Train Advice

Feb 21st, 2002, 02:46 PM
  #1  
Larry
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Train Advice

We, (2 adults and 2 kids -a 21 yr old and an 18 yr old) will be going to France and Germany in late May. We want to go by rail from Paris to Berlin and then again by rail from Berlin to Munich. What would be your advice as to best fare and type of ticket (1st class vs 2nd ETC)
 
Feb 21st, 2002, 02:53 PM
  #2  
Sue
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If you have the bucks, first class is the only way to go. Seats are much better.
 
Feb 21st, 2002, 03:12 PM
  #3  
Judy
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Check BAHN.de and SNCF.com for timetables and fares.
 
Feb 21st, 2002, 05:02 PM
  #4  
Bob Brown
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Paris - Berlin is a 10.5 hour trip with one change in Mannheim. The train leaves from Paris East at 8:54 and arrives at Berlin, Zoo station at 19:17
The full fare for an adult is 1st class 272 e.
At the current rate of exchange that is about $240 - 245 US.

First class on a trip that long can be very pleasant, but the cost differential in terms of absolute dollars is substantial.

Hopefully the young adults can get a ticket for 252.90 e.
the total first class fare is listed at
1482 e.
Second class is 1087.60 e.

The euro right now is worth 87 cents at bank wholesale rates. So the tickets would be 1289 and 945 respectively.
So for $345 difference, you would get a more comfortable spacious seat. It sounds to me like there are four adults traveling, because 18 and 21 year olds are not children; they are adults.
Fortunately, France has a special price category for people in the range of 12 - 25.

I guess it depends on how well they travel. Just stock up on AA batteries before you leave!! I bought some in Germany that ran my Cd player about an hour before they expired.
 
Feb 21st, 2002, 05:14 PM
  #5  
elvira
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Paris>Berlin is around 11 hours. If going during the day, go first class for the extra comfort (it might cost you another $300+ for all four of you, but it's worth it). If you take an overnight train, then a 4person couchette would work out to be very cheap (save a night's hotel cost).

Berlin>Munich is a shorter trip (5 hours?) so second class would be a different experience (lots of people to talk to and observe).

Also, check out Eurail's Selectpass - up to three connecting countries, about $300 per person for 5 days in a month. first class (you can sit in second class if you want). Also, if the adults are over 59, the point-to-point tickets offer discounts.

raileurope.com has all the passes, most of the schedules, and the costs point-to-point. Time to get out pencil and paper and (shudder) do math.
 
Feb 21st, 2002, 06:17 PM
  #6  
jahoulih
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The Selectpass Saver is on sale now for $199. Unfortunately, your first travel day has to be before May 1, so I don't think that will help you. Your best bet, according to www.railsaver.com, is to buy a point-to-point ticket from Paris to Aachen (adults: 107 Euros for 1st class, 66.60 for 2d; under 25: 53.50 Euros for 1st or 31.70 for 2d), and then get a 4-day German twin pass for Aachen to Berlin and Berlin to Munich. The German twin pass is $195 per person for 1st class, $135 for 2d. It has to be two people traveling together, but that's fine for you as you're two sets of two. (Note that you don't have to change trains at Aachen, even though you switch there from the ticket to the pass: you change trains at Cologne, and the whole trip takes 8h40 if you leave at 6:55, 8:55 or 10:55.)

By the way, for point-to-point tickets, the fares at www.raileurope.com are rather inflated. For example, for Paris to Aachen (adult) they want $126 for 1st class or $76 for 2d, plus $15 shipping. (The prices I quoted earlier are from www.sncf.com, the French Rail site.)
 
Feb 21st, 2002, 06:19 PM
  #7  
John
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I have a couple of suggestions for you.
1. consider using the "RailSavere.com" site to find out if you would be best off to purchase individual tickets or a pass. For example, I put in a Paris-Berlin, then Berlin-Munich and finally Munich-Paris, and the site calculated my best option as a "Eurail Select Benelux/France/Germany 5 Day 1st Class Adult FlexiPass Companion/Saver" at $294/pp, or $1176 for your whole family. Not only is this cheaper than the price for first class Paris-Berlin tickets, you get four more days of first class travel.
2. Consider the 1st class SelectPass/SaverPass--5 days at $294pp--which allows travel in three connected countries (e.g., France, Germany, Switzerland)

Rick Steves is a good place to order passes--and to find out about options. No added fees are charged for the passes ordered through his shop, and they send you a nifty video on rail travel in Europe, so it's a good deal: www.ricksteves.com/rail/choosemenu.htm

Good luck-Rail travel in Europe is wonderfully fun.
 
Feb 21st, 2002, 06:53 PM
  #8  
John
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Oops--that's Railsaver.com, not Railsavere--typing not my strength
 
Feb 22nd, 2002, 12:37 AM
  #9  
Linda
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Actually, I called about the Selectpass Saver myself and I was told that so long as you validate the pass before May 1 and use it by the end of June, you can take advantage of this promotion. I don't have DER's toll free number on hand, but you can look it up on their website www.der.com. Hope this helps.
 
Feb 22nd, 2002, 05:19 AM
  #10  
jahoulih
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Is it possible to validate the pass outside of Europe? I wasn't sure about this. If so, then that's definitely the best deal for Larry.
 
Feb 22nd, 2002, 11:17 AM
  #11  
Sue
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The $199 Select passes are pre-validated for a two-month period that starts no later than May 1. That means you could have your travel period start May 1, and actually use the pass during the month of May and June. You have to specify your first date of travel, but that doesn't matter--what matters is that you can't travel later than June 30. I think the $199 is a real bargain!

http://www.ricksteves.com/rail/select.htm
http://www.raileurope.com/us/rail/pa...pass_saver.htm
 

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