Railsaver pass questions

Jul 22nd, 2005, 09:52 AM
  #1  
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Railsaver pass questions

The website has determined that it's cheaper for us to buy a France 4 day pass for our trip in September. My question: is Railsaver the best place to buy these passes? Would they be cheaper somewhere else? Can they be purchased in France or is it like buying a Eurail pass (or is really just the same thing?) I'm confused about who "Railsaver" really is, I guess, and what you're buying. Does anyone know?

Thanks.
dabodin is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2005, 09:58 AM
  #2  
ira
 
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Hi da,

You are buying the standard Railpass. It is available from many sources for the same price.

Some people give you free S&H, some people give you maps.

You buy them in the US.

ira is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2005, 10:00 AM
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Pass prices are all the same - set by the Eurail Commission based i believe in Utrecht, Holland. So pass is same wherever you buy but fees for handling and mailing may vary. I've bought thru BETS (800-441-2387) for years because they have no mailing fee and whoever you talk to there will have traveled themselves for years on European trains - the European Planning & Rail guide they send out free is invaluable for novice European train travelers. On the web you can't really talk to anyone. Railsaver is run by a major railpass seller but i'm not sure of their ownership. I'm sure they're reliable however. You cannot buy France railpasses in France - i've asked for years and always the answer is no. You can buy Eurailpasses at a few Eurail Aid offices in France but not France passes so get it before you go. No matter who you buy your pass from it will be the same - most likely originally marketed by RailEurope, controlled by the French Railways but run as a subsidiary in the US so put any concerns about what you're buying to rest.
PalQ is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2005, 10:24 AM
  #4  
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Thank you both so much. I will try BETS because Railsaver has a $12 per ticket fee.
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Jul 22nd, 2005, 10:39 AM
  #5  
rex
 
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Just bringing up one thing that (other newbies or) you might not know - - you can get different answers, depending on whether you do... or do not... click on "only if it saves me money".

Best wishes,

Rex
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Jul 22nd, 2005, 10:57 AM
  #6  
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Rex: No, I didn't know that. I just assumed it responded with the cheapest option. Doing it over again, it would save us $100 to just buy individual tickets!

Is scnf.com the best place to look up railway schedules?
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Jul 22nd, 2005, 10:57 AM
  #7  
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I forgot to thank you for that tidbit, Rex. Thank you!!
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Jul 22nd, 2005, 11:04 AM
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sncf.com is fine but www.bahn.de is easier to use and has schedules for all of Europe, inlcuding France. (German railways official site; click on 'internat. guests' at top to get English page you can bookmark and have boxes for cities to put in for schedules. For prices in euros go to sncf.com as German site only gives prices for domestic tickets. What is you itinerary - if you can save $100 with point-point you can't be traveling very much?? France pass as cheap as $195 pp on a saver pass for 4 days/1 month. for real in France fares check www.sncf.com - RailSaver i think uses RailEurope fares which can be more or less than those in Europe - talking about walk-up fares you get at stations - not discounted PREM fares only available far in advance and non-changeable non-refundable.
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Jul 22nd, 2005, 11:53 AM
  #9  
rex
 
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You're welcome.

It's an easy assumption to make.

Railsaver is sort of paradoxical that way - - providing the analysis for why a person should (almost) never buy a "rail pass"... yet also providing the (what I would call) the "head in the sand" option - - that is, calculate which pass makes "the most sense" for those people who value the whatever-it-is that would lead a person to spend more to buy it (the pass) than cheaper, individual tickets!
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Jul 22nd, 2005, 12:10 PM
  #10  
 
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Paris-Nice walk-up tickets cheapest 90 euros, most 103 euros or about $130 - one way - return double if i'm reading www.sncf.com right - so ones wanting flexibility of traveling whenever they want could easily realized benefits of a France pass - at $195 for 4 days/1 month it seems round trip Paris-Nice would more than pay for pass. Extra days at $25/day on pass - $25 so cheap for an unlimited day of travel in France. So those who don't want to go the PREM routes requiring weeks in advance purchase and non-refund, non-change etc. can easily find the France Pass a bargain. Of course it could be cheaper to fly but that's a whole nother thing - some folks actually want to see the countryside - a lovely rail trip thru Burgunday and Rhone Valley and the Riviera.
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Jul 22nd, 2005, 02:20 PM
  #11  
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PalQ: You're right, we're not taking the train a lot in France. Here's the itinerary: a week in Paris with one day trip by rail to Lille and back on the same day. After Paris, we'll take the train to Caen. Then we're renting a car and driving through Brittany and the Loire valley to Auxerre to take a barge trip. There appears to be a train from Auxerre to Chatel-Censoir, the tiny town where we pick up the boat.

After the barge trip, we take the train back to Auxerre, and from there, the train to Paris. The short hop between Auzerre and Chatel-Censoir does not show up on the Railsaver site because the latter is evidently too small.

I think in this instance, buying point-to-point tickets makes more sense, don't you?

Thanks to everyone who wrote. I will try the bahn site.
dabodin is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2005, 07:29 PM
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Pass probably not good for your plans - add up fares on www.sncf.com - and compare to $195 4-day saver pass.
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Jul 23rd, 2005, 04:14 AM
  #13  
ira
 
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Hi dab,

If you purchase your tickets online at www.sncf.com 60 days in advance you can get reduced fares.

For example, Paris/Lille is 36E ea way compared to the regular fare of 48E.

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Jul 23rd, 2005, 07:48 AM
  #14  
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Thanks, Ira. I didn't know that!

JoAnne
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Jul 23rd, 2005, 07:53 AM
  #15  
ira
 
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You're welcome, dab.

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Jul 23rd, 2005, 07:56 AM
  #16  
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Ira, I just tried the sncf site, and it showed Paris/Lille round trip for 2 people to be $294. Can that possibly be correct? 36 euros one way times 4 is 144 by my reckoning which is a far cry from $294 unless the dollar has fallen dramatically! Am I doing something wrong?
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Jul 23rd, 2005, 03:44 PM
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ttt
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Jul 23rd, 2005, 07:23 PM
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sncf.com shows you all possible fares, so if there is no 36 euro fare on the dates and times you want, there just isn't one. Fares vary depending on the dates and times; some trains have discounted tickets for some seats (which may sell out), and others do not. But they show you all possibilities, so you can choose what you want. I don't think sncf shows fares in USD, though, so I don't understand that part, how you got fares in USD. Of course the fare varies by class, also.

In fact, the front page of SNCF advertises some special PREM fares Paris-Lille for only 15 euro. YOu don't have to buy them 60 days ahead, or just exactly 60 days ahead, either. That is just the maximize time you can book on the website.

The normal, undiscounted fare in first class for Paris-Lille is about 63 euro from what I saw in September. That's 126 euro RT or 252 euro for two people. So, USD $294 is certainly possible if you buy a regular first-class fare. Regular second-class is about 35 euro, so that would be 140 euro for two RT, or around US$168.

It looks like you just chose an expensive ticket. The French site is more convenient than the English, as the shows you a list of all fares before you pick a time, and I think on the English site they don't show you the price until you select a particular train.
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Jul 24th, 2005, 07:49 AM
  #19  
ira
 
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Hi dab,

You seem to be looking at 1cl fares, for which there don't seem to be any PREMS.

However, it is only 1 hr. 2cl on a TGV should be perfectly OK.

Today they are offering 15E each way in 2cl for 20/09/2005.

ira is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 05:53 PM
  #20  
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I'm topping this again because I have another puzzling question. It appears that you have to live in the EU to order tickets on-line from sncf.com. Is that true?

And if I just purchase the tickets at the station when we are in Paris, are the prices the same as the ones listed in the website? Obviously, the cheap online only, non-refundable fares aren't available, but is the normal fare the same if you get them online or it the train station?

Thanks.
dabodin is offline  

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