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Train tickets - point to point or Eurail Pass?

Train tickets - point to point or Eurail Pass?

Old Aug 17th, 2004, 11:27 AM
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k8b
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Train tickets - point to point or Eurail Pass?

I'll be traveling from Rome to Florence to Venice and back to Rome in a couple weeks. The point to point fares with the $19 reservation charge are a few dollars cheaper than a 4 day Eurail Pass. Is there an advantage to the Eurail Pass?
Is it better to book and pay for train reservations before I go to Italy? If I decide on the travel day what time I'm travelling will I have difficulty getting on that train? It's still high season, I know. How crowded are the trains?
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 11:33 AM
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Others may not share my opinion, but if the price is almost the same I would go with the pass. It's just easier to not have to worry about purchasing the tickets at the station. When you have your pass, its so nice to just hop on the trains. Do be careful though; even with a pass some trains require a reservation, including some of the fast trains (such as the Eurostar Italia) in Italy.
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 11:35 AM
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Why do people buy train tickets for Italy in the States before they arrive? Are there benefits that I am not aware of? Doesn't it cost more? Or is it better? More convenient? Why not buy them at the stations in Italy when you arrive? Really I don't understand and am curious.

I usually buy my tickets the day of right before I am getting on the train, or the day before during peak travel times.
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 11:35 AM
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I'll also add that the passes are first class, which generally aren't as full as second class so you may have an easier time getting a seat. Still, if you know what train you want, a reservation would be safer.
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 11:54 AM
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Hi k8b - I did a lot of research for similar train travel as I too will be travelling the same route as you in a couple weeks. Do NOT go for the pass, it is far more expensive and serves no purpose unless you are travelling between a few different countries (and the point to point prices add up to be more than the cost of the pass). The pas is meant for tourists who are too lazy (or just don't know) to do the research to buy point to point tickets. If you already have added up the prices of the point to point versus the pass, you will see that the pass is a LOT more money.

I would advise (as we are doing) to buy the train tickets once you reach Italy (unless you need to travel by train the 1st day you land), since the prices within Italy are a lot cheaper than buying online from the US. Also, if you take the EuroStar between your destimations (which you should since they are faster, more reliable, and more comfortable than the intercity trains), then reservations are included in the price of the ticket. From what I have read, the differnece between 1st and 2nd class on the EuroStar is not the big. So, worse case scenario, if the 2nd class is booked anyway, you can ALWAYS get a seat on 1st class. Not to mention, the trains leave VERY VERY frequently on the routes you mentioned.

So, unless you NEED to have the security of knowing that you have the tickets in your hands, I would wait until you get to Italy to make the ticket purchases.
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 11:55 AM
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It appears that you can now buy "ticketless" train tickets electronically on the Trenitalia web site in English. You can then avoid the service charge and still have the ticktets in advance! I have not tried this yet, but plan to soon for my September trip.
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 12:02 PM
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Curious: comparing prices from raileurope.com? or from Trenitalia? or from railsaver.com? I'd urge a comparison on railsaver - - and if there are two or more travelers, that might be relevant, as discounts are available for both passes or point-to-point tickets.

Others will cite the advantage of not having to wait in line to buy tickets. Can't speak to that. Never saw it as advantageous, to the point of buying a rail pass for train travel in Italy.

Best wishes,

Rex
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 12:14 PM
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Dear k8,

I am afraid that you have been misinformed:

A 4 day railpass for Italy is $239 1cl or 191 2cl. Reservations add $57.

The charge for your trip is $182 1cl or 120 2cl from www.trenitalia.com

You can book your seats online at www.trenitalia.com/en.

Use the ticketless option.

Bring your confirmation and the same credit card with you.

Your confirmation will be your ticket.
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 12:15 PM
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We purchased rail passes and I don't consider myself a "lazy tourist". We did the math on rail saver and the price was better. We were doing a lot of train travel over multiple countries. There are times when the passes save money over the cost of point-to-point, but always do the math first. The poster mentioned the price was almost the same. We've done it both ways and I thought that the pass was a little easier as it allowed us to bypass the lines for tickets (some of them were fairly long), but that's just me I guess.
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 12:30 PM
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A four-day in two month Italian Flexipass costs $203 per person if you have two people using one pass - a Saverpass. This is for the base 4-day pass, the more days you add on the cheaper the pass is - extra days are just $20 per day per person. (4-day Italian pass in second class is $163 per person on a saver.) The $239 Ira quoted is for a single traveler. For my money 1st class in Italy is much more leisurely than 2nd class.
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 12:45 PM
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That post above from Hawaiinhoneymoon is just plain absurd. First of all, you've already expressed that the difference is minimal, so this poster is looney to tell you that the difference in price is "far more expensive." In fact, it is apparent that Hawaiihoneymoon didn't read the original post or he/she would have seen some of his statments countered. Secondly, some Eurail passes are for individual companies, somthing apparently this Hawaii person doesn't even know about. Passes are not for the lazy. Of course, anyone silly enough to buy a pass without doing a comparison is making a mistake, but often there is a big savings, and in this case while the savings may not be great, I'd certainly go for the convenience of the pass since it is only a few more dollars. Once you have it, you may end up doing a couple of other freebie trips with it, like going out to a nearby town from one of your destinations, even on the same day as travel if time allows it. Secondly, I've seen people miss trains because the lines at train stations were SO long and disorganized. You can avoid that with the pass. Of course, make sure you do make a reservation IF required for any of your trains.
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 01:02 PM
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UHHHH - PATRICK - it is not a matter of a FEW dollars. I DID READ the ORIGINAL POST - and the poster is wrong. It is not a difference of only a few dollars. Did you not read the post of IRA and REX? If you go to Raileurope.com, then yes it is only a difference of a few dollars because there is a HUGE markup. I NEVER said buy them from raleurope. I said BUY THEM FROM ITALY - where they are significantly LESS money. I went to Trenitalia and the costs of the individual tickets add up to approx. $180 versus paying $239 for the pass. So basically you are paying $60 for something you don't need or use. If that is something you enjoy doing, go right ahead. I was simply trying to tell K8B that there are OTHER ways to purchase tickets rather than the RAILEUROPE which is meant for US travelers. If you do a search on this website - you will find that MOST people use Trenitalia as well as SNCF to buy their tickets, rather than wasting their money on RAILEUROPE and RAIL PASSES.

It seems either you are comparing RAILEUOPE prices with the RAIL PASS or you don't care about saving $60. In either case, yes Rail Passes are for the lazy tourists. I ALSO SAID - IT SERVES NO PURPOSE UNLESS YOU ARE TRAVELLING WITHIN SEVERAL COUNTRIES!!!!!! In which case, it may be a better deal.

K8B - I think you need to do your own research on this forum as well as others before you believe ANY of us.
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 01:07 PM
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Rex....you mean I can buy train tickets for less than what they sell them for at the stations here in Italy??? It's only for if more than 1 person is traveling? Or am I reading you wrong?

Jeez....if there's a way to save some money traveling by train here, I would want to know more. (I'm a penny pincher now trying to survive on an Italian stipendo!)
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 01:31 PM
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It's impossible to argue with people who already know everything, but I have used a 6 day German Rail Pass which saved me a couple hundred dollars over the points to points on that trip -- yes I checked the actual prices, not the Rail Europe prices. I've also used a Benelux Pass for Netherlands and Belgium which saved me a bunch on my extensive train travel in those two countries. I've also used a France only rail pass and saved, mainly because I spent a month traveling ALL over the country. But of course, you are probably right. I was just being lazy and there is no way I could save money since I wasn't traveling between a number of countries. However, I'm glad I didn't know better, since I ended up with several hundred dollars in savings in each case.
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 01:34 PM
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Hi AZ,

> Rex....you mean I can buy train tickets for less than what they sell them for at the stations here in Italy??? <

If you are doing a lot of training and there are more than one of you and you reside outside the Euro zone, YES.
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 01:43 PM
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2 yes's and 1 no to those conditions Ira, unfortunately. Drats!
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 01:52 PM
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Patrick

I have been trying to exercise more care in broad sweeping assertions about the economics of rail passes than I did previously.

I still maintain that a rail pass is INfrequently the most economical option for train travel in Italy.
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 02:02 PM
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Sorry AZ,

It's meant to be a lure for tourists.
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 02:45 PM
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Hey, Rex, yes I've noticed that about your posts. And I'd pretty much agree with you on Italy. This summer despite a number of major train trips in Italy, I still couldn't make the idea of buying a pass work for me.

I was mainly referring to the poster who was making such definitive statements about something he clearly didn't understand.
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Old Aug 17th, 2004, 03:05 PM
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From my experience, you probably will save more than a few bucks purchasing point to point IF you're traveling ONLY in Italy. When in Rome, you can avoid some long ticket lines by using the automated machines (which work for any route in Italy).

However, if you are also traveling in other countries (like Switzerland, France and Austria), you definitely want to purchase an appropriate EuroPass for the works. You can then justify your "overpriced" pass train days in Italy since they will probably bump up your overall purchased-pass days (from, say, four or five to ten), which cost less per day as you buy more days.

Having said that, you STILL should purchase point-to-point 2nd-class tickets in Italy for trips less than two hours or so (viz, Assissi>Rome).

And: Make sure you have seat reservations in Italy for the EuroCity trains.
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