The advantage of pre-booking Eurrail or Deutsche Bahn train tickets

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by Andyandy, Apr 14, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Andyandy
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    Andyandy Gold Member

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    Hey guys,

    I'm posting here to let others learn from my error. I recently took my dad to Germany to visit the town where his great-grandfather emigrated from. We flew into Berlin and planned to take a train across Germany the next day. I'd done a little research and had priced DBahn tickets online. I knew that the tickets would be more if I didn't purchase them a head of time, but I didn't have a clue how much more! I was absolutely stunned when I went to the train station and discovered that a same-day purchase of a ticket from Berlin to western Germany was more than twice as much in 2nd class as the same ticket in 1st class had been when I priced it in the States. We went from about 160eur for two 1st class tickets to 340eur for two 2nd class. Ouch! Well, I learned my lesson.

    Andyandy
     
  2. Trout Fishing in America
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    Trout Fishing in America Silver Member

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    As someone with Germany on his shortlist for upcoming leisure trips, I appreciate this information that I've never considered before. Enjoy your "like."
     
  3. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Another related tip: even when booking ahead of time on the website, compare the fares for First and Second class. Several times I have seen cases where First was either cheaper or insignificantly more expensive because the discount Second class seats appeared to be sold out while discounted First was still available.

    Also, if you do have a First Class (ICE?) ticket, some train stations have lounges. I've only been to the one at Frankfurt Airport, and it wasn't super luxurious, but there were free drinks and reasonably comfortable chairs. Don't recall if WiFi was free.
     
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  4. torbster
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    torbster Silver Member

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    Interrail passes are also worth mentioning if you're going to do a lot of trains (not just for travellers <26, albeit they get them significantly cheaper):
    http://www.interrailnet.com/interrail-passes/interrail-global-pass
    price example: unlimited traveling for 5 days within a pre-selected 10-day period: 2. class: €259 (>25) €169 (<26)
    1. class: €389.
    You can NOT buy them in the country you're using the pass in. I made a huge mistake when traveling around france thinking it was enough to not be a citizen of that country, and ended up paying 3x more than I would have :rolleyes:
     
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  5. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    I used to purchase rail passes for use in Germany, but with the price increases over the last few years that hasn't been cost effective. Last winter I bought a bunch of individual tickets on line in advance, some on 29-39 euro advance purchase fares, and everything worked out fine. I traveled from Frankfurt to Dresden, Berlin, Hamburg and Mainz.

    The year before I had bought a 29 euro ticket online Munich-Frankfurt (had flown into one and was flying home from the other).

    If you are a last minute traveler in Germany, though, and can't commit to specific trains, a rail pass would be the better way to go. A 3 day pass good over 30 days is $254, and each extra day you add is $20-30 depending on length of pass.
     
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  6. HiIslands
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    HiIslands Silver Member

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    One other advantage of booking online in advance is that you can avoid the disappointment of "no seats available" if you happen to be traveling during a German holiday.... and there are many of them... Some you probably are not aware of, such as Unity Day (10/3), Reformation Day (10/31) or Labor Day (5/1).

    Deutsch Bahn has a great site-- it's easy to navigate and compare options.

    http://www.bahn.de/i/view/USA/en/index.shtml

    And yes, the first class lounges have free wifi!
     
  7. Wurm
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    Wurm Silver Member

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    Also, by booking ahead, you can make your seat reservations. You are able to print your tickets at home (you carry the printouts on board, where they are scanned by the conductor with a handheld device). Note: be sure to bring the credit card you used to pay for the seats, as the conductor will swipe it (part of the verification process).
     

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