th, 2004, 07:40 PM
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"If you buy a first class pass you absolutely don't need reservations because there's always plenty of seats."

This is the kind of advice that can get you into trouble. As I mentioned above on a Saturday, the day after the big concert in Leipzig, there were no seats in first class from Leipzig to Munich. People were standing in the aisles and jammed at the ends of the cars. Incidentally we had no idea that concert was going on, but luckily being major planners had reserved our seats for that trip anyway.
Patrick is offline  
Oct 26th, 2004, 03:05 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
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It can happen but it is rare that the train will be full.You pay a big premium for each reservation.
mgmargate is offline  
Oct 27th, 2004, 02:20 PM
  #9  
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Thanks folks for all the feedback! I just purchased my ticket today...looking forward to my first trip to Germany!
travelgirl_67 is offline  
Oct 27th, 2004, 02:35 PM
  #10  
 
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Re those reservations...Patrick is very much correct as I have been on trains in Germany when there was, literally, SRO...not all that common BUT it can happen.

If you decide you want reservations, get them IN Germany where they are much cheaper. An alternative strategy is this one: IF you are boarding a train, particularly a popular ICE, at the ORIGINATING station there are almost always unreserved seats available. Station yourself on the platform BEFORE the train is moved into the station and get on FIRST and claim the unreserved seats.

Passes can be worth their weight in gold in terms of convenience of use: no ticket lines, no ticket machines, no validating, etc., etc., and whether or not you think that much "moving around" as Rex puts it is a good or a "bad" thing is obviously up to YOU. Enjoy your trip.
TopMan is offline  
Oct 27th, 2004, 04:33 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I bought my pass from the Rick Steves website because of the 'extras' his company includes. Check the website for current offers.
(also, a great writeup on how to use railpasses).

http://www.ricksteves.com/rail/home.htm
Travelnut is offline  
Oct 28th, 2004, 05:29 PM
  #12  
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Travelnut: Thanks so much for the Rick Steves lead! Fortunately my cousin/travel agent hadn't booked the pass through raileurope and I was able take advantage of the Rick Steves deal!! Yet another great bit of advice from this forum!
travelgirl_67 is offline  
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