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Strange train question for experts please??

Salt Lake City, Utah
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2,515 posts
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Strange train question for experts please??

Ok... I have a complicated trip coming up. (or so says my Travel Agent) My family is coming to Italy for my daughter's Make A Wish wish... we are flying into Venice, spending a few days, and then going to Florence for a few days, and then finally to Rome. I have mentioned to the travel agent that EVERYONE agrees that it is cheaper and easier to buy train tickets when you arrive Italy. She is bound and determined to buy Italian Rail Passes for 2 train trips. Here is the confusing part... Make A Wish is only paying for my husband and I and my daughter. BUT, we are also bringing my husband's sons, and my mother. SO, we actually have 3 other train tickets to buy. If I go through my travel agent, the Italian travel passes are running about $250 per person!!! This price is RIDICULOUS!!! She will not budge. She says that her clients like to do it this way! SO... my question is: If she does this, can I be assured to get the same train and seats (near) by the ones she has already bought with these train passes? Won't we need to make seat reservations anyway with these passes? I do not want to pay these prices for the other 3 in my party. It just seems crazy when the prices are around 40 to 50 euros for the same trip.

Any advice??

Thanks so much!!!

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Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
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1. Re: Strange train question for experts please??

A travel agent should work for you, and do what you ask.

Tell her the travel pass prices are ridiculous and that you do not want them.

Australia
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5 reviews
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2. Re: Strange train question for experts please??

Uffa! I think you'll find that most people will say, buy when you get to Italy. If you go to a travel agency with the Ferrovia logo, they'll help you to buy the tickets and make those seat reservations. The experts will be able to tell you where to find such an agent in Venice, where you should be able to buy tickets for each leg. And, no commission charges!! Amazing, eh?

Good luck, and buon viaggio

San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
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3. Re: Strange train question for experts please??

I would fire your travel agent!! She is absolutely ridiculous! Do what YOU want.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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2,515 posts
91 reviews
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4. Re: Strange train question for experts please??

Well... that's the problem. This travel agent has to make the arrangements for myself, my husband and my daughter. She takes care of all the Make A Wish arrangement. SO... I have no choice. But... for the other 3 tickets, I do have a choice and there is no way I am paying for rail passes for our other 3 people. SO... do you think it is possible that I won't have a problem getting all of us on the same train??

Thanks everyone!

Salt Lake City, Utah
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2,515 posts
91 reviews
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5. Re: Strange train question for experts please??

Ok... one more question on this highly frustrating situation.. Am I not correct in knowing that even WITH an Italian Pass I will have to get AND pay a supplement for the required reserved seating onboard the EuroStar into Florence and then to Rome? So, in theory, I will have to go to the train station anyway and get my reserved seats even with having the pass?

Thanks again :)

United States
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6. Re: Strange train question for experts please??

For the fastest trains (most expensive) at the standard adult fare (most expensive, there are some discounts available. I don't know the age of your child.),

Venice to Florence first class, E 48,50 /E 32,30 second class

Florence to Rome first class, E 51,30/ E 36,10 second class.

These prices include the seat reservation which, you will need to pay above the Rail Pass cost.

At today's exchange rate of ~1.33, you would pay $132.33 for the two standard fare trips in first class.

I am in Salt Lake and would be happy to talk to your travel agent with you. I have been traveling twice a year to Italy for several years and have never bought a rail pass.

You may be able to get seats together and maybe not. It will depend on the travel day.

TAB

Kansas
Destination Expert
for Siena, Montalcino
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3,842 posts
24 reviews
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7. Re: Strange train question for experts please??

Hylagirl,

I understand your problem. The rail pass is not for a specific train. To use the pass on the fast trains like ES you have to make and pay for reservations. When you make reservations for three also buy three tickets and tell them you want them together.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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2,515 posts
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8. Re: Strange train question for experts please??

Thank you so much! SO... what would you say the seat reservation would be for a ticket when you have a pass? I tried to tell her this... without stepping on her toes.. but she assures me she does this for all her clients. I told my husband that this is for people who want to pay twice as much to not have to think about it.. and if you still have to pay for a seat reservation, than you still have to do some of it yourself...

I appreciate your offer... although I think I have already made her mad by saying that I have talked to many people on the Italy boards and 100% of you all are saying the same thing. The Italian passes are not designed for 2 trips. It's just not cost effective. She definitely is not loving that I am a researcher. That's for sure.

I am having some issues with her on the Rome hotel as well. It's a frustrating situation. I am so grateful to the foundation and what they are doing for my family, but this travel agent is on a power trip and I have no choice but to go along for the ride on some of it!

Australia
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1,450 posts
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9. Re: Strange train question for experts please??

Gosh, with your situation (your daughter and the Make a Wish Foundation), you'd think the agent would bend over backwards to help you, instead of getting all defensive. You're not compelled to buy those extra train fares before you go, are you? What I mean is, they have nothing to do with the Foundation. So, please, do what you want to do, don't be pressured.

As TAB has pointed out, even with seat reservations (sorry, I don't know what they would cost on top of the rail pass), it's more economical to buy them in Italy.

Generally speaking, you should have no problem getting on the same train, but as TAB has said, it may not be possible to be seated together.

And, although the agent says it's a complicated trip, it really isn't. Just pretend you had made the arrangements for your immediate family, then the others said they'd like to come along. How would you handle it, if no agent was involved?

Mesa, Arizona
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153 posts
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10. Re: Strange train question for experts please??

When you get into Venice (the train station is very easy to get to from most locations) go to the ticket office and buy tickets for the rest of your family. The ticket agents will reserve the appropriate seats for the extra travelers. Don't let your travel agent bully you. In fact, I would be inclined to remark on this issue to the "make a wish" foundation.