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Other options besides Eurail?

Other options besides Eurail?

Old Mar 5, 19, 9:06 pm
  #1  
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Other options besides Eurail?

Hello, I will be traveling to Europe in a couple of months. I have done a lot of research, youtube vids, asked around and I'm stuck on weather to buy a Eurail pass or not. I'm trying to hit up about 7 or so countries (Vienna, Budapest, Prague, possibly Germany, Amsterdam, Paris, and maybe a few in between areas) in Europe during a 30 day or so trip.

When first researching it looked like the 7 or 10 day Eurail global pass would my best bet. (somewhat cheap for the amount of traveling I wanted to do, plus the flexibility, and also being able to see a lot of europe and being able to spend a night on a train saving some money/time on an airbnb for that night) But then I saw how cheap ryanair and easyjet flights inter-country were. I'm aware of their extra/hidden fees as well and that shouldn't be a problem for me. After figuring flying into london from the united states and then flying from london to lisbon and lisbon to madrid. It seemed like half my trip would be flights making a Eurail pass not worth it. But at the same I want to still ride the train and see things throughout the country on a train that I wouldnt on a plane. So the question is how can I still travel by train without buying a Eurail pass but 1) not having to spend $400 or so dollars for a global pass to go through different o....ries. And 2) Have the flexibility of booking these train trips when I get into Europe? So basically without the expensive eurail pass and being able to book the individual train rides through countries when I want to actually take them and not having to pre-book them now?

Thanks.
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Old Mar 6, 19, 1:07 am
  #2  
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You seem to be very hung up on this train pass, I suggest you read the https://www.seat61.com/ pages for all the countries you want to take trains in, before coming back with more direct questions about specific routes or areas.

Note that he has a bit of a patronizing tone but the info is generally sound.

You don't have to fly Ryanair etc as the traditional airlines sometimes also have cheap flights.

There are differences between high speed and local trains and every country has slightly different rules. In some countries a pass is not so useful as you still need to reserve seats (at a fee), in other countries you can freely take any (or a subset of) trains, but it might be cheaper to book in advance once your plans are fixed. Booking in advance doesn't mean months, cheaper tickets are soemtimes still available a few days before the trip.
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Old Mar 6, 19, 6:25 am
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Some things you should consider:
  • Point-to-point tickets could be cheaper, at least if you are willing to travel in second class. I think that Eurail only is available in first class. However, point-to-point tickets are often only cheap if you book them well in advance. A rail pass may be good value in some countries but bad value in other countries, so you may wish to use a mix of them.
  • There is no lounge access in Germany and possibly other countries if you use Eurail. You get lounge access in first class if you use point-to-point tickets, with the exception of recently introduced deep discount tickets.
  • Eurail doesn't include the cost of a seat reservation. This could be a substantial cost and should be considered when deciding on whether to get point-to-point tickets or not. For example, I think it's 30 euros for Eurostar between the UK and France/Belgium. Seat reservations tend to be cheaper when not mandatory. For example, it's just 4.50 euros on German domestic trains, or 30 DKK on Danish domestic trains.
  • Websites directed towards foreigners may sell tickets or seat reservations at inflated prices. Try to buy from the train companies instead.
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Old Mar 6, 19, 8:03 am
  #4  
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Originally Posted by carsearch1982 View Post
Hello, I will be traveling to Europe in a couple of months. I have done a lot of research, youtube vids, asked around and I'm stuck on weather to buy a Eurail pass or not. I'm trying to hit up about 7 or so countries (Vienna, Budapest, Prague, possibly Germany, Amsterdam, Paris, and maybe a few in between areas) in Europe during a 30 day or so trip.

When first researching it looked like the 7 or 10 day Eurail global pass would my best bet. (somewhat cheap for the amount of traveling I wanted to do, plus the flexibility, and also being able to see a lot of europe and being able to spend a night on a train saving some money/time on an airbnb for that night) But then I saw how cheap ryanair and easyjet flights inter-country were. I'm aware of their extra/hidden fees as well and that shouldn't be a problem for me. After figuring flying into london from the united states and then flying from london to lisbon and lisbon to madrid. It seemed like half my trip would be flights making a Eurail pass not worth it. But at the same I want to still ride the train and see things throughout the country on a train that I wouldnt on a plane. So the question is how can I still travel by train without buying a Eurail pass but 1) not having to spend $400 or so dollars for a global pass to go through different o....ries. And 2) Have the flexibility of booking these train trips when I get into Europe? So basically without the expensive eurail pass and being able to book the individual train rides through countries when I want to actually take them and not having to pre-book them now?

Thanks.
Between Amsterdam and Paris you are forced to use Thalys trains (extra fee/reservation). For many High Speed trains there is limited availability for Eurail Pass holders. Many night trains have only 2nd class--not as nice as 1st class for sleeping.
Ryanair and EasyJet fly out of remote airports in most instances adding a lot of extra time to your flt.
When I first went to Europe in 1964 it was very easy, you bought either a 1 month, 2 mo or 3 mo pass, valid on EVERY train, reservations were included, plenty of 1st class compartment space (even on night trains)--except for trains to/from Scandanavia.
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Old Mar 6, 19, 10:09 am
  #5  
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Thanks I appreciate the advice. So from what I'm hearing its a tough choice. Because I basically want a mixture of both (the flexibility to get on a train the night before or day of since I'm not sure of how long I will want to stay in each country. As well as not having to pay $400 plus dollars for a Eurail pass to do that.) But then you guys mentioned that it could be cheaper to take a train (either fast or regular trains? Not to clear about those) country to country but the problem with that is that I will have to pre book at least days in advance or else I will pay a lot more (maybe even end up paying more than what the Eurail pass would of cost me after all the train trips?)

Also I don't plan on sleeping on the trains everytime. But maybe the couple of train trips that are 6+ hrs just because of how long the trips are and to kill 2 birds with 1 stone of being able to stay/sleep on a train and not pay for an airbnb for that night while traveling.

So if I were to take a train into lets say 4-5 countries (budapest-prague.. vienna - budapest... prague to germany.. and germany-amsterdam) I would probably not only pay the same/more than buying a eurail 7 day pass but I would most likely have to book a day/days in advance? Which defeats the purpose of what I want to use the train for.

To make it clear I want to travel by train but it doesn't seem like a Eurail pass is going to be worth it because I wont travel enough to get my moneys worth but at the same time booking individual train trips will probably be cheaper but I can't count on booking the night before I decide to leave country x and go to country x without paying a lot more? If this is correct what would you guys do? Either overpay for a Eurail pass or not pay for eurail pass and hope that somehow the trains I end up taking arent booked the night before I decide to leave and hope that they dont end up costing more (all the train trips total) than the $400 dollar pass I could of got that would of included all these places?
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Old Mar 6, 19, 1:22 pm
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Do you have a sense of what itinerary you want to do?

Checking prices for tomorrow...
Budapest-Prague, Prague-Vienna both around 25-30€ (purchased on CD.cz)
Vienna-Budapest approx. 20€ to 30€, depending on tickets (on obb.at)
Prague-Berlin 30€ on cd.cz
Berlin-Köln 89€ (cheaper if booked earlier)
Köln-Amsterdam (50-70€)
Amsterdam-Paris (135€)

If you pre-book tickets in Germany and the Netherlands in advance, prices will be lower.
Prices out of CZ will be higher if you're going during peak times.

This is all day trains.

The $400 price you quote probably does not include night supplements.
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Old Mar 6, 19, 2:38 pm
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Originally Posted by nrr View Post
Ryanair and EasyJet fly out of remote airports in most instances adding a lot of extra time to your flt.
Do you actually know anything about easyJet? They fly from primary airports and this is a key part of their business model.
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Old Mar 11, 19, 11:22 am
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Originally Posted by Ldnn1 View Post
Do you actually know anything about easyJet? They fly from primary airports and this is a key part of their business model.
Primary airports are still "remote" to where you want to be as a tourist. LHR to CDG is quite different from St Pancras to Gare du Nord.
Some airports are pretty well connected to the city center (AMS, BRU, CPH, ...) but all take extra time and money...
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Old Mar 11, 19, 11:35 am
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In some parts of Europe, you can buy cheaper train tickets on regional trains or if you avoid the fancy international trains. Even local train networks might go farther than you would expect so that they cover a bunch of cities packed together in the same region, although of course they're designed for commuters so offer fewer amenities and more stops.

Don't have high expectations for FC lounges in European railroad stations. IME they're similar in some ways to the worst airline lounges (think one smallish room) with very limited F&B (perhaps a minor continental breakfast or coffee/tea/water with cookies, no alcohol). YMMV.
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Old Mar 17, 19, 7:18 pm
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Originally Posted by Ldnn1 View Post
Do you actually know anything about easyJet? They fly from primary airports and this is a key part of their business model.
I lumped EJ and RY as having similar flying systems--an error on my part; BUT EJ does fly out of London's (1)Luton, (2)Southend, not "major" airports.
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Old Mar 18, 19, 12:08 am
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Originally Posted by nrr View Post
I lumped EJ and RY as having similar flying systems--an error on my part; BUT EJ does fly out of London's (1)Luton, (2)Southend, not "major" airports.
easyJet's major presence is now at Gatwick. Ryanair's is at Stansted.
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Old Aug 31, 19, 1:42 am
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I purchased a five day Eurail Pass a few months back. I had to cancel my vacation due to illness but figured I would use the pass later in the year since I had one year to activate it. I ended up planning another trip where I would only need the pass for three days but when I looked at the cost of the single tickets it was about the same as my refund would be from Eurail due to the 20% fee for refunds. The first two legs of my trip were short (Munich to Salzburg and Salzburg to Vienna) and would have cost me less than $80 total had I purchased individual tickets. My third leg was Vienna to Frankfurt and a last minute ticket would have cost me over $240 which would have made it worthwhile to keep the pass and not ask for a refund. When I tried to get a seat reservation a week prior to my trip from Vienna to Frankfurt they were sold out. I went to the Vienna train station and was told that there were no seat reservations available and the guy recommended that I not get on the train without a reservation as the train would most likely be full. I ended up flying to Frankfurt. So I paid around $400 to Eurail for less than $80 worth of rail travel and had to purchase a last minute airline ticket when I wasn't able to use the Eurail Pass so I ended up paying over $500 for $80 worth of travel. I went online and filed two requests from Eurail asking if they could give me a partial refund or credit for future travel. On both I received confirmation that they received my requests and the second response said they would try to respond withing 48 hours. The first request was about 10 days ago, the second was 3 days ago. Have not heard back. I sent an email this morning. If you're thinking about getting a Eurail Pass you might want to consider just taking your money and putting it in a paper shredder instead. Had I shredded my $400 I would have saved money and not had the frustrations of a trying to get Eurail to respond.

Last edited by Uh Clem; Aug 31, 19 at 1:49 am
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Old Aug 31, 19, 4:31 am
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Have you been on a tight schedule, or why didn't you just take one of the other trains from Vienna to Frankfurt? There is a connection at least every 2 hours, at some times during the day even every hour to Frankfurt.
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Old Aug 31, 19, 11:16 am
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I was on a tight schedule. Also the rock group Rammstein had just played in Vienna and all the trains heading to Germany for the day were booked.
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Old Aug 31, 19, 12:57 pm
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I would have just boarded the train anyway in that case. Just keep an eye open for seats becoming available. Trains technically cannot be “fully booked" in Austria or Germany.
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