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Should I buy Trenitalia tickets ahead of time for my parents?

Should I buy Trenitalia tickets ahead of time for my parents?

Old Aug 22nd, 2015, 07:14 PM
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yk
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Should I buy Trenitalia tickets ahead of time for my parents?

It has been 10 years since I stepped foot in Italy, but it seems like not much has improved in terms of the "ease" of booking via Trenitalia, then and now.

My parents have a simple itinerary:
1-way from Verona to Padova (stop over for a few hrs), then
1-way from Padova to Venice

Looking on Trenitalia website, there are frequent Regional (slower) trains that one cannot reserve in advance, and there are also Frecciabianca trains that one CAN buy in advance.

My parents, in their 70s and 80s, would prefer to have tickets in hand ahead of time, so they don't have to stand in line to buy tickets at the station (and avoid problems with language etc). It seems like I should just go ahead and buy them tickets on the Frecciabianca trains then? How difficult it is in terms of registering with Trenitalia and getting those tickets printed in advance?

Another question I have is regarding the advanced tickets. According to the websites below, it seems like
http://www.trenitalia.com/cms-file/h...ecce.html#BASE
http://www.trenitalia.com/cms-file/h...e.html#ECONOMY

Even if I buy them the BASE (full price) tickets, if they want to take a different train than the one I booked them on, they still need to go have their tickets exchanged before they can board the train? I am so used to buying Germany rail tickets via DB, where one can buy full priced tickets and you can pretty much take whichever train you want without any need for change nor penalty. Am I reading the instructions correctly?

If they have to exchange tickets even with the BASE tickets, I might as well just buy them economy tickets and have them stick to the train schedule/itinerary.

Your thoughts?

P.S. Based on older posts, it sounds like there IS left luggage service at Padova train station. Can anyone confirm?
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Old Aug 22nd, 2015, 07:23 PM
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P.S.
I suspect many of you would just tell me to tell them to buy tickets for the regional (unreserved) train when they get to the train station. That way, they can have the flexibility of schedule.

How easy/difficult is it? My parents are worry worms, and they absolutely cannot operate the fast ticket machines. They just get flustered even though it seems easy to others. So the only option for them would be going to the ticket window to buy the train tickets. But they hate standing in lines and my dad always claims that the lines are super long at (any) train stations. Plus they have their luggage in tow and my mom cannot stand for long periods of time. At their age, they view buying tickets in person at train station as cumbersome and difficult, and it stresses them out.

That's why I am asking here about buying tickets in advance for them...
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Old Aug 22nd, 2015, 07:27 PM
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I asked here for help registering for Trenitalia and got no help. If you are American I think the trick is pulling down "Stati Uniti" and then maybe it is straightforward. You do not have to register to buy tickets, however.

On the plus side Trenitalia will provide receipts via email in English that you can print as many times as you want. Also seat reservations are free and easily selected at purchase.

DB will not provide English tickets, free seat reservations in 2nd, and you need to carry your credit card on the train.

I don't know the answer to your full priced question. Usually one buys tickets in advance to get cheaper fares.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2015, 07:29 PM
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One more question:

If I buy the tickets for them in advance, am I correct that they are "ticketless"? What exactly happens when you click the "buy" option? Do you get an email that gives you the PNR? And that's all you need for boarding the train? Does the email at least list the train # and time so you don't forget?
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Old Aug 22nd, 2015, 07:32 PM
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Receipts=tickets, that it what I meant.

Also the only advantage to registering for Trenitalia is it provides a backup way to get your PNR (reservation #) in case you delete the email with that information.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2015, 07:35 PM
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Yes to all your questions, it is really easy. Another plus: the printed out ticket is graphically beautiful, DB can't say that either.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2015, 08:57 PM
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With the background provided, a need to line up at a manned ticket window or at a machine are both troublesome.

Manned booth issues. While Verona station would probably not get the mass of clueless tourists lining up at big stations like Florence or Rome, even the medium station can get a long line especially if there is a schedule foul up forcing many people to line up. Language is usually NOT the problem. They can speak enough English to ask them key questions: Where are they going? When are they going, 1st or 2nd class? However, whenever you wait in a crowd, there is a chance to get distracted and get pick pocketed.

Ticket machine issue. The machine's English is even better once they select English. However, if they have problem using vending machines at home, they would also be frustrated. While for those who does this all the time do not think about it, if they face the machine for the first time, they need to figure out how to navigate pages, select number of people, etc. Also operating the machine gives a good opportunity for pick pockets. I am not sure about Verona, but in touristy stations, there are unsolicited "helpers" at machines wanting to be paid for "helping" you.

Even if they have a ticket at hand, they need to know:
1. How to find the track number displayed on digital display about 15-20 min before, if they bother to give them that much time.
2. Make themselves to that track. Many requires going underpass. There are "usually" elevators somewhere to get down to the underpass and another one to lift them up to the platform level. But I often find out of order elevators.
3. Find the wait position on the platform of the particular car #=carrozza # where they have the seat by looking at the car composition diagram.
4. While mindful of last minutes track changes
5. While avoiding any "helpful" non-official people who wants money for carrying their luggage.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2015, 10:09 PM
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Yes, there is left luggage at the Padova station. We were there in June and used it. The cost was 6 euro a bag and the attendant needed to see a passport. The office was located at the far end of the platform next to the bathrooms.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2015, 12:49 AM
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I hear what you say about purchasing tickets but I actually find it more stressful knowing that I have to catch a particular train at a particular time, find a particular carriage and my reserved seat than just rock up buy a ticket. The only reason I book in advance is to save money and that doesn't sound like it's an issue for you. Tickets for Regionale trains are valid for any Regionale service (pretty much) so if they don't get to the platform in time, it's not such a problem.

There is information online such as this site: http://seat61.com/Italy-trains.htm#S...icket_machines. Perhaps if your parents read this before they left they might feel more confident?
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Old Aug 23rd, 2015, 01:12 AM
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If you do decide to buy tickets online in advance, the trenitalia website is very easy to use (you don't have to register if you don't want) and you can print the tickets at home. The reason that the tickets can't be used on any train, even if you purchased flexible tickets, is that the fast trains (frecce) have reserved seating.

I believe that you can buy Regionale tickets online within 7 days of travel. They come with slightly tighter conditions than just buying them at the station on the day but may be an alternative for you. If it's not practical to purchase before they leave, you may be able to email the tickets to them. You may also find that their hotel would be obliging and book for them.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2015, 03:04 AM
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They want the Frecce trains (the fast trains). Frecce and IC train tickets bought on Trenitalia include your seat reservation (mandatory on both of these types of trains in Italy which isn't the case in Germany). Therefore, you are buying a specific seat on a specific train similar to buying a full fare airline ticket (changeable without a fee, but you still have to find another option with seat available and book).

Regional trains have no reserved seating at all. On regional trains, it's possible for the train to be packed and your parents could have to stand.

>>>So the only option for them would be going to the ticket window to buy the train tickets.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2015, 03:18 AM
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The tickets you can buy at bars and tabaccherie (With either the Trenitalia logo or the Lottomatica logo) are only for regional trains. However, in larger stations there are usually travel agents who are official Trenitalia agents, and they can sell you any kind of Trenitalia ticket.

The regional tickets bought online are very restricted. They can't be changed for any reason whatsoever, even if the train is greatly delayed and you'd prefer to exchange them (paying the difference) for an earlier IC or Freccia train. Ever since this happened to me once, I won't buy regional tickets online in any circumstance.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2015, 03:31 AM
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You can also buy tickets in advance from Italo - http://www.italotreno.it/?sc_lang=en

Their trains are excellent (similar to Frecciarossa but superior to Frecciabianca trains) and their prices are generally more competitive than Trenitalia.

Their site is easy to navigate.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2015, 05:32 AM
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I found the Trenitalia site very easy to use, and the paperless ticket equally easy to use. Another advantage of the paperless ticket is that there's no need to validate the ticket at one of those machines before boarding the train. I also did not register at the Trenitalia site -- I just bought the ticket w/o registering.

Here's a copy of the e-mail confirmation that I got:

Dear DonTopaz,

This is to confirm you that you have successfully completed the purchase of the following travels:


Train: Frecciargento 9416 date 16/05/2015
Departure: Roma Termini (time: 10:35); Arrival: Venezia S. Lucia (time: 14:20)
Carriage: 1; Place: 12D (Mandatory reservation) ;
Fare: Economy; 1 Adults; 1ª CLASSE Traveler Name:- -; Loyalty Code:
Punti: --;


Booking code (PNR): GJ5AG5
Master code: 161995101695
Total Price: EUR 80.00
Corporate ID: -
Pick up procedure: Electronic Ticket
Buyer name: DonTopaz
CP reservation change code (CP): 493901
Ticket Code :269427415


Caution: you made a purchase without being registered.
With the information in this mail, through this this link You can access the functionality display purchase, exchange and refund reservation.

If you have choosen the ticketless option with email payment receipt, the personnel will only check for your presence on board. We invite you to print this email to communicate the pnr (booking code) to the train staff when asked and for any eventual bonus request.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2015, 05:48 AM
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This is ALL excellent information - thank you so much!

If I get this right, the options are:

1) Buy reserved Frecciabianca tickets online in advnace
Pro - no need to stand in line to buy tickets, no need to validate
Con - no flexibility, have to find the correct coach & seat

2) Buy unreserved, Regional train tickets in person while they are in Verona
Pro - tickets are more flexible (am I correct in this? they can take almost any regional train within a specific time period?), no reserved seats so they can just get on any coach car
Con - Have to stand in line to buy tickets in person (maybe a line), need to validate ticket prior to boarding train, potentially crowded train

Armed with this, I will let my parents know and they can choose which way they prefer.

Also, Just to be clear, they arrive in Verona (by plane) on a Tuesday evening, and they travel to Venice (via Padova) on Thursday. IF they choose to buy regional train tickets, they can do so on Wednesday at their leisure (and sans luggage) at the station, and they can buy BOTH routes at that time (Verona -> Padova; Padova-> Venice)? And those regional tickets do not limit them to a specific train at a specific time. Is this correct?

And thanks to y_lou for the left luggage info!
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Old Aug 23rd, 2015, 06:37 AM
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"IF they choose to buy regional train tickets, they can do so on Wednesday at their leisure (and sans luggage) at the station, and they can buy BOTH routes at that time (Verona -> Padova; Padova-> Venice)? And those regional tickets do not limit them to a specific train at a specific time. Is this correct?"

Yes and yes and yes.

(Regionale tickets must be validated--punched with the date and time of travel just before boarding--precisely because they are for no specific train at a specific time. Often on a Regionale train, especially over a short distance, the conductor never appears to punch the tickets. Without validation, the ticket could be reused illegally.)
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Old Aug 24th, 2015, 06:53 AM
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>>>2) Buy unreserved, Regional train tickets in person while they are in Verona
Pro - tickets are more flexible (am I correct in this? they can take almost any regional train within a specific time period?), no reserved seats so they can just get on any coach car>>>

If the buy them in Verona, they will be good for any regional train for the route they buy for several months. No, they can't just get on any car. If there are class choices of 1st or 2nd, they can only get on the type of car the ticket is for. They can't sit in a 1st class car with a 2nd class ticket. They have to be certain they are boarding a regional train, not an IC (which will look more similar than the Frecce trains).

>>>"IF they choose to buy regional train tickets, they can do so on Wednesday at their leisure (and sans luggage) at the station, and they can buy BOTH routes at that time (Verona -> Padova; Padova-> Venice
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Old Aug 24th, 2015, 08:29 AM
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Regional trains have no reserved seating at all. On regional trains, it's possible for the train to be packed and your parents could have to stand.>

Many regional trains IME have first class and that IME of traveling first class rarely if ever means SRO as 2nd class can - not all regional trains have first class but if they do buy them or have them buy first class - very little more really on those trains - even of IC and faster trains for that route it would be very little more and they would be much more relaxed IME.
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Old Aug 24th, 2015, 10:54 AM
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Thanks again - I discussed this with my dad about the pros and cons of the 2 options, and he decided to buy regional train when they are in Verona. I will let him know that he can buy it from stores instead of the train station, altho the hotel they are staying in is pretty close to the train station. He does understand that he will have to board the Regional train instead of any of the Frecci trains, and he needs to validate the tickets before boarding.

All your input has been invaluable and I really appreciate it.
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Old Aug 24th, 2015, 01:08 PM
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I think they can get by with a single ticket Verona to Venice. A regional ticket of this length (120 km) is good for 6 hours after it is validated, and Padova is directly on the way so they would get stopovers as they like along the way in that time frame. I am assuming they wait till the last minute to validate their tickets and keep their stay in Padua to under 3 hours. The savings is 3.40 per person over buying 2 tickets.

Note that fast and slow regional trains operate on this line, Regionale Veloce are nearly as fast as the freccia trains and cost the same as the slow trains. Regionale Veloce trains take just under 1.5 hours for the whole distance, the slow regionale take 2.25 hours.
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