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Global pass vs. Flights

At the end of June...my wife and I will be traveling to Iceland, Ireland, GB, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany (Munich Rothenburg), Austria, Italy (Venice, Florence, Naples..skipping Rome this time already been) and then France to finish in Paris by the end of September. Everything I have read indicates a Global Rail Pass would be best, but they are expensive. We are giving ourselves about 1-2 weeks per country starting 6/25/19 and ending at the end of September. Is the global pass really the most economical and efficient, based on our travel plans? I know there are added costs to the train for certain trains, speed and time of departure. The plan is mostly to go to the city centers and then travel to the countryside within those countries. I have found it quite tough to be searching months in advance to find accurate timeline to solidify my travel plans with exact dates. Any tips or advice would be helpful. Thank you.

Posted by
6956 posts

Everything I have read indicates a Global Rail Pass would be best
Is the global pass really the most economical and efficient, based on our travel plans?

In which case read this page: https://www.seat61.com/Railpass-and-Eurail-pass-guide.htm especially the section "Should you buy a Eurail pass or point-to-point tickets?".
You need to cost out normal rail tickets for each leg (A to B). Bought in advance, this is for most people a lot cheaper, and no extra added costs, normal tickets include reservations if needed.

Iceland, Ireland, GB, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany (Munich Rothenburg), Austria, Italy (Venice, Florence, Naples..skipping Rome this time already been) and then France to finish in Paris

Travelling within a country, only big cities have airports. You cannot fly between most of these places you want to visit. It is train or car, and a car is a liability in cities. Even small towns like Rothenburg ob der Tauber, you park outside the town and walk in.

starting 6/25/19 and ending at the end of September.

Assuming you are NOT an EU citizen, you are only allowed 90 days (in 180) in the Schengen Area. 25th June to end September is over 90 days. You list Ireland and UK, which are non-Schengen and don't count towards your 90 days, so you should be OK.

Posted by
140 posts

The question is not Global pass vs Flights, it is Global pass vs single tickets. And the man in Seat 61 probably has the answer.

Whether you should fly or take the train is a different question and it depends on where you're going. E.g. it is a bit tricky to get to Iceland without flying, but you would be mad to consider flying between Amsterdam and Brussels.

Posted by
13279 posts

98% of all the people riding trains in Europe simply buy tickets, either at the station ticket window, or from ticket vending machines, or on-line and printing their tickets at home, or with an app on their smart phones.

Just as ATM's killed off Travelers Checks, modern rail ticketing technology makes rail passes passe.

You might want to fly Netherlands to Munich and Naples to Paris. Italian high speed trains are pretty inexpensive, even when bought at the last minute and always include a seat reservation.

Posted by
15297 posts

The Eurail Global Pass is cheaper this year than last year, with the 3-month version currently costing about $1,035 per adult (age 28-59) in 2nd class or $1,375 in 1st class. The only country of your trip that the pass wouldn't cover is Iceland. Even if you used trains on only 30 different days during the whole period, that only comes out to $35 per travel day in 2nd class or $46 in 1st class. Although your plan description above is not very detailed, I would still feel confident to choose the pass.

A few of your trains require an additional paid seat reservation, primarily for Eurostar and other trains to/from/in Italy and France, but not in Ireland, GB, Benelux (if you avoid the Thalys trains), Germany, or Austria. As noted on those page links, a few trains connecting France and Italy (operated by Thello) do not accept rail passes.

From Ireland to GB, a budget flight such as EasyJet or RyanAir, is a common choice instead of a ferry (discounted but not covered by the pass). It would also make sense to fly from Naples to your first destination in France to save time; see www.skyscanner.com.

Actual train schedules will not change much for summer and fall, even though most are not yet confirmed. Just look now at dates through the end of May. Looking Up Train Schedules and Routes Online gives you the Deutsche Bahn train schedule link and tips for using it.

Posted by
10412 posts

Hi,

That depends. I assume all the Schengen time limits are in order with this proposed trip. If you can get the Global Pass at a good discount and with your itinerary, incl. the UK, get the Global Pass. You save even more and stretch your travel day by taking night trains, the NJ and EN, routes where they can be done, even if you have to tailor you ride to get a night train connection, they're always direct, if you how to work it.

I use point to point tickets too, plus the pass. The prices have come down on passes esp the Global Pass if it's applicable to you, depends a lot on your travel style, ie what you're willing not to put up with, comfort zone in getting from A to B, time duration, etc. It is up to you.

With Sweden, Norway, Germany. etc. I would do it..

Posted by
83 posts

The 2019 Eurail pass seems like a good deal. I first used the pass back in 1972 when I was much younger and qualified as a student. Yes, the pass was different as were the trains way back when. I know there are many of you on this board find using the Eurail Pass is a waste of money. If you are only going to Europe for a very short time, advance purchase of point-to-point tickets are probably cheaper. The changes made to the 2019 pass seem pretty good to this old senior. Over 60 (seniors) and second class makes the Global pass very attractive. Heck, a day at Disneyland will cost you at least $150.00 per person. A 3 month Global Eurail pass is only about $1,000.00. The 2019 Global Eurail Pass is now good in Great Britain where trains are some of the most costly in the world. You will have to do your homework but Seat 61 ( https://www.seat61.com/ ) thought the changes to the 2019 Eurail Pass were very good - making the Eurail Pass now on par with the Interail pass. I would purchase the Global Eurail Pass and it will cover most all of your train travels and save you the headache of trying to plan all your train travel ahead of time. Sure, there will be some train reservation fees but the new lower cost of the Eurail Pass coupled with the fact it now includes GB and you can choose 2nd Class more than makes up for the reservation fees.

Posted by
10412 posts

The Eurail Pass literature is not only printed in English for North Americans, it appears also in Japanese, Spanish, Chinese for these buyers of the Pass.

Posted by
2 posts

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