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Switzerland - Italy 2 1/2 weeks June 2014

Switzerland - Italy 2 1/2 weeks June 2014

Old Jun 4th, 2014, 06:32 AM
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Interlaken - Brunig - Lucerne:
Swiss people NEVER book in advance, most of them use these trains for short legs only, like Brienz - Meiringen or Giswil - Brunig and they always find free seats.>

Even on the official Golden Pass trains you need not reserve on that segment to Lucerne from Interlaken-Ost - I've taken those trains lots of times - never seen a full train and you can always board anyway.
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Old Jun 4th, 2014, 06:41 AM
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Hi twins

I've traveled with my teens twice to Switzerland and once to Tuscany so I'll steer you to my two trip reports. Click on my name, scroll to the bottom trip report section and look up these two:

"Alps to Volcanoes: GRINDELWALD, Lucca, TUSCANY, Rome and Pompeii"

"Trip Report: LAUTERBRUNNEN, Salzburg, Paris" (written around 2010 so you need to scroll down the second page of trip reports a bit)

We did a ton of things in the BO - Jungfraujoch, scooters down a mountain, zip lines, toboggan runs, easy hikes and the kids loved it all. You'll have enough suggestions that you won't need to leave the BO!
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Old Jun 4th, 2014, 10:39 AM
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http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...nd-pompeii.cfm

One of kwren's excellent trip reports that others may find helpful and fun to read!
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Old Jun 4th, 2014, 01:04 PM
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Thanks PalenQ!
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Old Jun 4th, 2014, 07:30 PM
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>>>I was under the impression the seats were reserved by the swiss rail not Rail Europe that is what I meant by "private trains">>I know that I tried to book a train from Interlocken to Lucerne and it was sold out two days in a row that is why I have started to worry that it is very crowded and things are filling up.
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Old Jun 5th, 2014, 05:31 AM
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RailEurope is a company that markets passes (although Switzerland sells their own passes). RailEurope tends to mark up tickets they sell. Switzerland I think charges 5chf for their own trains($5.57 at current exchange).>

the passes that Switzerland sells on their own are exactly the same as RE, part owned by the Swiss Federal Railways, sells - exactly the same and all eventually are initiated by the Swiss Railways - as for mark ups - yes on seat reservations but as I have often mentioned here the exact same Swiss Pass or Swiss Card or Swiss Transfer Ticket sold in the U S thru RE has actually been cheaper than the exact same pass sold in Switzerland - so mark ups in that case are for sales in Switzerland over an often cheaper price if bought in the U.S. This is not always true and currently they seem to be about the same price but often has been in several years I've been comparing prices.

RE is not always the rip-off agency many claim they are in all cases. Recently someone bought a Trenitalia ticket thru RE for Milan to Venice for $29 - vs 19 euros it was on trenitalia.com - the price came out to be about exactly the same even figuring in the handling fee.

Often RE tickets are marked up but not always as some would have it.
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Old Jun 5th, 2014, 07:09 AM
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I know that I tried to book a train from Interlocken to Lucerne and it was sold out two days in a row that is why I have started to worry that it is very crowded and things are filling up.>

curious as to what site you actually used to find that those trains were booked solid two days in a row - something of course that is not ever the case - but curious as to how you did that?

Thanks.
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Old Jun 6th, 2014, 12:25 PM
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Just saw what must be a fairly new special on Swiss Passes - saying those bought in U S will get $50 off each pass if bought before June 17, 2014 and I think can be used anytime - validated in Switzerland anytime within 6 months of issuance and then after issuance be used to its max validity period.
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Old Jun 7th, 2014, 05:46 AM
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Here is the other trip report I mentioned above...read the first part for some really fun activities for the kids! Sorry I didn't post the link before.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...burg-paris.cfm
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Old Jun 7th, 2014, 06:31 AM
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>>>Recently someone bought a Trenitalia ticket thru RE for Milan to Venice for $29 - vs 19 euros it was on trenitalia.com - the price came out to be about exactly the same even figuring in the handling fee.
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Old Jun 7th, 2014, 08:37 AM
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the fee was split among two people and it turned out to be $7.50 a person as I remember and many folks have a 3% charge on their credit cards - it all in all was about the same - defying the Fodor mantra that you and others often spout about RE always being a rip-off - it is not always - can be many times - but always check - if you can get your hands on a paper ticket for about the same price better to have it in hand and just board your train. Maybe all Trenitalia.com tickets are e tickets now but many talk about having to retrieve them in Italy or have some code they give the conductor, hoping it is correct, etc.

Plus the typical newbie gets so flummoxed at trenitalia.com that even a few bucks is well worth the extra cost - which came out about $3 p.p. in the case cited.

Not saying to automatically buy thru RE or its agents without comparing prices but not to throw the baby out with the bath water as many here are want to do and advise others, quite incorrectly IMO.
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Old Jun 8th, 2014, 07:45 AM
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About the fees RailEurope and its agents charge - scare tactics often abound here about obscene fees - but in reality this is a one-time per order fee of I think $15, which is waived or used to be at least for orders $400 + - but most folks buying point to point tickets are a couple buying at least two and if they have say three total train trips that would be six tickets but still only a $15 fee - so yes for a solo one person one train trip ticket $15 is steep but in reality these fees are split amongst often several trains and or people's tickets.
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