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Should I buy train tickets before I go???

Should I buy train tickets before I go???

Dec 28th, 2000, 02:25 PM
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Should I buy train tickets before I go???

Hi all,

My girlfriend and I are heading to Europe for the month of March and plan on doing some considerable train travel.

I have already checked on the raileurope.com website, and know that it is cheaper for me to buy individual tickets rather than a rail pass.

My question is: Is it cheaper to buy the tickets online, through a travel agent before we go, or is it better to wait until we get there? Is it cheaper to buy at the train station? Will there still be tickets left (I gather March is not that busy)?

Our itinerary includes Rome, Florence, Venice, Vienna, Prague, Paris, and London.

Thanks for your help,

Dec 28th, 2000, 02:48 PM
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The limited amount of train travel I did while in Italy cost me a lot less by buying the tickets there. The travel agents here wanted a hefty commission. But of course, that is their business. I did not, however, have to take any overnight trains. We bought ours without reservations right at the train stations. I think with a little planning, this is very easy. And seemed to me less expensive. Check train schedule websights, print up time tables for your trip before you go. After arriving at your initial destination, you should be able to plan for the next city easily.
Dec 28th, 2000, 03:05 PM
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Train tickets are considerably cheaper if you by them in Europe. Travelling in March is also off-season to shoulder season, so I wouldn't worry about too many trains filling up. For sleeper trains 2 days in advance should be plenty. Have a great trip!
Dec 28th, 2000, 03:14 PM
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Have you determined that individual tickets are cheaper than a pass? The Eurail passes and their offspring offer discount when 2 or more are traveling together, and some (if not all) get you a discount on the Chunnel train. If the pass is the way to go (check raileurope.com for all the passes, and the cost of individual tickets) to see if a pass or passes might work. They do have to be bought in the U.S.

For individual tickets, buying them in Europe is cheaper *unless* you happen to see a bargain, like a Chunnel ticket for $50, then it's worth the markup to get the deal from an agency (sidebar: one-way tickets are often more expensive than a r/t bargain. Buy the r/t and use just half of it). Italy's railway now offers purchases via their website with a credit card - have not use it so I don't know what the requirements are. France's railway website lets you make reservations, but the tickets have to be bought within a few days at a French station.

Bottom line: this will require math. Figure out your itinerary, then the costs of individual tickets, and then the cost of a pass or passes. Check the site www.sncf.com for Chunnel bargains.
Dec 28th, 2000, 03:14 PM
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RailEurope charges a considerable premium here in the States. You should have no difficulty buying tickets in Europe, you'll save a fair amount of money, and you'll undoubtedly have your choice of trains.

Dec 28th, 2000, 03:20 PM
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Personally I wouldn't worry about Italy in the off-season. I've been twice in Feb and once in Nov and have bought my tickets either in the late afternoon before an early next AM train or just minutes before the train departs. I'm also going in March (Milan-Verona-Florence-Pisa-Florence, Assisi-Rome & maybe Rome-Naples) and I'll probably buy my tickets the afternoon before for an early AM train or that day if unsure of my departure time (sightseeing) for a later afternoon train. You can now buy your tickets thru the FS (Italy's official train website) www.fs-on-line.com/ or thru an Italian travel agency in Rome, American Express office is probably the easiest (at the bottom of the Spanish Steps looking *at* them. turn right walk 50m. AE is on the left).
HTH Regards, Walter

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