train vs auto

Old Sep 29th, 2012, 06:43 AM
  #1  
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train vs auto

We are still trying to wrap up our Xmas market trip to Germany. Originally I was going to rent a car when departing Berlin and then visit Dresden, Bamberg, Nurnberg Rothenburg, Wurzburg, Munich and then south . I know that we want the car when going south of Munich but am thinking again about the other cities. There are 3 of us and it seems that train travel is possibly more than the car and certainly doesn't allow as much flexibility. For example, I was told that a train trip from Berlin to Wittenberg would be $64 round trip. That would be close to $190. for the 3 of us and certainly we could drive and park cheaper than that. But in favor of the train we wouldn't have to hassel parking or driving into the towns. We have driven in Europe many times and generally do okay. If we were to travel by train how do I get the best rate. What are your thoughts on 3 travelers renting a car vs. train.
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Old Sep 29th, 2012, 06:47 AM
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Best rates in Germany are to use the local Länder tickets if your travel is within one Federal state.

Otherwise, for longer train journeys, book as far in advance as you can to get the Sparpreis tickets.

All details are on the www.bahn.com website, though you may need to do some digging to get details in English of some of the local tickets.

If you're just going city to city, then don't bother renting a car. Petrol is expensive, and so can parking be. And if you use park-and-rides your will be adding on extra time to your journey as well.
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Old Sep 29th, 2012, 07:38 AM
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Hi tidy,

Berlin to Wittenberg is 19 Euro each way when you buy the tickets in advance, so 38 Euro round trip.

Don't forget that driving also adds to air pollution; using the trains as much as you can will keep the area more beautiful. One can take a road trip just about anywhere, but using a great rail system is a bit of an adventure and may add a bit more "European-ness" to the trip.

s
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Old Sep 29th, 2012, 08:17 AM
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ARe the local Lander tickets available on the bahn site and if not, where do I find them. I have looked at the Bahn site and so far I have bee =n able to navigate. How do I decide if a pass of some sort is best?
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Old Sep 29th, 2012, 08:35 AM
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Hi again,

Here's the information on the Länder tickets:

http://www.bahn.de/i/view/DEU/en/pri...r-ticket.shtml

When you want to use them, you just buy them from a machine on the day you want to travel.

s
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Old Sep 29th, 2012, 08:38 AM
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doesn't allow as much flexibility. For example, I was told that a train trip from Berlin to Wittenberg would be $64 round trip. That would be close to $190. for the 3 of us>

but with several such train trips the Germany Railpass would be much much cheaper per trip than that and you can just show up at any station and hop any train anytime - full flexibility and the more days you buy the cheaper per day the pass is - at some point extra days being only about 15 euros a day for fully flexible train travel also good on K-D boats on the rhine)

for lots of great info on German trains and passes I always spotlight these IMO Wunderbar sites - http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/id9.html; www.seat61.com and www.ricksteves.com.
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Old Sep 29th, 2012, 08:46 AM
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Great advice so far.

I agree you should use the trains especially since you are only using the car for point to point transportation and "wandering" doesn't seem to be a part of your itinearary.

A car isn't needed in any of the cities you mention. Parking is a pain and can be expensive.
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Old Sep 29th, 2012, 10:04 AM
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I guess the only wandering I would have liked to have done would be the small towns south of Dresden (Saxon) but realistically I do not think there will be time; so, Wanderfrau is correct. Does a say 3 day railpass need to be 3 consecutive days or just 3 days of use?
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Old Sep 29th, 2012, 10:14 AM
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Tidy, they have both, and if you're going with 3 people get the saver pass. We used the saver pass for Switzerland this summer with me, my husband, and my mom, and even if one of us decided not to take the train one day, we could still use the pass for two of the three.
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Old Sep 29th, 2012, 10:17 AM
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Train's probably better too if it's snowing. I've driven on smaller roads in Europe after a snowfall and it's more of an adventure than I wanted! On the other hand, on the autoroute or autobahn driving isn't bad.
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Old Sep 29th, 2012, 10:51 AM
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Many of the towns in Saxon can also be reached by train.
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Old Sep 29th, 2012, 11:40 AM
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I am pretty certain we will do the train now. I may change my itinerary a bit to better accomodate.Thanks for all of your help.
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Old Sep 30th, 2012, 02:49 PM
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The train connections and track conditions vary across germany. There are high-speed-routes and really slow tracks. Also, many destinations require you to change trains.
I don't know about the rail pass, since it is only available for foreigners, but if you bought your tickets one after one for local german conditions, I'd rather go for the car, to be honest.
But the rail pass conditions could make this look different.
The länder-tickets are cheap and are a great offer, yet you are limited to regional trains - slow connection, many train changes/transfers, no reservations possible.
Berlin-Dresden: good connection, a bit tedious on regional trains.
Dresden-Bamberg: at least one transfer, not so good.
Dresden-Nuremberg: quite good connection using the direct trains
Bamberg-Nurnberg: good connection, also with regional trains
Nuremberg-Rothenburg: at least one transfer, not so good a connection
Rothenburg-Wurzburg: quite ok connection, one transfer
Nuremberg-Munich: very good connection on all trains.
Würzburg-Munich/Nuremberg: very good connection on all trains.
Bamberg-Würzburg: good connection on regional trains
Rothenburg-Munich, one transfer in the beginning, then fine.
Railwise, I'd go Berlin-Dresden-Nuremberg-Bamberg-Würzburg-Rothenburg-München.
Dresden is a bit the odd one out in this trip, geographically, since it is far in the east and all the other places are in northern or southern bavaria. Also, the connections within bavaria are all doable with the cheap länder-tickets.
Remember that when you travel in two länder (=states), you need two länder-tickets, one for each land/state, which makes it more expensive. (as in Berlin-Dresden and Dresden-Nürnberg).
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Old Oct 1st, 2012, 08:39 AM
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If taking say six trips on trains on separate days then you can see how the German Railpass could be the cheapest and best option - especially if going on fairly long intercity trains - a 6-day flexipass (Twin p.p.) costs in 2nd class $234 or about $40/day or about 30 euros a day - for hop on any train anytime travel - as cheap as the 29 euro lowest discount. A full fairly fully flexible ticket normally say Frankfurt to Berlin would probably cost in itself about $100-130 - so the more days of travel on trains the better deal the pass becomes.

A Twin pass is for two folks traveling on one pass - about 20% cheaper than having two solo passes.
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Old Oct 1st, 2012, 04:32 PM
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I would choose the train if it was my trip. All those places are well served by the train and this is winter time - inclement weather could really put a damper on the trip if you are driving. On the train, no problem.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2012, 06:58 AM
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Car!

More flexibility and easier to lug your purchases.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2012, 08:59 AM
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. On the train, no problem.>

Not quite true IME - a few winters back I found about half the trains were in Dusseldodrf area were running very late because of snow and many were cancelled - I was heading to Amsterdam and we had to take a bus to get to Arnhem as snow closed the railway there.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2012, 05:12 PM
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Ok, less liklihood of having a problem.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2012, 08:38 AM
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ah agreed that train travel in winter is a surer bet for a carefree trip than auto - winters are rarely very cold in much of Germany and snow is relatively rare but there can be icy roads, etc.
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