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How Long to Get Swiss Rail Passes in California?

Orange County
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How Long to Get Swiss Rail Passes in California?

Hello All,

My wife and I are taking our two sons (ages 15 and 16) to France, and part of our journey will involve about four days in Switzerland. I've been reading up on the Swiss Rail passes that are available, and the best fit for us looks like the four-day consecutive days pass. However, it's my understanding that I must buy the passes while still in the USA, and we're schedule to fly out of LAX in ten days! The website I'm looking at (www.sbb.ch) lists DHL as a delivery option, and says it will take "5 days". Does that mean five business days? Is there enough time for the passes to be delivered? Is it possible to pick up the passes in person? Are there any other options?

Thanks for any input!

Mannheim, Germany
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for Zurich, Mannheim
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1. Re: How Long to Get Swiss Rail Passes in California?

You can simply buy the passes on arrival - no need to worry.

Orange County
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2. Re: How Long to Get Swiss Rail Passes in California?

Thanks altamiro, I thought I'd read somewhere that I had to buy the passes before leaving the USA (I remember reading that somewhere, but now I can't find it!). It makes sense that all I would have to do is show my US passport to prove I'm not a permanent resident of Switzerland.

Anchorage, Alaska
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for Anchorage, Zermatt
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3. Re: How Long to Get Swiss Rail Passes in California?

There is one "pass" that must be purchased before you arrive in Switzerland - the transfer ticket. It would not suit your trip so don't worry! You can buy the passes at most travel agencies but also online - I use one of two companies

www.gemut.com

or

www.ricksteves.com

Both are reliable and offer fast service. They can also help you to decide which pass would be best for the least cost.

Hope this helps.

Orange County
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4. Re: How Long to Get Swiss Rail Passes in California?

Thanks very much, kileysmom, that's good to know (I like the Rick Steves site, I've found it very informative).

So just to be clear -- if I want to buy either the Switzerland Family rail pass, or the France-Switzerland Eurail pass, I can buy either of them once I arrive in Paris? Where would I go to get them? Are they the same price as they are in the USA?

Thanks for everyone's input here, I really appreciate it!

Anchorage, Alaska
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for Anchorage, Zermatt
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5. Re: How Long to Get Swiss Rail Passes in California?

It is far easier to get them from Rick Steves! or gemut. You simply call them if you want advice or, if you know which pass you want, you can order it on lline from them If your order is over a certain amoun, there is no charge for shippng. Why waste time and possibly money by waiting until you are in Europe? I have no idea about buying passes in Europe but I think it isn't possible.

The two country pass doesn't cover some of the rail trip in Switzerland so I would re-think buying it.

Hope this helps.

Edited: 08 July 2013, 05:28
Mannheim, Germany
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6. Re: How Long to Get Swiss Rail Passes in California?

The Eurail passes are a completely different matter from the swiss pass and cannot be bought on site, besides being a bad deal. I have to disagree with KM here - just see no point to bother with buying in advance something that i could buy for the same money (minus shipment fee) any moment on arrival.

Dont even think about buying any Eurail product for France. Just book a TGV ticket as early as possible to save money.

Bellflower...
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7. Re: How Long to Get Swiss Rail Passes in California?

Hello, fdrake,

We bought our passes through Distant Lands in Pasadena, CA. Scroll down on the attached page and you'll see the details:

http://www.distantlands.com/

FYI, we bought the Saver Pass. I don't know whether it was a general pass or a France-Switzerland pass. We were not able to get the TGV schedule that we wanted from Paris to Zurich because a limited number of reservations are available to Eurailpass holders. We also had to pay part of the fare on some of the rail lines that we took in Switzerland; I don't know whether this applies if you have a Switzerland only pass.

Some people advise making "pretend" bookings on rail sites to determine whether point-to-point or a railpass is the best optiot. Tickets bought a few months in advance have the lowest prices. However, since you won't have the advantage of time, a pass may be the best for you.

MrsJAS

Houston, Texas
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8. Re: How Long to Get Swiss Rail Passes in California?

I doubt if the Swiss Pass would be available in Paris but I could be wrong. However, I can say for sure that Swiss Pass will be available on site when you reach Switzerland. The 4 day pass is a good idea. You may I think be able to get more discount if you make it a saver pass provided all the people on the pass travel together all the time. Quite frankly I would not worry too much about this. The people issuing the pass in Switzerland are very helpful and speak decent English and they will give you the best option as long as you tell them how many days you are going to be in Switzerland and what you intend to do. Their goal is not to make more money from you but to give you a pass best suitable for your journey and bang for your buck.

I doubt if the Swiss Pass will cover your journey from France to Switzerland.

Bellflower...
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9. Re: How Long to Get Swiss Rail Passes in California?

The Swiss Pass would cover only the journey that begins in Switzerland, be it Geneva, Basel, Zurich, etc.

Fremont, California
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10. Re: How Long to Get Swiss Rail Passes in California?

We purchased our Swiss Pass through Jason Travels in San Francisco, with FREE 2 - 3 days UPS delivery:

Jason Travel, Inc.

269 States Street

San Francisco, California 94114

Phone: 415.553.7711

877.388.9695

Fax: 415.553.7717

email: brigitta@jasontravel.com

www. jasontravel.com

www. swissheritagetravel.com

The reason we purchased it here is to avoid foreign transaction fee by CITI Bank CC. Also, CITI Bank CC sometimes blocks large purchases suspecting fraud and they want to verify charges before approving.