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Train - are you KIDDING?!?!

Hong Kong, China
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Train - are you KIDDING?!?!

I need to travel between Krakow and Budapest on December 29. I had been planning to take the overnight train, as all the information I have reviewed (I did a lot of research)claimed the tickets would cost US$50-70. Now, I just tried to book the tickets directly through the Polish rail service, and the CHEAPEST tickets available are US$135!!! I thought it must be a mistake, so I actually emailed them, and they haven't gotten back to me. If so, that's outrageous - if you book in advance, you can fly for that amount of money. Any idea what is going on here? This is more expensive than a lot of the sleeper trains in much more expensive Western European countries...

Barcelona, Spain
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1. Re: Train - are you KIDDING?!?!

You are talking about an international train, crossing several borders,

on the dates between CHristmas and New Year's Eve

but you don't mention what class is the ticket

I cannot help much, I am sorry , I suppose it is demand/supply market,

( 'Western' doesn't have to be always more expensive )

WHat company you are actually buying from ?

A

Warsaw, Poland
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2. Re: Train - are you KIDDING?!?!

Hmm, Well, as far as i'm concerned, there is no official Polish rail booking service for international trains. You can book online only domestic intercity express trains. So the price you were given probably included some kind of a commission of a third party.

And yes, international trains are often more expensive than the flights. (i,ve seen once a guy in line ahead of me, buying tickets from warsaw to Hamburg return, they amounted to over a 1000 PLN, which is like ca. 230 EUR, definitely more than the flight, not even in advance sale).

Hong Kong, China
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3. Re: Train - are you KIDDING?!?!

I am buying from PolRail - the official website of the Polish Rail system:

http://www.polrail.com/

The tickets for this date were literally just released, so they can't be disappearing already. Western European countries have a much higher cost base (labour, taxes, electricity and other raw material, etc.), so naturally products and services are more expensive there - one would expect this of the trains as well. I've taken international sleeper trains between France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, etc. and never paid anything like this.

There are a number of classes - 6 person couchette, 4 person couchette, 2 person couchette and single. The prices, as I said, do not vary much. The 6-person couchette is like $135, while the double is $155.

The weird part is that I've looked at a number of recently-updated 3rd party sources (travel guides, websites, etc.), and all of them talk about this train costing under $100 (most seem to say $55-70, something like that). For example, my sleeper from Prague to Krakow, a similar distance, also costs something like $60.

Something is not right here.

Warsaw, Poland
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4. Re: Train - are you KIDDING?!?!

One important note - Polrail.com is NOT the official web site of the Polish railways (PKP Group, www.pkp.pl). It is privately owned (read the about us page carefully) and not even affiliated with PKP which basically means it can sell tickets for whatever it likes. International train tickets tend to be pinned to the euro exchange rate and as such they tend to fluctuate and that's why the official Polish Rail site doesn't give you any price quotes. The current price for one way ticket from Warsaw is currently about 80 USD and you are entitled to 40% discount if you buy a return.

Brno, Czech Republic
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for Czech Republic, Slovakia, Train Travel
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5. Re: Train - are you KIDDING?!?!

Prague to Krakow, including the sleeper supplement, costs c. €55 ($75), and can only be bought in the Czech Republic - €38 standard fare plus supplement as outlined here cd.cz/en/… - you won't get it any cheaper than that.

From Warsaw to Vienna it is true that there are some special offers available, with the price of a sleeper costing from €59, but they go very quickly and the regular fare is c. €75 to which you add a sleeper supplement of c. €25 (ballpark - correct me someone if I am wrong). Compare this with the only other place where you can buy this ticket on-line - Rail Europe (which should not be used as a matter of course), which will charge you c. $150 just for a seat on this train. To this you would have to buy an extra reservation when you are there (Polish Railways require that you buy a reservation on their international trains). Therefore the figure quoted to you sounds reasonable - go for the sleeper option.

International trains from Poland also seem to cost a lot more than international trains to Poland e.g. the aforementioned journey from Prague to Krakow costs €38, whereas going the other way it is more like €65.

Or you could wing it and chance your luck when you are there, but as mentioned above it is likely to be a busy time of year.

If you could post a link where it says that a regular ticket costs less than $100 that would be useful.

Hong Kong, China
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6. Re: Train - are you KIDDING?!?!

I realize there was a typo in what I wrote: I meant "Most are under $100, and most seem to say 55-75 EUROS" (not $)

Some links:

centraleasteurope.com/train_tickets/budapest…

passportchop.com/europe/…

meleterc.com/europenight_trains_3.html#Krakow

Brno, Czech Republic
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7. Re: Train - are you KIDDING?!?!

Yes - the middle link is a good one, but avoid the other two or you will be ripped off. The information is not current, either, especially that link for 'Terc' - the times are all incorrect and the prices are very high - e.g. Prague to Krakow with them $120 for a sleeping berth ticket, plus whatever they add on for delivery versus $65 for exactly the same ticket if bought in Prague. The times for Budapest to Krakow are also wrong, and also very expensive - you are not factoring in the cost of the sleeping berth which has to be bought extra.

As I said above you might be lucky and get a special discounted ticket when you get to Krakow if going to Budapest - there is no need to buy in advance - that is purely for your peace of mind.

Those sites also erroneously refer to this part of the world as 'Eastern Europe' - be careful when using that phrase as it might cause offence in some parts.

Wroclaw, Poland
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8. Re: Train - are you KIDDING?!?!

There are some discounts frequently on the international routes so tickets can be bought way cheaper. But the time you are mentioning, just before the New Year's is probably the worst to search for discounts in travelling. Lots of people would like to spend holidays in Budapest so I'm pretty sure you won't find any discounts for flights either.

PolRail is rather reliable and as far as I checked last time, their prices from Krakow to Budapest were just a bit more expensive than those offered directly by the Polish Railways. You can try e-mail the PKP Intercity (company that operates this connection) and ask them about prices and discounts. If you are lucky, they will answer you in English ;) Here is their address: infoeuropa@intercity.pl

Kraków
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9. Re: Train - are you KIDDING?!?!

By the way - have you even tried to find flights from Kraków to Budapest in this price range?

Brno, Czech Republic
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10. Re: Train - are you KIDDING?!?!

and who flies this route?