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Old 07-13-2009, 12:43 AM
 
Location: Lancashire, England
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A friend is visiting Germany next year and has read that, if you buy your tickets for train travel 'on the spot', discounts are available, as opposed to buying them online in advance. Anyone know if this is correct?

This would seem to be far different to buying train tickets in the UK where discounts are available the further in advance you purchase as only so many discounted tickets are available. When I visit the US I always book my long distance travel in advance out of convenience.
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Old 07-13-2009, 03:03 AM
 
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I was in Germany for a few days last year and got some really good discounts by booking online well ahead of time. Maybe there are also some "on the spot" discounts, I haven't heard of that before. Hopefully somebody from Germany will be able to confirm that.

I just wanted to suggest a great website I've used for planning train travel in a bunch of different countries.

The Man in Seat Sixty-One...

The German specific part of the site is

How to travel by train from London to Germany: Cologne Munich Berlin...

It's a fairly London centric site (most of the information relates to leaving from and returning to London) but it's got loads of information about the trains and where/how to book tickets etc.
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Old 07-13-2009, 10:54 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BereniceUK View Post
A friend is visiting Germany next year and has read that, if you buy your tickets for train travel 'on the spot', discounts are available, as opposed to buying them online in advance. Anyone know if this is correct?

This would seem to be far different to buying train tickets in the UK where discounts are available the further in advance you purchase as only so many discounted tickets are available. When I visit the US I always book my long distance travel in advance out of convenience.
privatization has made travel by train in germany much like everywhere else. so, no, you get the best discounts online, or better, if someone gets you the tickets way in advance by telephone or at a city train station (the tellers there can find information you normally don't come across.

http://www.bahn.de/international/view/en/index.shtml

<ohne gewähr> (i shouldn't be doing their pr)
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Old 07-13-2009, 11:58 AM
 
Location: God's Gift to Mankind for flying anything
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To the OP:
Have the travel plans been planned ?
Would a Eurail pass be an advantage ?

To Effie:
Ohne Gewaehr --- means without a rifle ??? ... hehehehe ...
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Old 07-13-2009, 12:57 PM
 
Location: Lancashire, England
2,417 posts, read 4,104,737 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irman View Post
To the OP:
Have the travel plans been planned ?
Would a Eurail pass be an advantage ?

To Effie:
Ohne Gewaehr --- means without a rifle ??? ... hehehehe ...
As I understand it, two friends will be visiting Germany for only 8 days next year - I think they're flying in to Zurich, Switzerland, to see family, and then going on to Berlin by train. So a Eurail pass wouldn't be worth their while. I guess it's too early yet to book, their plans could change but I'm going to recommend that they get their tickets online.

When I was in Krakow, Poland, earlier this year I had the misfortune to try to buy a ticket at the railway station from a teller who couldn't speak English.
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Old 07-13-2009, 04:43 PM
 
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too many irr-men in continental europe, huh?
let them not scare you, it's not the orient express ....

European Train Travel, Europe Train Tickets & Europe Train Pass | InterRail
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Old 07-13-2009, 06:57 PM
 
Location: God's Gift to Mankind for flying anything
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BereniceUK View Post
I think they're flying in to Zurich, Switzerland, to see family, and then going on to Berlin by train. So a Eurail pass wouldn't be worth their while.
Not necessarily, since there are several kinds of Eurail passes.
My son got one (we gave him that as part of a graduation gift) that allowed just a few trips, just enough to get from one planned place to another.
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Old 07-13-2009, 08:26 PM
 
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Berenice, fwiw, your friend might want to coordinate his/her travel plans with german holidays.. which you can see here....

Google Translate

<these are always gewährleistet!>
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Old 07-14-2009, 01:11 AM
 
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I think you can purchase the tickets in advance.

Personally I would buy a eurail pass or once at the station, buy a 2nd class ticket if you are that concerned about travel costs. You can check the rates online or have family in Switzerland check for you.

Keep in mind the majority of travel expenses are hotels which your friend will most likely not incur.
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Old 07-14-2009, 04:17 AM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
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You cannot buy a Eurail pass once in the EU. However, we travelled around Europe last summer and beat the cheapest Eurail pass by booking locally and judiciously purchasing country-specific rail passes. Adding the occasional long-haul bus helps too.

The German Rail Pass is one of the ways we beat the Eurail pass. Ours was for 5 days of travel. You get one pass, then you fill in the date your travelling in the spaces. A conductor comes along and stamps that day out for you.


Okay, now come the tricks for really squeezing out the value:

If you travel overnight (as we often did) on trains departing after 1900 (7PM) and arriving after 0000 (midnight) the next day, you must write down the next day on the pass. This is helpful, as all train rides the next day will be included on that pass. Using this, we travelled from Hamburg to the Rhine valley, then caught a steamboat up the Rhine on the same day's credit. We regularily did 150+ Euros worth of travelling on a single days 50-euro-ish charge for the Deutsch Rail Pass. One day we went from Munich to Castle Norschwannstein, then all the way to Bamburg (something like 500 Euros worth of trains for a couple)

Also, you can buy a discounted companion pass (or group pass) for groups of 2 or more. This is an insanely great value as long as you stick with your travel companions.

Finally, if you wanna be really sneaky, you can write your dates in such a way they can be changed. Occasionally you are not "controlled" meaning a conductor doesn't stamp your ticket. This is more likely on local trains than on long-haul overnighters. However, on the overnighters if you fall asleep or if the conductor gets distracted, they MIGHT not stamp your ticket. You MUST write the dates in ink AS SOON AS YOU BOARD THE TRAIN or you can be subject to fines, but tthe 1st of October can change to the 10th of October (or the 11th to the 17th) with the judicious stroke of a pen if you didn't get controlled that day. Don't try to change your dates if you got controlled. They use different stamps for different dates. Actually, don't change your dates. It's illegal and you could be fined. *Cough* *Cough*.

I recall that we bought ours inside the country from a regular ticket window. It helped that I speak German, but English-speakers should be fine.

Also, the electronic timetables in German train stations are top-notch. You can print out clear timetables which tell you exactly where to go and when. The trains run like clockwork and In small stations, trains literally connect within seconds of each other. Rail travel in Germany is just a real joy. Better than any other form of transportation I've ever experienced.
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