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Trains in Germany

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Sep 19th, 2012, 08:58 AM
  #1
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Trains in Germany

Is it cheaper to buy train tickets online, or at a ticket window?
Tami_Nadeau is offline  
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Sep 19th, 2012, 09:45 AM
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It depends on the ticket but usually in advance either at the ticket window or on line. I don't think it matters as long as the travel date is far enough out from the purchase date to allow for discounts.
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Sep 19th, 2012, 10:06 AM
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Hi Tami_Nadeau,

If you want to travel within one region in Germany, for instance, Bavaria, then you only need to buy the Bavaria Ticket. A ticket like the Bavaria Ticket is good all day within the region, and you can buy it on the spot, with no advantages for purchasing in advance.

However, if you want to go long-distance, then it's better to buy in advance. The discounted fares go on sale 92 days early, and they offer significant savings. So for these, it's better to buy online in advance.

Have fun!

s
swandav2000 is offline  
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Sep 19th, 2012, 10:35 AM
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Make sure that if you do buy any sort of regional ticket that you understand any use restrictions such as during certain times of the day, only on certain types of train, etc.
Dukey1 is online now  
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Sep 19th, 2012, 11:22 AM
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You can save by booking online 92 days in advance, if you prefer to travel the ICE trains or, as mentioned above, if you are traveling long distances. These are not covered by the Bavaria ticket.
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Sep 19th, 2012, 11:41 AM
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It is cheaper to buy online at www.bahn.de if you are certain of your exact train you want to take as discounted tickets I believe are non-changeable nor refundable and are sold in limited numbers so must be booked in stone weeks in advance to guarantee. (Talking about inter-city train fares not Regional Passes which are a set price and can be bought on the day of travel at any train station or from automatic ticketing machines in stations.

And if you are taking more than say two longer train rides then by all means investigate the Germany Railpass which lets you just hop on practically any train anytime - full fare tickets like that can cost a ton - so it depends also on whether or not you wish flexibility to decide which trains to take once there or not and also how many train trips you take as the more days on a pass the cheaper per day they become with extra days beyond the minimum being perhaps 15 euros a day for unlimited train travel, including S-Bahns in cities like Berlin and Munich where they are very useful.

First-class passes are especially a good deal compared to first class fares IME - and the benefits for the average traveler for first class IME are significant - specially if hauling luggage around - IME always empty seats in first class to spread out on - 2nd class can always be SRO or have empty seats too - you just never know. Seats in first class are bigger and there is more room to stow luggage.

For loads of great stuff on German trains check out these Wunderbar IMO sites - http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/id9.html; www.seat61.com and www.ricksteves.com.
PalenQ is offline  
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Sep 19th, 2012, 12:58 PM
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Two people have said that it's cheaper to buy on line. Is it true that you can't you buy an advanced, discounted ticket at the station in Germany? I find that strange.
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Sep 19th, 2012, 02:28 PM
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You can buy those discounted tickets at the station but only well in advance, not on the day of travel. In theory they are available until 3 days prior to your travel date, in practice their number is so limited that they are usually gone for good much earlier, on busy routes and/or during peak travel times often within hours after they went on sale 92 days in advance.

The price for standard fare tickets and the day passes for regional trains stay the same, no matter when you buy them.
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Sep 19th, 2012, 03:21 PM
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Thanks quokka - I understand that there are limited reduced fare tickets but the original question was about buying on line or at the ticket window, not about when to buy the tickets. I thought it was unusual that people claimed that it's cheaper on line when the tickets are the same price at the window/station.
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Sep 19th, 2012, 04:19 PM
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Though not answering the OPs question for the benefit of others who may be listening if say taking five separate train trips - intercity trips then the Germany Railpass for 5 days of unlimited travel out of a 1-month period would cost only $42/day per person on a Twin Pass or about 32 euros p.p. - for totally flexible hop on hop off travel. A 4-day pass is about $50/day or about 39 euros a day - so those pondering inter-city travel and traveling 4 days or more will find the German railpass perhaps a better deal than even online (or at station) discounts which may only be as low as 39 euros sometimes if the 29 euro ones are booked - full flexibility at online discount prices - but if taking more than one or two trains an hour or so more between say Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, etc.
PalenQ is offline  
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Sep 20th, 2012, 01:10 PM
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not about when to buy the tickets. I thought it was unusual that people claimed that it's cheaper on line when the tickets are the same price at the window/station.>

Well of course most folks here are not in Germany to be able to go to a station to buy the limited in number online discounts which often sell out early - so for most folks going to the station is a moot issue.
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Sep 20th, 2012, 02:51 PM
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and about regular seats on overnight trains that with a pass you would not have to pay anything extra to sit in, all night - in an upright position with folks coming and going - conductors checking tickets and possible theft problems as access to these cars is uncontrolled whereas in Couchette and Sleeping Cars (the latter offering singles, double and triples - private compartments mainly - couchettes either 4 or 6 people in each one in either two or three bunks on each side of an aisle) - so I would never ever recommend sleeping in a regular train car - not only may you not get much sleep but you may be robbed as well IME.
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Sep 22nd, 2012, 09:18 AM
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anyway most overnight trains now label themselves hotel trains and simply do not offer regular seats anymore - reclining seats are also not on all so a couchette may be the only option from the low end of the scale.
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