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Best sites for point to point
herrfrei
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Hello,
I am looking for the best sites to find point to point train tickets for two passengers. I’m only going from Venice to Florence to Venice. This is just going to be a 3 day trip, so a railpass doesn’t make sense. I’ve checked raileurope & eurorailways. Also italiarail.com

I’m just looking for schedules and the best way to book prior to departure. I’m actually heading over this coming weekend. I originally was hoping to make my way to Budapest or Belgrade. However airfares are a bit high for a 2 day trip. So, I’ve been tasked to find train tickets. Wink

Thanks for any help, or advice you have to offer.

herrfrei
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P.S. Is it better to book ahead of time, or just buy tickets at the station when we arrive on Sunday?

oldlady
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Earlier (tickets usually go on sale 60 or 90 days in advance) is generally better as the seats for special fares are limited (just like airline pricing) and sometimes sell out. However, if you aren’t willing to commit to specific trains (exact day and time) in advance, then it’s better to wait until you get to Europe to buy at the train station. DO NOT buy in advance from any of the travel agency websites (Eurail.com, Raileurope.com, Railpass.com, etc.). Unless you absolutely need to buy the ticket in advance. They charge inflated “global fare” for tickets and mark up the cost of reservations so you generally spend 35 to 50% more than the tickets cost on-line from the individual national rail company websites or to buy at the station.

Try www.trenitalia.com. for the tickets in Italy. This is the Italian national rail company website and will show you the best options and prices for the days you want to travel. I booked tickets with them last fall, but many others have had their credit cards refused. I did get a call from my credit card company about a possible fraudulent charge within 15 seconds of completing the transaction. It would be best to call your credit card issuer in advance with the date you plan to buy the tickets and approximate cost to avoid problems. You can also buy the tickets at an automated kiosk in any Italian train station. That’s fast and user-friendly in English but occasionally asks for a “code” on a credit card transaction —neither my PIN nor the security code on the card worked. Transaction worked fine on my debit card and on a different MasterCard. If you book at the train station you’ll miss out on any special fares that have sold out, but will still see any special fares that are still available.

The German rail website: www.bahn.de is the best place for schedules anywhere in Europe (including at least some trains in Turkey) although it’s a little tough to figure out schedules in Greece. You can buy tickets from the site if the trip starts in, ends in, or in some cases if it crosses Germany. Check the list of the national rail company websites under “transportation” on the “travel tips” tab at the top of the page to try to purchase tickets in other countries.