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More questions about DB Bahn
TH
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I’m happy to have found this site and am desperately looking for some informed assistance.

I’m trying to do my homework for a trip next summer to Europe. My wife and I will have Eurail Passes and I’m trying to piece together our train travel between a few destinations. Here’s my situation: I am using DB Bahn to work out the trip from Brussels to Prague with as few fees as possible. When I click the option for “All without ICE,” I see that some legs of the trip do not require reservations, while others say “subject to reservation.” I have used RailEurope.com to research the costs of the fees for the parts that say “subject to reservation.” This is my confusion: When I get the suggested travel itinerary for my trip on DB Bahn (while using the “all without ICE” option), one portion, from “Dresden” to “Praha (Prague)” claims that a reservation is required. Then, I go back to DB Bahn, and on the options, choose, “local transport only.” I type in “Dresden to Praha” and it shows me a possible, though long, itinerary that seems to suggest I could in fact do that trip less quickly but with NO FEES! My two questions:
1. Am I doing this right, and have I correctly understood what I am seeing? I realize the trip is longer this way, but will I still get there?
2. What does “subject to reservation” mean on DB Bahn? How do I know if I must get a reservation or just how “subject” is it??

Thank you, and I apologize for my longwinded diatribe.

augustin25
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Hopefully someone can give you some wisdom about the D-bhan site, but why not just grab a flight for like 30 euros and not spend 11-15 hours on a train?

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1. Local and regional trains do not require reservations — usually these trains don’t even have reserved seats. If you’re willing to make the connections and take the time, you don’t have any reservation fees. However, why would you do this to avoid a 4 or 5 euro reservation fee (the typical fee in Germany)?

2. Look at the symbols in the “products” column on bahn.de. If it has a gray square with an “R” in circle in white, a reservation is required. Generally, bahn de says “subject to compulsory reservation” if it’s required and “please reserve” if it’s not really subject to a reservation but crowded enough that a reservation is recommended. I would take “subject to reservation” to mean it’s required.

3. Where are you finding your costs for reservations that they seem to be such a big deal for you?

TH
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Thanks very much for your swift replies.

In response to augustin25, I had not considered the flight because I thought the train travel might be enjoyable, and because we had originally planned on using the Eurail Passes. They were offered to us as a gift (An insanely generous one) so we were making our plans around those. I had no idea that reservation fees existed at the time of this offer. We’ve yet to get them, of course, with the trip being so far off. If these fees continue to be of more cost than flights, then I’m sure we’ll opt not to get it.

In response to oldlady, I’ve been getting my reservation fees information by researching routes on DB Bahn after selecting the “All without ICE” option, then typing those routes into Raileurope.com, after clicking the link for “Get Passholder Fares.” I’m finding fees that makes the trip from Brussels to Prague add up to nearly 80$!!! This is for two adult travelers, though.

Again, thank you for your help.

oldlady
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Quote:
In response to oldlady, I’ve been getting my reservation fees information by researching routes on DB Bahn after selecting the “All without ICE” option, then typing those routes into Raileurope.com, after clicking the link for “Get Passholder Fares.” I’m finding fees that makes the trip from Brussels to Prague add up to nearly 80$!!! This is for two adult travelers, though.
Raileurope.com is a travel agency. Their fees for reservations will probably be double what the reservations cost if you buy them at the station in Europe. This list from Rick Steves rather confusingly lists price range for 1st and 2nd class and for buying in Europe compared to buying from a travel agency (like raileurope) in the US: http://www.ricksteve… Note that ICE trains don’t usually require reservations and they’re only 3 euros. Eurocity and intercity trains, which you’re likely to take in Germany, have a 3 to 5 euro reservation.

Reservations are expensive on the super premium trains like Thalys, EurostarItalia, etc. On the normal express trains they aren’t a big deal.

TH
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Thanks so much oldlady!!!

I will research the routes again using Rick Steve’s guide. I’ve just begun his book “Europe Through the Back Door” and he certainly seems to be a great resource.

I cannot express my gratitude enough. It’s a huge relief to hear just how wrong I was!!!

Another question: At the beginning of my trip, in Brussels, will I be able to make reservations for any number of trains I will need to my ultimate destination? Or, must I make a reservation at each stop as I arrive/board the next train?

Again, thank you for the swift responses and splendid info.

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At the beginning of my trip, in Brussels, will I be able to make reservations for any number of trains I will need to my ultimate destination? Or, must I make a reservation at each stop as I arrive/board the next train?
Generally, you can make a reservation for any train in Western Europe at any major train station, so you can probably make all your reservations at once at any of the 3 major stations in Brussels. Another option which allows more flexibility is to buy the reservation for the train you plan to take when you leave a city before you leave the train station when you arrive in that city (avoids a trip back to the station). If your plans include Italy I would buy as many of the reservations as possible for trains in Italy at one time, preferably before you get to Italy. Sometimes there are long lines to buy reservations in Italy. I’ve never had a problem with lines anywhere else.

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Thanks so much. This has all been a tremendous help. For now, I’m going to keep doing my homework and researching my routes. I’ve got to go back and re-plan, knowing that I was mistaken all along about fees!

I am so grateful for the time you responders have taken to answer my questions. What takes you only a moment to answer takes me days to worry over, research, and STILL not feel as though I confidently know! I hope this good Karma comes back your way!
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By your second or third train ride you’ll be an “expert” too. The learning curve is about like getting used to the subway in a new city.

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I also have a question about reservations that I can’t figure out from the DB site. Can you make them just before you get on the train (recognizing that there is a risk the train will be full, but assume it isn’t). In other words, can I go to the station, decide I want to go to X which happens to be a reserved train, walk up to the counter, get my reservation and then hop aboard with my Eurail pass? Or is there some sort of “number of hours/days before travel” that you have to meet? I’m talking mainly Germany here, but also some Low Countries, Czech Republic, and Hungary.

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auldtwa, I can’t speak for Germany, but in France, you typically can just walk up and hop on the train (if no reservation is required) or you can go stand in line for a bit and chat with some folks to get a reservation if it is. Depending on when you are going, you may or may not have problems walking up to the counter to get a reservation on a fast train the day of (typically the main ones who require reservations are fast trains like some ICE, TGV, Eurostar Italia, etc). I imagine during summer, those trains are bound to be booked up ahead of time by fellow travelers; but as far as I know, if they are still available, there shouldn’t be a barrier to you getting a reservation for later that same day.

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Can you make them just before you get on the train (recognizing that there is a risk the train will be full, but assume it isn’t).
Reservations are usually on sale until about 1 hour before train time. Trains seldom sell out, so last minute will usually work.

I wouldn’t try this as a general practice, but… If you don’t have have time to buy a reservation and want to take a train that requires one, you can usually buy one at an increased fee from the conductor. You’ll need local currency in small denominations as the conductor probably won’t be carrying a lot of change. Hunt for the conductor on the platform or as soon as you get on the train and explain your situation. You don’t want to look like somebody who’s trying to skip the reservation fee…

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HI!!! A question again about compulsory reservation in German trains..I’m going to be travelling from Dusseldorf to Strasbourg by train with 1 train change. I already booked the ticket from bahn.de but half of my trip ( the second train Im taking ) says it requires compulsory seat reservation . I tried reserving my seat after booking the ticket but it wouldn’t allow me to do so. I also tried to contact their online service by phone but there was a very long waiting time and they were only speaking german I’m afraid I will not have time to reserve my seat at that point, because there will be only 20min between my arrival at the station and the picking up of the second train.. What should I do??

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You don’t have to buy the reservation during your short connection. You can buy your reservation at any major train station in Europe up to about an hour before train time. Buy it at the station in Dusseldorf (plan on arriving an hour early) or if you’re near a train station (like at an airport or near sightseeing) earlier in your trip you can but it then.

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HI old lady! thank you for the answer! Actually I might do it at the airport the day I arrive! Wink

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Hi I ve got one more thing to ask! If my flight arrives in Dusseldorf Weeze, half an hour before the last bus to central Dusseldorf (which I might not catch considering the delays and waiting for the baggage), is there any other way apart from a taxi (which I assume it’s going to be expensive for one and a half hour ride) that I can go to the city centre that night? I checked the trains d-bahn but apparently the next route is at 5 next morning. thanks!

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1. I’d bet that they hold the departure of the last bus until everyone has gotten their baggage.
2. Check http://reiseauskunft…
There are “ trains” from Weeze Flughafen to Dusseldorf. However since it’s actually a bus, not a train, it may be the same bus you’re looking at. Last one leaves at 22:25
3. This old post at trip advisor has some ideas and indicates that a true “taxi” (as opposed to a shuttle bus) isn’t an option
http://www.tripadvis…