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TGV Train Tickets/Passes

Old Jul 25th, 2014, 10:52 AM
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TGV Train Tickets/Passes

Any suggestions where and how to purchase TGV train tickets from the United States without all the added fees that Euro/Railways want to charge? Thinking of purchasing a Train Pass. We are 2 seniors and want 5 days within 2 months of travel on the train for France & Spain.
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Old Jul 25th, 2014, 11:43 AM
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You can order the tickets 3 months in advance on https://www.capitainetrain.com/search/ or http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ or even http://www.idtgv.com/en/

In any case, this is for individual one-way tickets, but it might still be better than purchasing a train pass. For example, I purchased tickets Limoges to Paris three months in advance for 15€ per person. Compare that to the regular fare.
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Old Jul 25th, 2014, 12:00 PM
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We use Voyages-SNCF, as noted above. Just select France as your country. You can print your tickets or choose to collect them in France.
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Old Jul 25th, 2014, 12:24 PM
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With just five days of train travel a pass will be more expensive than doing what Michael says but to get those deep discounts you must book in stone (there are severe restrictions of changing or refunding) yes up to three months in advance - use www.renfe.com for Spain and either www.voyages-sncf.com or better to use as it is easier www.capitainetrain.com - same tickets same trains but a competing ticket selling sight the French Railways had to allow to compete against their monopoly due to EU laws - or www.idTGV.com - run by SNCF but special low fares on TGVs on some routes.

If you need or wish to have flexibility then the pass would be cheaper than five longer full-fare tickets no doubt as full and fully flexible on changes, refunds, etc tickets cost a ton so in no case just walk up and buy tickets on longer train trips (regional and commuter trains tend to have a flat fare with no or little incentive for booking far in advance0.

The pass would be a France-Spain Eurailpass, valid on nearly all trains in both countries but you still must pay mandated seat reservation fees of 3 euros - sometimes more in France and 10-12 euros or so in Spain (not sure of exact fee in Spain) BUT in France on some popular TGV lines there is a limit on pass-holder seats on each train so it is iffy sometimes if you just show up and ask for a pass holder seat if you can actually book one - especially on TGV lines to the south of France - so if doing those TGVs make a seat reservation when buying your pass.

Then if you miss or want to change trains, subject to availability of course, you would only be out the reservation fee and could use the pass on other trains.

For lots of great info on French and Spanish trains I always spotlight these superb IMO sites: www.seat61.com - great info on discounted tickets; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com. Note that there have been legions of complaints about actually being able to get www.renfe.com to work but if you ask questions to other Fodorites they will usually be able to walk you thru.

1st class IME of decades of incessant riding trains in each country tells me there is a significant difference between first and second class - especially for those porting around typically way too much luggage - more empty seats in first class - I can almost always put my bags on an adjoining or nearby seat (good for keeping an eye on them) whereas 2nd class is often full and you have to fend for baggage spots in perhaps already rather full overhead luggage racks.

1st class seats are bigger as there are less per same-size train car and only in first class do you get the vaunted isolated seats with just one in a row - an aisle and a window seat - two of these can face each other with a table in between.

Second-class is inevitably two seats in each row so if on the inside you have to ask someone else to get up to let you out for a loo run, etc.

Anyway to me the so-called isolated seats are priceless and only IME are found in first class.

Passes are usually much better values vis-a-vis first class fares than 2nd class ones.
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Old Jul 25th, 2014, 01:11 PM
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RENFE the Spanish train website now accepts payments via paypal.There is no need to join Paypal to may payments.
http://www.renfe.com/
Instructions:
http://www.seat61.com/Spain-trains.htm#.U9LHmbHwySo
http://www.seat61.com/international-...m#.U9LHr7HwySo
http://www.seat61.com/Paris-to-Barce...m#.U9LHxrHwySo
Fast trians in Spain are called AVE.
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Old Jul 26th, 2014, 05:30 AM
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Paying on renfe.com seemed to be the old buagaboo - hopefully now that site will be more accommodating to American credit cards.
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Old Jul 27th, 2014, 01:42 PM
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If you do buy a pass (such as a Eurailpass), they can't be bought in-country and prices do not vary that I've ever seen. I have no idea what "Euro/Railways" is, I have never heard of that particular website.

I think Rick Steves website may be a better deal for railpasses (than Raileurope) because I think you get some free stuff with it and maybe the mailing fee isn't as high as some other places (eg, Eurailpass or a France Railpass). But the price of the pass should not vary among vendors.

I seriously doubt if a Eurailpass for France and Spain wold be cost-effective for 5 days of travel, but it possibly could be if you were really taking long trips all those days and can't book way ahead (which does involve considerable planning).
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Old Jul 28th, 2014, 05:35 AM
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Eurailpasses can indeed be bought in every country in Europe that ha a Eurail Aid office - some few dozen main train stations have those - but prices there are usually IME plugged about 20% higher than at home (if in U.S.) - really meant for folks who lose their passes and need replacement ones. But you can buy them there - like in Paris at Saint-Lazare International ticket desk.

Prices no vary in the U.S. as they are set by RailEurope and agents like Rick Steves must adhere to them - they can. like Christina says, give away stuff and have handling/mailing fees.
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Old Jul 28th, 2014, 02:05 PM
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A France-Spain railpass for 5 days of unlimited travel in a 2-month period - a Saver Pass for two or more people always traveling together on one pass would cost $353 or about $70 a day.

That's about 50 euros a day and yes for fully flexible travel that compared to full-fare tickets that provide that can be a bargain.

traveler12 - you do not say what your projected train trips would be - what are you planning - then take a look at discounted tickets and see what your overall cost will be - of course those tickets are train-specific and must be booked in stone often months ahead of time - see how much you could save and then make a decision - if not much more go for the flexibility of a pass.
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