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Transportation Decision - Prague to Krakow, Krakow to Budapest

Transportation Decision - Prague to Krakow, Krakow to Budapest

Old Apr 20th, 2007, 07:16 AM
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Transportation Decision - Prague to Krakow, Krakow to Budapest

Heading to Prague-Krakow-Budapest for the first time, this May. 2 Week Trip - Getting Very Excited! I read everyone’s questions and recommendations and studied flight & train schedules regarding transportation from Prague to Krakow and then, from Krakow to Budapest, and finally made a decision. I thought I’d share the info, in case it might help someone else working thru the same options. Open to comments & questions. Hope this helps someone.


Prague to Krakow
First, I ruled out the night train – tried it once in Germany and didn’t sleep at all.

Next, considered Czech Air direct flight 12:35P – 1:55P, short travel time, ridiculous price for a one way ticket, would have had to buy a RT ticket and toss the second leg – finally ruled it out because taxes and fees pushed the ticket price from $224 base fare to $307 per person.

Next, seriously considered LOT Polish Air flight with 1-stop in Warsaw 9:55A – 2:55P – great one way price approx $153 each – finally ruled it out because we didn’t want to deal with the luggage limit (1 checked – 44lb, 1 carryon- only 13 lb) and the plane change in Warsaw.

That left us with two Train options – One leaves Prague at 8:07A, makes 2 train changes, arrives Krakow at 4:20P. The other leaves Prague at 10:07A, makes 1 train change in Katowicz, arrives Krakow at 5:48P. We chose the second one – I know it means we’ll have to devote a full day to travel – but it will allow us plenty of time to get to the station in the morning and we’ll only have to deal with 1 train change.

Finally, I started trying to figure out the price and how-where to purchase tickets. I wanted to buy tickets and reservations ahead of time – even if it cost a little more – because I didn’t want to spend any of our vacation time in Prague working out transportation options. I was fairly confused, even with everything that had been posted – and finally decided to follow advice posted by a number of Fodorites (thanks if you happen to read this) - to contact Budget Europe Travel Service (BETS) – www.budgeteuropetravel.com . I called them at 1-800-441-2387 and had a long conversation with Byron. As posted by others, he was extremely patient and answered all of my questions. I went ahead and purchased tickets and seat reservations through BETS. They sent them via Insured US Mail – Signature Required. The mail was a bit slow due to tax season – took almost 10 days, but they arrived yesterday. Everything is in order – and I’m very pleased with their service.

Here’s the per ticket details (Price was similar to RailEurope, but came with a lot more personal service) :
- Prague to Katowicz – 1st Class Open Ticket – $89 US each
- Prague to Katowicz – 1st Class NonSmoker Seat Reservations – One window, one middle - $11 US each
- Katowicz to Krakow – 1st Class Open Ticket – $18 US each. No seat reservations for this train. We had the option of buying a 2nd class ticket for this leg, for less, but went with first class because we’ll be traveling to Krakow on a Friday, during rush hour, and thought it might give us a better chance of getting seats. If we miss our connection, we can use this ticket on any train from Katowicz to Krakow. Byron sent me a print of the train schedule for that route – looks like there are plenty of options.

So the total was $118 x 2, plus a $15 processing fee – Total $251. BETS does not charge for shipping if the order is over $250. I made it by $1.

Krakow to Budapest
Actually made this decision first – several months ago. The train connections looked awful for this part of the trip, so I followed the advice in Mary_Fran’s trip report (thanks if you happen to read this) and booked Malev Air Flight 847 – 4:05PM – 4:55PM (luggage limit is a little better than LOT: 1 checked – 44lb, 1 carryon- 22 lb). Like several others, I was frustrated by the fact that you can’t buy these tickets online for delivery to the US, and can’t get even get a price online for delivery to the US. I was having trouble finding time to call Malev and finally dropped the ball and had a travel agent take care of it for me. The travel agent made the reservation and was able to print hardcopy tickets. The one-way tickets were $187.90 each, including taxes and fees (prior to the travel agent fee). We don’t have seat assignments. I assume they’ll be assigned at the gate - if anyone knows if this is standard practice on Malev for flights within Europe – let me know.



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Old Apr 20th, 2007, 12:52 PM
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Just in case you didn't buy your tickets yet, it *is* convenient to work with a US based supplier and have everything ready before you leave...but...

if you buy your tickets locally the fares are significantly cheaper. If you buy in Czech republic, for example, the First class ticket Prague Budapest = 43€ and the Krakow Budapest = 77€. At current exchange rates that makes it about 40% cheaper to buy locally. If you buy a 2nd class ticket prague - budapest the price is 28€.

These prices can be had from local international travel agencies such as wasteels or cedok (www.cedok.com) and you can do everything by email.
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Old Apr 20th, 2007, 12:53 PM
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Just in case you didn't buy your tickets yet, although it *is* convenient to work with a US based supplier and have everything ready before you leave, it is much cheaper to do it differently...

if you buy your tickets locally the fares are significantly cheaper. If you buy in Czech republic, for example, the First class ticket Prague Krakox = 43€ and the Krakow Budapest = 77€. At current exchange rates that makes it about 40% cheaper to buy locally. If you buy a 2nd class ticket prague - Krakow the price is 28€.

These prices can be had from local international travel agencies such as wasteels or cedok (www.cedok.com) and you can do everything by email.

By the way, raileurope is good for eurail passes, but for the purchase of single tickets they are about the most expensive option.
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Old Apr 20th, 2007, 01:02 PM
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Recently I did the following with Czech Airlines:

KRK-PRG-BUD-prg-WAW.

Total ~$300. Worth every penny.....

When you consider drinks/food on the trains plus the train fare, it's a bargain to fly.
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Old Apr 21st, 2007, 07:00 AM
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Thanks for the info - I know everything is cheaper if you make arrangements once you're there...maybe someday, when we're retired, we'll be able to travel on an open-ended schedule and give it a try - but for now, we have 2 weeks and have to be in specific cities on specific days, so we prefer to pay more and have all of the tickets/reservations made ahead of time.

AA - I tried pricing an open jaw type ticket on Czech Air for PRG-KRK-BUD, but couldn't get close to your price - maybe because it's May or maybe because I wasn't going to begin & end in the same country. Glad it worked for you.
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Old Apr 21st, 2007, 07:37 AM
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I don't know the dates you need but out of curiosity I did the following on www.expedia.com:

Prague (PRG)
Depart 10:00 am
Terminal N1 to Warsaw (WAW)
Arrive 11:35 am
Terminal 1
324 mi
(521 km)
Duration: 1hr 35mn
LO LOT-Polish Airlines
Flight: 524
Operated by: EUROLOT SA
3Economy/Coach Class, Breakfast, ATR 72
Please check in with EUROLOT SA. If checking in at a kiosk, use your name rather than confirmation number.
Warsaw (WAW)
Depart 2:05 pm
Terminal D to Krakow (KRK)
Arrive 2:55 pm
Terminal D
153 mi
(246 km)
Duration: 0hr 50mn
LO LOT-Polish Airlines
Flight: 3913
3Economy/Coach Class, Snack, EMB-145
Total distance: 477 mi (768 km)
Total duration: 2hr 25mn (4hr 55mn with connections)
flight Tue 29-May-07
Krakow (KRK)
Depart 6:00 am
Terminal D to Warsaw (WAW)
Arrive 6:45 am
Terminal D
153 mi
(246 km)
Duration: 0hr 45mn
LO LOT-Polish Airlines
Flight: 3910
3Economy/Coach Class, Snack, EMB-145
Warsaw (WAW)
Depart 7:40 am
Terminal 1 to Budapest (BUD)
Arrive 8:55 am
Terminal 2B
336 mi
(541 km)
Duration: 1hr 15mn
LO LOT-Polish Airlines
Flight: 533
3Economy/Coach Class, Breakfast, EMB-145
Total distance: 489 mi (787 km)
Total duration: 2hr 0mn (2hr 55mn with connections)

and the total fare was: $280.85

No biggie, but I would still prefer not wasting entire day(s) on trains.

Have a great trip!
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Old Apr 21st, 2007, 10:50 AM
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bookmarking
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Old Apr 22nd, 2007, 12:16 PM
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AA - Thanks again. We're just wasting the one day...from Prague to Krakow...and we'll take along a bottle of wine and picnic lunch to make it more fun. Our flight on Malev from Krakow to Budapest is less than an hour. By the way, if you check back, I really enjoyed your trip report - we're staying at the Budapest Hilton too - and have already been upgraded to an exec plus room - should be great(and based on your experience, if we need laundry done, I guess we'll let the Hilton take care of it).
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Old Jun 18th, 2007, 11:12 AM
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I read this thread with interest. I'm trying to find a way to take a side trip from Prague to Krakow without spending a day on the train, so the LOT flight looks like a possibility. Has anyone considered renting a car and driving to Krakow, perhaps stopping at Brno or Olomuoc for a night? Is the driving in Czech way slow?
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Old Jun 18th, 2007, 05:27 PM
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Hi volare - Just want to make sure you noticed that the LOT air flights involve a change in Warsaw. I think the person who posted the times posted Prague-Warsaw, then Warsaw-Krakow. Total travel time is around 5 hours. We spoke to several people who flew on LOT and said it was fine. Czech Air is a much shorter flight if you don't mind the price.

I don't have any first hand knowledge re the drive, but I've heard the roads in Poland can be slow...and often back up due to construction. Also, rental cars tend to be more expensive if you take them between E. Europe countries.
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