Senior Discounts on Train Travel

Jul 11th, 2015, 10:22 AM
  #1  
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Senior Discounts on Train Travel

I know Spain has Tajeta Dorada for seniors for discount on RENFE train. I wonder if Germany, France, Italy, and Switzerland have similar program. If I travel through these countries (two or three days each country), would Eurail Pass be better option? I have traveled Europe many times but never used Eurail Pass.
tominrm is offline  
Jul 11th, 2015, 11:57 AM
  #2  
 
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If you know your itinerary, the simplest and cheapest thing is to treat trains just like flights.

You go online direct to the operator 2-3 months ahead, click, click, oh look Paris to Nice for €25, Venice to Florence for €19, or Frankfurt to Munich for €19, click, click, pay, print and travel.

www.renfe.com for Spain, www.capitainetrain.com for France, www.bahn.de/en for Germany, www.trenitalia.com for Italy.

Yes, each country has its own railcard schemes, but is it really worth paying for one just to get a % off a handful of journeys?

And ask yourself what this discount is off, all fares or only full-price fares? The Tarjeta dorada is a good example. Book a €28 Promo fare 2 months ahead and the TD gives no discount at all. It only saves money off the €100 full-flex price that you'd pay on the day, NOT off the cheapies you'd normally buy in advance. And who pays on the day and goes bankrupt? Everyone books ahead now, to get cheap fares.
Man_in_seat_61 is offline  
Jul 11th, 2015, 01:03 PM
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a Eurailpass if over 25 yrs old is first class and that has huge perks - even Man in Seat 61` once said on Fodor's "I am an aficionado of first class and discounted tickets also exist in first class, sometimes at not much more than 2nd class. But a pass lets you chose which trains to take once there - especially in Germany and Switzerland where you can just show up and hop any train anytime.

discounted tickets are great but it IME is not the easy solution - many sites are fickle to use and if you can't get a discount on a leg or two and pay full fare for them - well that would go a lot towards a Eurail Select Saver Pass - valid in any 4 countries you wish.

I too am an aficionado of first class and my decades of incessant European rail travel has shown me the real benefits - especially for folks carrying too much luggage - much easier to stow - often empty seats IME to put bags on, etc. bigger seats - and to me a key is the solo seats - an aisle and a window seat both - two people can face each other with a table in between and never be bothered or bother others when you want to get up to go to the snack wagon or loo, etc.

So when pricing railpasses keep in mind that first class has significant benefits over 2nd class - especially 2nd class discounted tickets that are usually non-changeable non-refundable and as they are sol din limited numbers must be booked in stone weeks/months in adavance.

anyway for lots of good stuff on European rail travel and passes check these IMO superb sites - www.seat61.com - Man in Seat 61 who posts above his commercial site; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com. Eurailpasses are sold in Europe, contrary to most info, but only at Eurail Aid offices and then at about 20% above U.S. prices - meant for folks who lose their pass and need a replacement one but in practice sell to anyone but at an inflated price.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 11th, 2015, 02:19 PM
  #4  
 
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In France, there is a Découverte Senior fare that gives you a 25% discount on TER and Intercité trains that depart during an off-peak period. We have used this fare for a daytrip from Paris to Chartres.

http://www.sncf.com/en/reductions/seniors

The calendar (in French only) indicating off-peak (Blue periods) and peak (White periods) is here:

http://medias.sncf.com/sncfcom/pdf/c...ervoyageur.pdf
MaineGG is offline  
Jul 11th, 2015, 02:39 PM
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We got deeply discounted senior fares not using any kind of special card at all on our recent trip which included train travel in France, Belgium and Germany. When buying online, when you put in your info, date of birth is part of it and that allows you to buy senior fares.
socialworker is offline  
Jul 11th, 2015, 02:44 PM
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In France, there is a Découverte Senior fare that gives you a 25% discount on TER and Intercité trains that depart during an off-peak period.> Yes that needs no pruchase of a card but my French friend, 67, buys an annual senior pass and gets 50% off all regular fare train travel but as Man in Seat 61 says unless you will be doing a lot of trips the initial cost may not be worth it - not sure what the cost was.

Once I was in line at CDG TGV station and an American couple wanted to buy a ticket to Angers and the clerk said it was say 45 euros each but he asked it they were seniors and then without any card he said first class for seniors was cheaper - so always ask - always.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 11th, 2015, 09:41 PM
  #7  
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Thank you,all, for great information. In Spain the discount card, Tarjeta Dorada, costs only 6 euros per year. I have been traveling without firm plans for a month so using the card helped me a lot. Now I have enough information to start my planning for the next year.
tominrm is offline  
Jul 11th, 2015, 10:06 PM
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Ditto to what Palenque says….all our travel was 1st class and was often cheaper than non-senior 2nd class w/no documentation (other than DOB in online purchase) or special card needed.
socialworker is offline  
Jul 12th, 2015, 02:34 AM
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Train options available in other European countries, are not necessarily available in France. The lowest cost train transportation option in France is to purchase tickets well in advance, up to 3 months for PREM fares on regular trains or up to 6 months for iDTGV tickets. PREM fares typically open around 25€ a seat, iDTGV fares start at 19€. These prices rise as seats are sold.

Sometimes the demand for lower cost 2nd class tickets is such that they sell quickly and can actually become, temporarily, more expensive than 1st class tickets. On occasion, I have purchased 1st class tickets cheaper than the price of 2nd class tickets.

On certain TER trains during blue periods, senior discounts are offered without needing to purchase a carte senior. These offers are departure specific and must be used on the train for which they are purchased.

Overall, purchasing SNCF tickets on the www.capitainetrain.com website is very easy and I have head no reports of credit cards being rejected or of anyone having difficulties completing purchases. Passes, while available for French train, are not as easy or as cost effective to use as they may be elsewhere. I would generally avoid them for travel in France.
Sarastro is offline  
Jul 12th, 2015, 07:19 AM
  #10  
 
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Some countries restrict their senior discounts to European residents.

>>>If I travel through these countries (two or three days each country), would Eurail Pass be better option?<<<

Without stating your specific itinerary, no one can tell what might be better. Budget flights on one of the many discount airlines might be better. Taking a lot of trains (or local transport) that aren't part of a pass, limit the number of passholders allowed or charge a big supplement in addition to the cost of the pass, might negate any value of a pass.
kybourbon is online now  
Jul 12th, 2015, 09:07 AM
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Taking a lot of trains (or local transport) that aren't part of a pass, limit the number of passholders allowed or charge a big supplement in addition to the cost of the pass, might negate any value of a pass.>

When i fact there are so few with a any of those it would be hard to take a lot - way blown out of porportion - Thalys trains and a few French TGV lines meet this criteria as well as the Glacier Express in Switzerland - maybe kybourbon can tell me more of these but that's all I can think of - a handful at best. Italy and Spain charge a supplement but in no way would it be called 'big' IMO.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 12th, 2015, 10:10 AM
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The supplement in Italy is 5 euros for IC trains and 10 euros for high-speed trains - in France it's 3 euros on most TGVs a bit more on others and yes pass holders may find it hard to get on at times even if the train is not full. Spain about 10 euros for fast trains. Otherwise in most countries you can just hop on any train anytime - the vast majority of trains in Europe. Thalys trains do charge an obscene 35 euro or so supplement which sucks - but that is along with the Glacier Express the only in my terms 'big' supplement. Well mayber 10 euros is big to some.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 12th, 2015, 12:21 PM
  #13  
 
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If you add the €10 reservation fee per person per high-speed train in Italy to the cost of the pass, it really increases the price of the pass. Especially when you consider that SuperEconomy tickets on those same trains (including the reservation) may go for as little as €9.

I can say with assurance that it's virtually impossible to make a pass pay off in Italy. Almost all long-distance trains require a reservation, so you don't even have the convenience of hopping onto any train. Those trains that don't require reservations are dirt cheap, so it wouldn't be worth getting a pass for them.
bvlenci is offline  
Jul 13th, 2015, 12:06 PM
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Especially when you consider that SuperEconomy tickets on those same trains (including the reservation) may go for as little as €9.>

Well good luck getting those ballyhooed 9 euro tickets and folks with Eurailpasses do not buy them just to use in Italy but a several country trip usually and they of course also use them in Italy - thus since savings for walk up fares are so great in most countries (including Italy and I've never had any problem with my pass getting on trains in short notice - first class much easier - and passes are also for folks over 25 first class - so you compare discounted non-changeable non-freundable tickets that must be purchase to get weeks/months in advance ov first class fully flexible tickets you can IME easily reserve on any train in Italy.

One can never says a pass is worthless without comparing apples to apples and not oranges to apples, etc.

Folks on a several-country trip Eurailpasses can indeed have complete flexiblity and first class travel in Italy too - at a cost that would be very high if they had to buy those as they went along.

There are many aspects to passes besides what is cheapest - yes a series of 9 euro fares would be great but that is simply whistling Dixie in most cases.
PalenQ is offline  

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