Trenitalia vs Raileurope

May 11th, 2010, 06:33 AM
  #1  
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Trenitalia vs Raileurope

Hello,

So I've done a little homework and I'm stuck. I understand Trenitalia site does not accept CC from US. I've tried the tricks in the forum and no luck. Basically we got all excited because we could take advantage of the meno 30% as we are booking in advance. So the following three options are:

Book with Raileurope and pay a little more, like 40 dollars difference not counting the discount which doesn't pertain to us anyway.

Wait until we get there. It will be June 4th, I'm a little concerned with availability during this time. We are traveling Rome to Venice, Venice to Milan.

I want to just use Raileurope and be done with it. Any thoughts ? thanks...
piazza954 is offline  
May 11th, 2010, 07:01 AM
  #2  
 
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IMO....you need to remember that RailEurope is the North American marketing arm for the railroads and it is wholly-owned by a combo of the French and Swiss national systems.

Their website is woefully INadequate in terms of providing schedules and it is usually better, price-wise, to go through the local railway (in this case, Trenitalia) site for better prices, etc.

But that Trenitalia site is a mess IMO...how long are you going to be IN Italy before you need the first train ride? if it is a day or so, then i would wait and buy all my tickets either at a train station or at a local travel agency IN ITALY and after arrival.

Unless you are traveling over some very major holiday between Rome/Venice/Milan there are PLENTY of timings on those routes that it is unlikely you are going to have any problems.

If you are taking Eurostar services those tickets come WITH a seat reservation so no problems there, either.

Don't hassle with the Trenitalia website and don't bother with RailEurope, especially if there aren't any real advantages to doing so.
Dukey is offline  
May 11th, 2010, 07:02 AM
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there are so so many trains - at least hourly on those routes that you should not fear not getting on a train and you could if you want make all your train bookings upon arrival at Rome Airport's train station (where you also can catch the express train to central Rome) but if you want total peace of mind then going thru RailEurope may be priceless - i always advise anyone wanting a RE product to contact B.E.T.S. 800-441-2387, a RE but one where you can talk to an expert like Byron who many Fodorites rave about - thing like seat selections. But if it were me i'd just cop all the tickets upon arrival.
Palenque is offline  
May 11th, 2010, 07:08 AM
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Agree with prior postings. RailEurope tends to be overpriced and sometimes significantly so. And does not show all trains available in both 1 and 2 class. Train service is frequent. There is something like 53 trains a day between Florence and Rome so the likely hood of a full train is nearly zero. Buy when you get there.
fmpden is offline  
May 11th, 2010, 09:29 AM
  #5  
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Awesome thanks. We will be in Rome for 3 days so I will buy as soon as we land in FIU.
piazza954 is offline  
May 11th, 2010, 12:12 PM
  #6  
 
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IME even though train station personnel in airport stations usually speak passable English i still would go to trenitalia.com and print out the info for the exact trains you want to book - train number is important and makes clerk's job simple and negates any language barrier - put down 1st or 2nd class and if you want a window seat, etc.
Palenque is offline  
May 11th, 2010, 01:07 PM
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And be sure to tell your credit card issuer about going to Italy as if you do not then as a security measure your charge at FCO train station could be declined and ATM usage could be blocked.
Palenque is offline  
May 11th, 2010, 01:49 PM
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I just got back from what was basically a 3 week trip to Italy. I normally purchase my train tickets at the station when I arrive in Italy. However, this time I was aware of pre-announced transportation strike and there some other variables (including time issues) that made me go ahead and purchase my Rome-Turin and Turin-Venice tickets in advance through Rail Europe. I didn't mind paying the extra, I wanted the tickets in my hand.

I am so lucky that I did. The week that I arrived in Rome was not only the first week of the volcano problems wherein Stazione Termini was a nightmare. People were camping out there trying to get ANY train northbound. All the northbound trains were sold out for at least a week- had I not had my pre-purchased ticket, I would not have been able to get up to Turin as planned. In addition, the Turin-Bologna portion of my Turin-Venezia trip (it connected in Bolognia with a train change) had available seating, but the Bologna-Venezia portion was sold out.

In addition, on my second day in Rome, I wanted to take a day trip to Spoleto and I couldn't make the trip out of Rome because I didn't have a train ticket and none were available. Looking back, I wish I would have purchased that Spoleto ticket from Rail Europe as well. You know, I can see the point about saving the money, but in my case spending a little extra saved me more money in cancelled hotels, rearranging travel plans and most of all my valuable time abroad.
Tiggy22 is offline  
May 12th, 2010, 07:34 AM
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but in my case spending a little extra saved me more money in cancelled hotels, rearranging travel plans and most of all my valuable time abroad.>

yup could be priceless in putting angsts about these type of unforeseen events to rest. Good post with a different angle many of us had not thought of. Plus when i check the price differential between RailEurope and Trenitalia is no longer that great - a few bucks it seems for Eurostar Italia type trains.
Palenque is offline  
May 12th, 2010, 08:10 AM
  #10  
 
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Hi piazza954,

I'm like you, I'd rather book and just be done with it! We booked our tickets on italiarail.com 2 years ago when traveling Venizia to Firenze and Firenze to Roma. For 2 people, it was $231 and we paid $15 to have them shipped to us DHL in the states before we departed. This seemed to be the most economical, and stress-saving option for us at the time!

Have fun in Italy!
chicknpig6 is offline  
May 12th, 2010, 08:56 AM
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I've always just waited and bought my tickets on arrival. When I arrive in a city and I'm staying for 3 or 4 days, I buy my ticket then for my return trip or to my next destination.

Tiggy22 brings up a good point though with the Volcanic Ash issues, but I seriously doubt they will last much longer and train service will be back to it's normal self.
chazzarelli is offline  
May 12th, 2010, 01:05 PM
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but still now i can see why some folks would want say a train from a place in Italy back to their departure city booked in stone in light of this new threat - rather rare it seems but airports in northern Africa and Spain were closed yesterday and Italian ones were threatened. When airports close the trains are impossible to get on.
Palenque is offline  
May 17th, 2010, 12:37 PM
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and the volcano is raising its ugly head again, with several major airports closed today
Palenque is offline  
May 17th, 2010, 02:32 PM
  #14  
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wow, I was going to do it but then got turned off by the 18 dollar shipping charge. BUT due to the Volcano issues I suppose I will be buying them now. Thank you all
piazza954 is offline  
May 18th, 2010, 06:56 AM
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check on the helpful folks at www.budgeteuropetravel.com as i think they may not have an $18 mailing fee - not sure but did not last time i checked. Anyway have used them for passes for years and can attest to their expert service.
Palenque is offline  
May 18th, 2010, 08:50 AM
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I think Italiarail might be cheaper. They do mark the prices of the ticket up like RailEurope does, but not as much. The tack on only a couple of euro while RailEurope tacks on 8-15€. I think Italia Rail's shipping fee is $12 instead of the $18 charged by RailEurope. You can do a run through on both sites and compare prices. I looked at Milan/Venice on the ES train and the Trenitalia online price was 30.50€ (I think Trenitalia still discounts online prices at 5% so would cost 5% more at the station)while Italiarail was $40. At current exchange rates the 30.50€ = $37.52, so not much difference.

http://www.italiarail.com/
kybourbon is offline  
May 18th, 2010, 11:38 AM
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. At current exchange rates the 30.50€ = $37.52, so not much difference.>

and at the exchange rate of just a couple of weeks ago Trenitalia would have been several bucks MORE expensive
Palenque is offline  
May 18th, 2010, 12:04 PM
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PQ - That doesn't make sense as it has nothing to do with Trenitalia, but the fluctuation in exchange rates. No matter who you bought the ticket from several weeks ago(Trenitalia, RailEurope, Italiarail), it would have cost more.
kybourbon is offline  
May 18th, 2010, 01:57 PM
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I'm all set, it was just harder to commit and do it. Now We have peace of mind and can continue planning.
piazza954 is offline  
May 19th, 2010, 10:23 AM
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bourbon - RailEurope at least does not adjust point to point ticket prices daily nor even weekly but periodically - to do so pegged to some exchange rate would cause havoc with their many agents i think - so currency rates can play a factor, at least until an adjustment is made.

Donnow about Italiarail.com - is this an arm of Trenitalia in the U.S. as it seems?
Palenque is offline  

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