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recent booking experiences - RENFE or Raileurope

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Apr 3rd, 2012, 08:47 AM
  #1
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recent booking experiences - RENFE or Raileurope

I need to book a ticket soon for an overnight trip Lisbon to San Sebastain - it has been several years since I have done a trip like this and I know booking experiences / procedures have been changing.

I pulled up info from both sites (RENFE and RailEurope) and am wondering which site is going to be easier to book from - fares seemed to be similar but I don't think either was showing greatly discounted fares. I was looking at a date about 30 days out. I just realized I may have missed the best fares at 60 days out! rats! But I know in the past RENFE could be difficult - is this still true? I don't mind spending a few extra $$ for an easy booking experience with tickets emailed to me, hence RailEurope.

I
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Apr 3rd, 2012, 08:57 AM
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There are always complaints it seems about renfe.com from folks not familiar with it - veterans report little problems but folks like you post often about their frustrations - like orders for some reason just not going thru - sometimes it is your bank's problem for not allowing a foreign transaction - and if your c card imposes a 3% charge on foreign transaction purchases then factor that into the price comparisons. For any RailEurope product I advise calling the folks at www.budgeteuropetravel.com, a RE agent but experts you can talk to - I have bought railpasses from them for years and highly recommend them if buying any RE product. You may want to try to book on renfe.com if price is lower and see how it goes and there will be Fodorites who will help you with renfe.com problems if your post your travails. RE is now tapping into the renfe.com site so has similar prices but does imposed a $7 fee for each ticket I understand.
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Apr 3rd, 2012, 08:59 AM
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I haven't used RENFE yet (will be at the end of the month to try and take advantage of the greatly discounted fares), but have ordered from RailEurope last year. 1) Really easy to order from their site; it's in English and if you have issues, it's easy to contact someone for help but, 2) You have to pay for shipping, last year it was equivalent to CAD$15 (on top of the not really discounted fare).
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Apr 3rd, 2012, 09:01 AM
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(unless I only paid for shipping because I live in Canada...)
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Apr 3rd, 2012, 09:05 AM
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Thanks PalenQ - yes I have used budgeteuropetravel in the past - they are really a class act. And I know RailEurope used to be a major rip so its nice to see they are better now with a variety of fares. I just have read so many postings here about renfe troubles and my computer skills are so-so so I am worried I will send a payment and not know if was accepted or can't access my ticket. $14 extra for two tickets and a hasslefree experience is not unacceptable to me!
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Apr 3rd, 2012, 10:14 AM
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You can also check for rail tickets through Petrabax.com, the official Renfe rep in the States. You can also book your Lisbon-San Sebastian train at www.cp.pt (Portugal).

As far as the Renfe problems go, they persist.
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Apr 3rd, 2012, 12:15 PM
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As far as the Renfe problems go, they persist.>

some things never change - they used to say The Pain in Spain Is Mainly On the Train - now the Pain in Spain ain't on the Train but getting onto the train if having to use renfe.com.
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Apr 3rd, 2012, 04:08 PM
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try www.rumbo.es . Doesn´t seem to be a credit card acceptance problem there. Might cost 5E more.
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Apr 4th, 2012, 10:56 AM
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If prices are similar or within a few bucks then always IMO use a company based in the U.S. so if you have to refund, etc you can easily contact the company - dealing with a foreign entity can be problematic.
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Apr 5th, 2012, 01:00 PM
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a few extra $$ for an easy booking experience with tickets emailed to me, hence RailEurope.>

I thought RE still mailed out paper tickets - I know they e-mail some tickets like Eurostar Chunnel tickets but do they e-mail Spanish tickets as well?

Curious?
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Apr 5th, 2012, 01:06 PM
  #11
 
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As robert2533 says, the Renfe site doesn't always work, especially with US credit cards. I think I followed all detailed instructions but the Renfe system could not connect with any bank for any of my credit cards. In desperation I went to Petrabax. While I object to having to pay them a premium, unlike Renfe, their website was very easy, and very reliable so far.
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Apr 5th, 2012, 01:27 PM
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I used RailEurope a couple weeks ago to book our reservations on 10 different train trips for four people for our trip in May and June this year. We already had purchased the Select Passes.

I was unable to book a few of the rides on the site so I called an operator. I was extremely pleased with the knowledge and service I received. There was a fee of $30 total for the booking of the reservations which was very reasonable compared to another booking company which wanted $60 per person for booking the reservations.

The reservations came four days later in the mail. All very easy and convenient.
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