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Eurail and reservations

Sydney
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Eurail and reservations

We are traveling between the following places and I don't know whether I'm better off getting the eurail pass and then adding reservations to certain countries or buying individual tickets. I've read on other threads that individual tickets between countries are quite cheap and the pass is about $827aud so it seems expensive. In addition to that we need to buy transfers into Poland as it's not covered and the Amsterdam to Brussels trip is going to cost us $92 each and then the Eurostar will cost us again!

- Zurich to langen am arlberg

- langen to Vienna

- Vienna to Budapest

- overnight train from Budapest to krakow

- overnight train from krakow to Prague

- Prague to Berlin

- Berlin to Hanover

- Hanover to Amsterdam

- Amsterdam to London (via Brussels)

Any advice is appreciated including where I'll need reservations

Thanks

Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: Eurail and reservations

If you have not purchased your Eurail pass, then my strongest suggestion would be DO NOT buy it. Eurail pass, as Man_in_seat61 called it, is the 'gold plated way of travelling by train"

(www.seat61.com)

Not only it is expensive, in some countries, it could be a pain to use.

The following reply is not meant to be an exhaustive reply, but you could always come back with specifics later.

Zurich to Langen am Arlberg, using the excellent OEBB Railjet train, book early (booking usually opens 90 days in advance), as cheap as 26 CHF for discounted non flexible ticket (no exchange, no refund). Book at www.sbb.ch

Langen am Arlberg to Vienna, if using the Intercity (IC) train, as cheap as € 29 for discounted "Spar Schiene" tickets, book at www.oebb.at

Vienna to Budapest, excursion ticket is € 39 - book at the station in Vienna

oebb.at/en/…index.jsp

OR, if one way, again using SparSchiene tickets, about € 29

Book with www.oebb.at as early as 90 days in advance

Prague to Berlin, as cheap as € 39 by booking early the discounted tickets ("Spar Preis"). book with www.dbahn.de

At the moment, Amsterdam to London can only be done using multiple sectors, in 2016 they will commence direct connections using ICE trains. So, for the moment, book Amsterdam to Brussels with www.thalys.com, and then Brussels to London with www.eurostar.com

Cheap fares with Thalys train starts at € 29 for some departures

Why would you spend A$827 if you can get the above fares?

Cheapest Eurail pass (5 days 3 countries) will cost you A$542 per person, see

eurail.com/eurail-passes/…3-countries

Sydney
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2. Re: Eurail and reservations

Thanks - that was my suspicion so all your detail is wonderful. I will also look into the overnight trains too - do you know of a website tht would do both Budapest to krakow as krakow to Prague?

Also, if I book these online do they post tickets out to me? I'm in Australia.

Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: Eurail and reservations

A reputable agent for Polish tickets

http://www.polrail.com/

With Hungary, the site is (online booking is not always possible)

http://www.elvira.hu/english/index.php

"Also, if I book these online do they post tickets out to me?"

No, all tickets are e-ticket, so you print the pdf files at home, and show the conductors on board

Quainton, United...
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4. Re: Eurail and reservations

1) Vienna to Budapest costs from €19 if you pre-book at www.oebb.at (Austrian Railways) with print-at-home tickets. No refunds, no changes at this price. Or €38 on the day at the station for a flexible ticket.

2) www.mav-start.hu (Hungarian Railways) should book the Budapest to Krakow sleeper train from €49 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper. You collect tickets from the little blue internet collection machines, just by tapping in your 10-digit booking reference.

3) Krakow to Prague cannot be booked online, so use agency www.polrail.com - you collect tickets in Krakow.

4) Prague to Berlin starts at €29 at www.cd.cz/eshop (Czech railways) with print-at-home tickets. You can also book at www.bahn.de/en, also now with self-print tickets.

5) Berlin to Hanover from €19 at www.bahn.de/en

6) Hanover to Amsterdam from €29 at www.bahn.de/en

These are 'budget train fares', limited or no refunds or changes if you choose the cheapest price. But price-wise, they blow passes out of the water.

A railpass only becomes worthwhile if EITHER:

(a) you are under 26, as the 2nd class Eurail Youth passes compare favourably with even the cheapest budget train fares OR

(b) you really, really want the total flexibility of a pass, and don't want to commit to specific trains, dates or journeys in advance.

Then a pass MAY save you money over full-price fares, but even here it depends where and how far you travel, and whether you want/need first class (as for over-26s Eurail passes are only available in first class, not the cheaper and perfectly acceptable 2nd class)

In Germany, Austria, Switzerland & Eastern Europe there are very few extra fees to add to a pass, and they retain their convenience factor as you can usually just hop on any train without a reservation and flash your pass.

It's in France, Italy and Spain, also Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam by Thalys, that compulsory reservations, extra fees and (in the case of France & Thalys) quotas for passholders make passes a pain and remove much of the convenience factor.

Sydney
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5. Re: Eurail and reservations

Hi again

Does anyone know how far in advance the sleeper trains are able to be booked? (Budapest to Krakow and Krakow to Prague). I don't want to book my surrounding accommodation until the sleeper trains are booked but it doesn't look like they open far in advance?

Sally

Sydney, Australia
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6. Re: Eurail and reservations

see post #4

"3) Krakow to Prague cannot be booked online, so use agency www.polrail.com - you collect tickets in Krakow"

I suggest you contact polrail for both bookings, they would know

Quainton, United...
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7. Re: Eurail and reservations

Should be 60 days ahead for departures from Prague or Krakow.

I always book hotels though a site like booking.com that allows free cancellation. They I buy train tickets as and when they become available. In any case, if you book 60 days out you'll have no problems, most Europeans only buy their train tickets days or weeks in advance.

Brno, Czech Republic
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8. Re: Eurail and reservations

Budapest to Krakow from 60 days prior to travel, but I don't think you can book past 14th December at the moment

europetrainsguide.com/Advice/How-to-Buy-Trai… - cost from €39 in a couchette or from €45 in a sleeper

Sydney
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9. Re: Eurail and reservations

I just wanted to check regarding the Hungary to Krakow sleeper train - it looks like the train goes from Budapest (train 476 metropol EN - Berlin Hbf) changing at Breclav (train 406 CHOPIN Wien - Warzaw) and then again at Bohumin (train 403 Silesia - Krakow). It says on the side of both of these transfers that it is a 'through carriage' just wondering if this means we dont have to change trains at each of these stops? Was a bit confused as the website isn't that easy to navigate and was hoping to just get one train from Budapest and wake up in Krakow!

Brno, Czech Republic
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10. Re: Eurail and reservations

It goes all the way through. If you buy the ticket through Hungarian railways as above you should have no problems. Don't use a Eurail pass - it is more trouble than it is worth, and very expensive.

Edited: 26 December 2013, 11:55