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Train tickets: Buy ahead or at the station?

Train tickets: Buy ahead or at the station?

Old Nov 9th, 2004, 08:28 PM
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Train tickets: Buy ahead or at the station?

We're going to Italy for our honeymoon, and have a fairly set schedule, i.e., we know where we want to stay when. Is it more difficult, more expensive, etc. just to buy train tickets from the ticket counter at the station, rather than getting them ahead of time? I was just wondering if we should go ahead and get tickets while we're planning everything else. but if it's more or less the same, I'd like to leave that little bit of room for freedom and improvisation. thanks
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Old Nov 9th, 2004, 08:49 PM
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I don't have any personal experience, but I've asked the same question here, and the consensus was that it's more or less the same; sometimes actually cheaper
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Old Nov 10th, 2004, 01:38 AM
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If you are considering getting tickets ahead of thime through an agency such as RailEurope or RailSaver, etc., it will be more expensive to do so because those agencies add on shipping and handling fees if nothing else. Seat reservations (if you are making those)are even more expensive due to the mark-up AND the shipping fees.

I am not sure it would be any more expensive if you ordered tickets ON-LINE through the particular railroad's website, however. Sometimes you can get special reduced fares if you order tickets on-line. Other than that, the cheapest way would be to buy at the railroad station or possibly through a local travel agent once you arrive in-country.
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Old Nov 10th, 2004, 02:19 AM
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It depends which journeys you're making. For short journeys like Venezia-Bologna, there are plenty of trains and there is no need to book in advance. For a long journey, there may only be a few direct trains and advance booking may be needed if you're travelling at a busy time. Standard Italian train tickets are valid two months from the date of purchase, so you can buy tickets at the start of your holiday. If you specify your itinerary, I'm sure somebody can suggest the best way to buy tickets.
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Old Nov 10th, 2004, 07:15 AM
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You can buy tickets online at trenitalia.com for the same price as at the station. I was in Italy last month, and bought all my tickets at the station on the day of travel. I used the ticket machines in the terminal, and they were a breeze to use. I selected class, seats, everything. I would recommend 1st class over 2nd class, as there is significantly (in my opinion) more room! My sister and I enjoyed the reclining seats on the long trip from Venice to Rome
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Old Nov 10th, 2004, 07:25 AM
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Hi bs,

You can purchase on line up to 60 days in advance at www.trenitalia.com/en for the same price as in Italy.

Use the ticketless option.

If you are going on an ES*, where all seats are reserved, your confirmation is your ticket.

If you are going on an IC, where the ticket is good on any train, you will have to get your ticket at the station. Bring your confirmation and the same credit card with you.

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Old Nov 10th, 2004, 07:45 AM
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Just get all your tickets at once when you get to Italy - such as at the airport train station. Trains are so dirt cheap in Italy that any advance purchase discounted tickets, which come with restrictions, would save only a few bucks at most. You can make reservations in Italy for a few euros so make your reservations all at once and if you don't use them you're only out a few bucks.
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Old Nov 10th, 2004, 08:10 AM
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I don't mean to hijack this thread, but I have been looking at the Trenitalia website and I do not understand the prices. I think I am just ignorant of how the Euros are stated.

So can anyone tell me what it means when I see 32,44. Does that mean like in the US $32.44 or does that mean one way 32 and round trip 44.

I hate to show my ignorance the first time posting, but I can't help it.
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Old Nov 10th, 2004, 08:11 AM
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I didn't check the website, so I'm just guessing.

Europeans typically use commas in place of decimal points. So 32,44 = 32.44.
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Old Nov 10th, 2004, 08:16 AM
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Thank you, that is what I thought. The person I will be traveling with however thought it was one way and round trip.

Thanks again.
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Old Nov 10th, 2004, 08:19 AM
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In Italy and in most European countries, train ticket prices are calculated from the distance in kilometres, so a round-trip fare will will be exactly twice the one-way fare.
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Old Nov 10th, 2004, 09:35 AM
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I was in Italy last month -- we had a pretty set schedule, too, but waited to buy all tickets until we got there. I printed out schedules ahead of time, and then we just figured out which trains we wanted to take the day before we were leaving a city. You buy tickets at the machine kiosks in the trian stations.

The prices are cheap -- and you either pay with Euros or with your credit card. Very easy.

For many routes, there are several trains. You can play with the schedules on the machines. For example, we saved nearly 15E a person by taking a slightly slower train from Venice to Milan (maybe 30 minutes longer).
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Old Nov 10th, 2004, 10:38 AM
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I found that buying at the station was no problem at all. Perhaps the only difference was reserved seating on some longer journeys (mine was from Bolzano to Venice and later from Venice to Florence.) I did not find a large enough comfort difference really..so no big deal one way or the other.
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