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5 replies
Eurail pass or point to point tickets? Please help
Tbrown
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Hello, I am arriving in Zurich July 8 at 6:30 PM and will be returning to New Orleans on August 18. I am trying to determine if its cheaper to get all point to point tickets or maybe a flexi eurail pass or perhaps a regional pass. Please look at the trip i planned out already:

http://www.eurotrip….

I am traveling alone on the first leg of my trip, and then meeting a friend in frieburg Germany and we will be traveling together from then on. The planner messed up some of the nights so the days are not accurate prior to the flight into Frankfurt. I have reserved hostels for the nights of July 8, and 9 in Milan Italy, July 10,11, and 12 in Fez Morocco, July 14 and 15 in Essaouira, Morocco, and July 16 in Marrakesh. I plan to take the 2:30 am train from Fez to Marrakesh and transfer by bus to Essaouira arriving at 13:44 according to ONCF. I have already made deposits for these hostels with hostelbookers.com but if you think this wont work/will be too hard please give me your advice because the deposits were only a few bucks and i don’t mind changing things around for a good reason.

Point to point tickets i have purchased already:
Zurich HB to Milan Centrale on an EC train which arrives in Milan at 22:50 on July 8. – 30 CHF
I check out of Milan on the 10th and will take a train to Pisa that morning. I would like to have some time to see the tower before my plane departs Pisa.
Rynair flight from Pisa italy to Fez Morocco, departs at 1700 on July 10 -$41
Rynair flight from Marrakesh to Frankfurt-Hahn leaving at 9:40 and arriving at 14:25 on July 17-$53

After arriving in Frankfurt I am not sure exactly what to do, I must reach frieburg by the 20th to see gogobordello with my friend there but have some options before then. I can either go straight to frieburg and chill from the 17-21, or explore that part of Germany by myself (i speak no German, but intermediate french). I am somewhat of a history and architecture buff, especially medieval and WW2 so would love to see some German castles or battlements. If you know of anything interesting to do in the area between Frankfurt and Frieburg please suggest it in addition to how to get there as cheaply as possible.

On july 21, zoe and I will depart Strassbourg, France on the TGV for Paris, arriving at 17:34. I bought these tickets already because it was 58 euro for the both of us and we thought that was a good deal.

I have also bought both of us tickets to see Iron Maiden at the Sziget festival in Budapest on August 14, so we must reach Budapest before then, and those are the only absolute dates I need to follow on this trip.

So to summarize, here are the journeys i still need tickets for:

  • Zurich airport to Zurich HB
  • Milan centrale (the hostel i booked is close to this station) to Pisa airport
  • All travel in Morocco
  • Frankfurt airport to-[your suggestions here]- to frieburg, Germany (must make it by the 20th)
  • Frieburg, Germany to Strasbourg, France.
  • Paris to Amsterdam
  • Amsterdam to Berlin
  • Berlin to Dresden to Prague ( I would like to see Dresden for the architecture and because slaughter house 5 is my favorite book, but I can be convinced to skip Dresden for economic/time savings)
  • Prague to Vienna
  • Vienna to Budapest
  • Budapest to wherever and back to Zurich by 10:30 on august 18th.

So what is the cheapest way to make this trip happen? Is it difficult or easy to sleep in a train or bus seat over night and should i plan on doing this?

I originally thought a 10 day global flexi pass would be good but after looking at the surcharges and reservation fees im not sure. Should i get a regional pass for Germany/eastern Europe or Benelux-Germany? Sorry for such a long post and i really appreciate you taking the time to read and help me out.

I am leaving from New Orleans with $3500 for 42 days
Zürich-Kloten Airport, Milan, Pisa, Fes, Essaouira, Marrakech, Frankfurt, Freiburg, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Salzburg, Venice, Zürich-Kloten Airport
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights
I am leaving from paris and traveling for 22 days
Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Budapest
oldlady
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Quote:
I originally thought a 10 day global flexi pass would be good but after looking at the surcharges and reservation fees im not sure.
Surcharges and reservation fees have absolutely nothing to do with the decision to buy a railpass. Reservations and surcharges apply to the specific train you choose to take, not how you pay for the ticket for that train. If you choose to take a train that requires a reservation or supplement, you pay the same surcharges and reservation fees (sometimes higher ones) if you don’t use a railpass — the ticket costs more because it includes the supplement and reservation fee.

Your 10 day is probably a good deal, although another option would be a 4 country select pass (France, Germany, Austria, Italy) for 5 or 6 days and point to point tickets in Czech and Hungary. Your trip from Airport to town in Zurich will not be worth a day of the railpass.

Tbrown
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Quote:
If you choose to take a train that requires a reservation or supplement, you pay the same surcharges and reservation fees (sometimes higher ones) if you don’t use a railpass — the ticket costs more because it includes the supplement and reservation fee.

Are you sure about this? The reservation fee for the thalys train from Paris to Amsterdam is 45 USD according to ricksteves and $49 on raileurope.com. However, booking directly from thalys.com I can get the ticket which includes the reservation for 35 euro ($43). This makes it seem like the reservation fee alone for the thalys train at least is more expensive then a point-point trip.

I am leaving from New Orleans with $3500 for 42 days
Zürich-Kloten Airport, Milan, Pisa, Fes, Essaouira, Marrakech, Frankfurt, Freiburg, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Salzburg, Venice, Zürich-Kloten Airport
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights
I am leaving from paris and traveling for 22 days
Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Budapest
oldlady
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Quote:
Are you sure about this? The reservation fee for the thalys train from Paris to Amsterdam is 45 USD according to ricksteves and $49 on raileurope.com.

1. Thalys trains are ultra high speed, ultra luxurious trains between Paris and Benelux. They are EXTREMELY expensive and are pretty much a monopoly on the routes they serve. Thalys is priced like an airline with some extremely cheap seats and regular prices that are generally in the $150 to $200 range. If you find a cheap fare for the day you want to travel at www.thalys.com — buy it NOW. Make sure you read the fine print because I have seen specials on Thalys tickets that stipulate that you buy the required reservation to use with the ticket in Europe.

2. All travel agents (Rick Steves and Railerope included) vastly inflate the prices for reservations. Having a pass actually saves money on a Thalys reservations. A few special “passholder fare” reservation are available for about 10 euros. Regular reservation fees are about 20 euros.

Tbrown
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Thanks for the response but I am still not sure If the price from thalys.com includes a reservation or not. It does say reservation required but I cannot find a place on their website to purchase reservation, does this mean i must purchase a reservation after I arrive at the train station? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of a reservation? Would you suggest purchasing this ticket for 35 euro or waiting and getting a pass that covers this trip?

I am leaving from New Orleans with $3500 for 42 days
Zürich-Kloten Airport, Milan, Pisa, Fes, Essaouira, Marrakech, Frankfurt, Freiburg, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Salzburg, Venice, Zürich-Kloten Airport
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights
I am leaving from paris and traveling for 22 days
Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Budapest
oldlady
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1. If the ticket is for a specific date and time I would assume it includes the reservation unless there is some sort of note that indicates it doesn’t. If you go through the whole process is there any place where you “choose” a seat? Does anything in the pricing say it includes reservation? To see if you can buy a reservation on the site, poke around (perhaps using a different date) and go as far as the point where you put in credit card. See if there’s a “reservation only” option or a place where you can indicate that you already have a ticket or a pass for free travel.

2. 35 euros is probably about the same cost as a day of the railpass (right? your calculation here) , so you won’t be “out” anything if you buy the ticket and then have to buy a reservation. later