rail pass?

Feb 19th, 2007, 09:02 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 61
rail pass?

We are traveling to Italy in mid May and we plan to use trains to travel to/from our major destinations. In reading travel sites/books I am only more confused about whether or not we should invest in a pass.. anyone who has actually traveled via trains in Italy have any suggestions?
racegirl is offline  
Feb 19th, 2007, 09:09 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 356
Hi there,

If you are only travelling within Italy, it's probably best to stick to point-to-point tickets.

Try this to get yourself acquanted with how the railpass works, costs, restrictions, etc. There is also a worksheet that you may find useful to compare point-to-point vs. railpass. It's a good start.

http://ricksteves.com/rail/rail_menu.htm

Good luck and enjoy!
craisin is offline  
Feb 19th, 2007, 09:10 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 356
Correction: "acquaInted"
craisin is offline  
Feb 20th, 2007, 12:27 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
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You can also try using www.railsaver.com
and input your proposed itinerary to see if a pass will save you money.

A lot of people will tell you that in Italy, particularly, a pass is not economical but a pass usually isn't economical anyway unless you plan to do a lot of traveling.

Do remember that a pass will save you some time in terms of not having to buy tickets from machines or at ticket windows.


Passes do not guarantee seats such as on Eurostar services where seat reservations are mandatory 9since they come with the ticket) and even if you have a pass you'll still have to get and pay for a seat reservation.
Dukey is offline  
Feb 20th, 2007, 08:01 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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When buying point-to-point tickets in Italy, you can buy all your tickets at the same time if you know the trains you want. And in almost all cases PTP tickets would be cheaper than a pass.
ellenem is offline  
Feb 20th, 2007, 08:16 AM
  #6  
 
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Passes are hard to be cost effective just inside Italy - the Italy Flexipass because not only are Italian trains dirt cheap compared to the rest of Europe but with a pass you still must pay a 'surcharge' of 15 euros or about $20 to ride the fastest bestest trains, the Eurostar trains which run between main cities...even to use the IC+ trains with a pass you must pay a 5 euro reservation fee. Only on slow regional and IC trains can you just hop aboard. So unless you doing Triest to Palermo and back or some such thing forget about a pass for Italy.
PalenQ is online now  
Feb 21st, 2007, 06:16 PM
  #7  
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Join Date: Dec 2006
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Thanks everyone for the information. It sounds like price wise there is really no need for a pass but what about space? Should we make reservations before we leave the US for trains/times we already know we want?
racegirl is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2007, 05:50 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Unless you are traveling on holidays or Fridays, you can usually buy a ticket just before you get on a train. I usually buy a day or two ahead. Also, you can buy all your tickets at once, at the first station.

I find it helpful to browse the Trenitalia website and print schedules for my probable train choices. Then its easy to use the automated machines or take your printouts to a ticket window and point to what you want.

The only ebefit I see to buying online is that sometimes discounts are offered. Also, you can buy online no more than 60 days in advance.
ellenem is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2007, 06:03 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Trains in Italy are not only cheap but frequent - hourly on many main lines. Even if all the high-speed Eurostar trains are fully-booked, which is very rare, there are always alternatives - slower trains on which seats cannot be reserved - so you can get where you want to, though perhaps more slowly and in less comfort.
I have never reserved more than a few hours in advance for train journeys in Italy, and would normally just buy a ticket and get on the next train, which is what most other people do.
GeoffHamer is offline  

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