Notices

Train travel So Confussed

Reply

Oct 2nd, 2013, 08:28 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 13
Train travel So Confussed

For the life of me, I just can not seem to wrap my head around the best option for our up coming trip to Europe in May 2014.

I have looked at the SBB & the BAHN web site until I am blind. I have looked at the man in seat 69.
I am trying to determine what is more cost efficient, a pass of some sort, pre booked tickets or just getting the tickets as we go.

Would appreciate any & all input.

My husband & I are planing a 40th anniversary trip from May 13-30, 2014.
This is the itinery at this point:
Fly out from Canada May 13 & arrive in Zurich May 14.
Spend the rest of that day & next in Zurich.
May 16 train to Lauterbrunnen and spend 3 nights
May 19 train to Zermatt and spend 2 nights
May 21 train to Lausanne spend 2 nights
May 23 train to Basel for one night
May 24 train to Bacarach for 2 nights
May 26 train to Haarlem.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Ruth
theshopper is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 2nd, 2013, 09:20 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,911
Train travel So Confussed
Posted by: theshopper on Oct 2, 13 at 11:28am
For the life of me, I just can not seem to wrap my head around the best option for our up coming trip to Europe in May 2014.


For an illustrated introduction to the trains of Europe see http://tinyurl.com/eym5b. With that itinerary one of the flexible passes would probably be a good deal. Byron or Linda at http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/ are experienced and very helpful. They can give you sound advice on the phone.
spaarne is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 2nd, 2013, 10:57 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,643
I think you will have more train trips than that unless you are planning on just sitting all of those days. Aren't you going to be doing any train trips to other towns??? Are you going to be ascending any mountains - and will the train or cable car be partly paid for by any of the pases?

And you will have to get from Haarlem to some airport as well.
nytraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 2nd, 2013, 11:10 AM
  #4
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 13
Hi,
Yes, there will be other train trip taken from within, I would figure in and around Laurterbrunnen, to Montreaux.
Still in the planning stage as far as sights & so on.

Thanks
Ruth
theshopper is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 2nd, 2013, 11:17 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,289
Congrats on your upcoming anniversary. You have a two options for the Swiss travel. You can list your likely trips (and I agree with nytraveler that it isn't likely limited to the A to B trips you have listed), price them out and then do the math on which option better (half fare card, Swiss card, Swiss Pass, Flexi pass, etc.).

Or, if you can't be bothered, simply plan on the Half Fare card and know that you are in the ballpark for the "best" deal and be done with it. Best of all, you don't have to do anything about it until you get there -- 7 months worry free.

Note, that's a bit early for some of the mountains. Not all trains and trails will be open.

Not sure how relative, but our trip to Wengen this July is here:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...e-oberland.cfm
indy_dad is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 2nd, 2013, 11:19 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,289
Sorry, should read:

You have two options . . .

And, not sure how relevant . . .
indy_dad is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 2nd, 2013, 12:26 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,497
If you need precise figures, there is not way out of doing massive computations. This involves pricing out all the train routes, all the extras covered by passes such as boat, high altitude transport discounts, museum entry, local city transits covered by some passes. No one will likely to do such massive computations for you.
For the Germany portion, you will likely to be using ICE trains, in which case advance discount tickets via www.bahn.com is likely to give you substantial discounts if BacHarach is your only destination. However, if you are traveling around Bacharach, there are other options. However, you have not stated what other places you are visiting in Germany.
greg is online now  
Reply With Quote
Oct 2nd, 2013, 12:53 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,595
with that many longer train rides in an 8-day period I think the 6-consecutive-day Swiss Saver Pass would be the best for you - just hop any train anytime - fully valid to Lauterbrunnen and Zermatt and all other cities - covers buses, trams, etc in cities and gives free entry to 400+ Swiss museums and sites.

For the German trains go to www.bahn.de/en - the official German Railways web site and look for discounted tickets which are sold in limited numbers and often sell out weeks early and cannot be changed not refunded, being train specific but can save a lot over full fare - to Haarlem you go thru Amsterdam so just book Bacharach-Amsterdam - Amsterdam to Haarlem is just a few euro ticket you can buy once in Amsterdam.

Swiss Passes are fully valid on lake boats that to me are a real treat in places like Interlaken, Lausanne and Zurich.

Great sites for learning a lot about Swiss trains and passes, etc - www.swisstravelsystem.com; http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/id3.html; www.seat61.com and www.ricksteves.com.
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 2nd, 2013, 01:49 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,595
a Swiss Pass can be very useful for staying in Lauterbrunnen as it covers train fare in full to there from Interlaken-Ost and also passes are fully valid on the pricey aerial cable cars to Murren, including the tiny train from Grutschalp to Murren and also back down from Gimmelwald to Stechelberg - that thrilling dabe fully covered as is the postal bus back to Lauterbrunnen - do that loop, my favorite in all the area - including with it the long aerial cable ways to The Schilthorn (50 % off with pass from Murren to Schilthorn/Piz Gloria - the famous revolving restaurant seen in the James Bond flic On Her Majesty's Service.

And everytime you go down from Lauterbrunnen to Interlaken fully covered or up to Wengen (above Wengen however only 25% to the Jungfraujoch.
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 2nd, 2013, 04:03 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,595
Or, if you can't be bothered, simply plan on the Half Fare card and know that you are in the ballpark for the "best" deal and be done with it.>

I disagree that it would be the 'best deal' - far from it - the Swiss Card offers everything the Half-Fare Card does plus two train trips from any airport or border station to any place in Switzerland and then back to any border station (like Basel SBB) - and several here have pointed out that it turned out to be a tad cheaper - maybe not for the OP and for all those previsioned travels the 8-consecutive-day pass IMO would be the best deal and as well carte blanche to take any train, bus, tram, etc - if the weather in the Alps turns funky relocated or day trip to cities like Bern that are nicer in wet weather than the Alps.

If the Half-Fare or Swiss Card even approach the cost of a pass go for the pass - I always end up using mine more than I thought - like on a nice afternoon in Interlaken area just hopping a lake boat for a float with the awesome Jungfrau Massif framing the picture high above the lake..

And with the Swiss Card no at times annoying waits in longish lines at ticket windows.
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 2nd, 2013, 10:23 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,268
PalQ, look at the OP's itinerary. The first trip from the border is from the airport into Zürich, and the last trip is from Basel to the border. That hardly makes the Swiss Card worthwhile.

For theshopper -- I used to do the math for every trip. I would get the price for every single train ride, then use a spreadsheet to look at all the options and combinations to get the best deal. Every time I did the math, the Half Fare Card always was the most economical deal. These days, I skip the math and get the HFC.

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Reply With Quote
Oct 3rd, 2013, 03:32 AM
  #12
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 4,905
Standard fares:
ZRH - Lucerne: 28 CHF
Rigi round trip: 54 CHF
Lucerne - Wengen: 45 CHF
Wengen - Grindelwald round trip: 15 CHF
Wengen - Golden Pass - Montreux: 65 CHF
Lake Geneva cruise: 64 CHF
Montreux - Zermatt: 70 CHF
Zermatt - Basel Bad Bf 115 CHF
Total: 456 CHF, completely free with Swiss Pass

with Swiss Half Fare Card: 228 CHF plus 120 CHF = 348 CHF

Swiss Saver Pass for 8 days: 334 CHF
neckervd is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 3rd, 2013, 03:36 AM
  #13
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 4,905
Wengen - Grindelwald round trip: 31 CHF instead of 15 CHF, sorry!

That gives:
Total: 472 CHF, completely free with Swiss Pass

with Swiss Half Fare Card: 236 CHF plus 120 CHF = 356 CHF

Swiss Saver Pass for 8 days: 334 CHF
neckervd is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 3rd, 2013, 05:06 AM
  #14
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,595
These days, I skip the math and get the HFC.>

and you would as shown above being getting less for more - in this case a Swiss Pass is a no brainer.
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 3rd, 2013, 05:34 AM
  #15
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,268
PalQ. That's not my trip. I never travel that much in so little time. I prefer using bikes and feet to explore areas. I guarantee I have NEVER spent more for travel than I needed to.

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Reply With Quote
Oct 3rd, 2013, 06:41 AM
  #16
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 413
The inclusion of the lake cruises in the Swiss Pass is an important point, as they are a delightful way to see a lot of beautiful scenery at a relaxing pace. It's also nice to be able to hop on a train without having to buy individual tickets (though do check for the trips that require a seat reservation and paying an additional fee.)

Rick Steves has a rail map that lists the fares between many cities to help compare the cost to buying a pass.

I hope you enjoy riding th trains in Switzerland as much as we did!
drchris is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 3rd, 2013, 09:29 AM
  #17
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,595
PalQ. That's not my trip. I never travel that much in so little time. I prefer using bikes and feet to explore areas. I guarantee I have NEVER spent more for travel than I needed to.>

sorry I misread and thought you were telling the OP not to bother doing the math that the Half-Fare Card is always best - it is for you because you go to one place and don't travel around Switzerland but many first-timers do want to travel around to various parts and thus the Swiss Pass can often be a better deal.

And you may even find sometimes the Swiss Card better than the Half-Fare Card - say you land in Geneva and go to the Berner Oberland and back - like Wengen - then the Swiss Card would be cheaper and give the exact same benefits as the Half-Fare Card but two train trips coming and going.

anytime the Half-Fare Card is mentioned it should also be mentioned that the Swiss Card may be a better bet for some.
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 3rd, 2013, 10:23 AM
  #18
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 3,105
"man in seat 69"

Hmmm, is it really train schedules that are making you go blind? ;-)
WeisserTee is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 3rd, 2013, 10:25 AM
  #19
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 3,105
"man in seat 69"

Hmmm, is it really train schedules that are making you go blind? ;-)
WeisserTee is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 3rd, 2013, 11:10 AM
  #20
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 30,445
IMO you could easily buy ALL of the Swiss segments at the Swiss Rail site 30 days ahead and save money. You could buy the German ones up to what, 60 days ahead????, and save money. Both strategies would save you some money I suspect as opposed to buying them on the days.

Everybody here is talking about above Lauterbrunnen and on and on and on. It would be helpful to know how much "above Lauterbrunnen" travel you are going to actually DO.

Remember that the MORE you use a pass, ANY pass, the more economical it gets.

You might try going to the sbb.ch/en site now and putting ion a dummy date and look at what second class tickets from Lausanne to Basel (which, geographically, is about your longest segment WITHIN Switzerland) to see what that costs:

Right NOW if you purchased those tickets for a date in DECEMBER of this year the prices start at 31 CHF...and those passes are gonna cost you HOW MUCH?????
Dukey1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:00 AM.