Point to Point vs Rail Pass
Replies: 7 - Last Post: May 6, 2013 6:57 AM Last Post By: nawlins
May 1, 2013 7:53 PM
Point to Point vs Rail PassHi,
My Partner & I are backpacking through Europe, First time travellers & were still trying to weigh up point to point tickets from rail europe website or individual country sites vs the eurail pass (global pass) 15 days within 2 months $736 AUD.
All between 8th June & 12th August
Berlin to Amsterdam
Amsterdam to Antwerp
Antwerp to Bruges
Bruges to Brussels
Brussels to Paris
Paris to Biarritz
San Sebastian to Madrid
Madrid to Lisbon (night train)
Nice to Riomaggiore (cinque terre)
Riomaggiore to Venice (via pisa & florence)
Venice to Florence
Florence to Sorrento (naples)
Sorrento to Rome
with the Eurail pass is it true there is a train reservation cost on top of the pass.
Most of our accommodation is booked so we have set travel days.
when adding up our trip cost just buy using the rail europe website we were close to $800 AUD
we had trouble navigating some of the foreign sites including renfe as they wouldn’t convert to English?
Also does anyone have any information on the night train to Madrid & a price with & without the pass?
Any help/ Advice would be greatly appreciated as we seem to be going round & round in circles with this...
Thanks so much
May 1, 2013 8:59 PM
First of all, since you'll be travelling in Europe, start thinking in euros... XX Aud means nothing to someone living or travelling in Europe....the prices quoted on sncf (French rail) will always be in euro but the exchange rate of AUD to Euro can change...
Second, there is a fantastic site http://www.seat61.com
Almost any question you can ask about rail travel (and not just in Europe) will have an answer on the site, include better explanations of rail passes and such.
Forum members will advise against using the RailEurope site as it is more expensive. The Man in Seat 61 (as the site owner/founder/rail travel gugu is known) will probably have advice on the language problem as well.
And on the national rail sites, the prices will increase in cost as you get closer to the travel date: Book soon/Book wise.
I'm sure other forum members will have specific advice based on their knowledge/experience but in the meantime, start checking out Seat61.
May 1, 2013 9:13 PM
2Me Personally, when I was under 25. I found the Eurail pass good value. Used if for the very long journeys and then paid for the shorter journeys.
But that was many years ago and prices change. So do as suggested and check out Seat61 or the other sites in the Sticky above. Put in point to point journey's and compare.
Either way the Eurail pass will only be marginally more expensive at worst.
May 1, 2013 11:01 PM
31) There is indeed a reservation fee on top for those trains that require it. Examples - the sleeper train from Berlin to Amsterdam, all ICE, TGV, Eurostar Italia, AVE trains need them too. Book via the local train operator website, if you can't find that on google, see seat61.com.
2) Given you've prebooked accom and your trip seems fairly set in stone, you may find point to point tickets to be cheaper than a rail pass. Only one way to find out, crack open the national rail operator websites (use either the departing country or the arriving country's rail operator website) and start interrogating them to find out the prices. The sooner you do it, the less you'll pay. You may find it beats your rail pass. Trains are pretty cheap in Italy, and you're spending a fair bit of time there.
3) How are you getting from Lisbon to Nice? You haven't said. Actually, why are you going to Nice?
4) Renfe website in English: http://www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/index.html. If it breaks into Spanish after the first screen, use google translate and copy and paste words and phrases. As an example, the night train on 1st July starts from €24.20 - depends whether you want a seat or a flat bed.
May 1, 2013 11:06 PM
4If you found them a little bit more expensive on rail Europe then it will be a lot cheaper on the national websites, although some tickets you have wait until 3 months before departure. Yes you do have to pay for reservations on some trains with eurail pass.
Renfe site is easy to navigate in English at the top of the page it says welcome in many different languages click on "welcome" and hey presto the site is in English. It could also be cheaper flying between Lisbon and Madrid, check www.skyscanner.net for who flys it.
Edited by: richiavo
May 1, 2013 11:06 PM
5agree with gerardkenny - a youth pass is pretty good value, especially once taking the flexibility into account. adult passes less so.
however, you'll still have to do some maths, e.g. there are some short hops to/in Belgium where buying p2p will be more cost effective, i.e. you could cut back on pass days.
further, don't forget to check for surcharges that apply to passholders for highspeed trains, e.g. there's a ridiculously high one for Thalys trains Amsterdam-Brussels-Paris: either buy individual discounted tickets well in advance or consider switching to slower trains. same applies for Italy: compare highspeed surcharge+pass day cost to an ordinary IC standard fare and work out whichever suits you best.
use www.bahn.com for timetables throughout Europe, alas for prices you'll have to switch to the domestic homepages (btw, renfe has an English version).
for nighttrains there's always a surcharge depending on selected type of accomodation. I suggest getting at least a couchette berth, since IMO just a reclining seat is false economy.
drop a line if you need further ideas.
p.s. damn, fwoggie, once again: ICE trains don't have a mandatory surcharge, only a very very few of them have- makes no difference for OP though, since they won't be taking ICEs anyway...
Edited by: Nautiker
May 1, 2013 11:17 PM
May 6, 2013 6:57 AM
It's an interesting discussion as you try to determine whether or not you can save a few dollars, but as an Australian who has travelled to Europe many times I find the greatest advantages of the pass are related to predictability and time. The former simply means that you know what you're paying for rail travel throughout Europe, and the latter means you can skip so many queues and/or machines. (As an Aussie, given we spend 25-35 hours travelling simply to get to Europe, waiting in line is NEVER on my list of things to do!)
On our most-recent, month-long travels through Australia, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands (Dec 2012 and Jan 2013), we were very glad we'd puchased first-class, one-month (every day) Global passes - sure, a bit more than the four-country and/or 15 days in two months option that we predicted we'd need, but it paid for itself. We were able to spend part of a day on a day trip from Vienna in Sopron, Hungary. We went to other cities for lunch on occasions, and most of all when our daughter said "how about Belgian waffles" we too a day trip from Amsterdam to Ghent and Brussells!
And why first-class - because you get to relax in private? We often started in coaches crowded with people, but they soon cleared out when the conductors came through and removed the Second Class passengers. If you're travelling with suitcases, there's plenty of space to spread out in 1st too.
Yes, a few trains do need surcharges, and a few are expensive surcharges (the top-tier trains on the Amsterdam to Paris route for example) but we passed over these.
Gary - Melbourne, Australia
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