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Booking Train Tickets: Bahn.com v. Omio.com

While I'm moving toward getting a Eurail Global Pass based on feedback provided on this forum for an upcoming trip to Southern Germany and beyond, my son has been trying to convince me that he could get cheaper fares doing point-to-point using the website "omio". When I compared point-to-point prices on Omio v Bahn.com, there is a significant price difference. Does anyone know about the Omio site and is it reliable? Thanks.

Posted by
7205 posts

The only people here who consistently say nothing bad about Eurail Passes are the RS employees...they also sell those passes. So keep that in mind.

Sounds like you’re a newbie traveler and Eurail for some reason sounds really really good to new travelers. Those of us who’ve been around the block a time or two wouldn’t touch them with a 10 1/2 foot pole!

Don’t be fooled by some dubious 3rd party booking website. There are very good 3rd party websites like trainline.eu

Better yet purchase directly from the national rail companies like bahn.de or sbb.ch or sncf.com

Posted by
2641 posts

I haven't used omio.com. I have purchased several tickets recently on bahn.de.

I did a quick price comparison, choosing departure and arrival stations from my own itinerary and comparing the sites for several dates. (In each case, bahn.de and bahn.com pricing was identical, with prices showing in Euros.) Omio pricing was slightly higher, rounded up for example from 45.90 Euros (currently about $51.45) to $55 on Omio. The Omio prices seemed to be tracking with the available advanced purchase fares on Bahn.de.

For my itinerary, I am taking enough trains (more than $90 worth) that the Bahn 25% discount card ($22.52 charged to my credit card) turned out to be good value for my travel within Germany and (in some cases) across German borders. The Omio site also allows you to enter a Bahn discount card and gave prices for the equivalent 25% discount, which was those same few dollars more than the price of the Bahn site.

Posted by
9 posts

Yes, I am a newbie traveler when it comes to traveling overseas. So am I to interpret your reply that you are not familiar with Omio.com ? I have been on bahn.de and the prices are much higher than what I saw on Omio---and it seems like a Eurail pass may be more economical than point-to-point tickets---but it's hard to get a good handle on this.

Posted by
2641 posts

I will also add that Bahn.de has a very nice phone app in which you can display train tickets purchased from their site, along with a BahnCard if you've bought one since you're required to have it available if you're traveling on tickets purchased with a BahnCard discount.

Posted by
16883 posts

There is nothing wrong with using a Eurail pass for the trains mentioned on your last thread. But as you know, I also suggested that advance-discount tickets could be cheaper. Have you checked your actual travel dates? You haven't told us how soon this really is. DB will display both advance/savings fares and full/flexible fares on the same results screen.

It would not make sense for anyone to sell tickets cheaper than DB, since your trains are within or operated by Germany. The example I checked (Amsterdam to Cologne on Sept. 10) was a similar price on each - €19.90 or $24 US. But I don't know anyone who has used Omio.

Posted by
2641 posts

I was not seeing prices being cheaper on Omio.com (in fact they were more expensive by a few dollars as described above for the travel that I researched) though perhaps there are some or even many trips where that is the case. I'd be happy to doublecheck what you are seeing if you provide me with origin/destination and dates of travel.

Posted by
21050 posts

If you list the trips you plan to take, you will get more meaningful responses. Individual tickets bought well in advance are usually substantially less expensive than railpasses, but those tickets are likely to be non-refundable and non-changeable. If you plan to take long trips and want the freedom to buy a ticket on the day of travel, the railpass may be for you.

Posted by
2641 posts

lkgensheimer, when you check bahn.com or bahn.de, you should see two columns of pricing. The rightmost is the full-fare price. The column to the left is the advance saver fare, cheaper and less flexible. It is those advance saver fares that are comparable to what you should be seeing on Omio.com.

Posted by
1760 posts

I have been on bahn.de and the prices are much higher than what I saw on Omio

Sorry, but then it's not the same type of ticket (probably the DB price is for a regular "flex" ticket, and Omio gives you the price of a saver fare ticket). No reseller must undercut the prices of the DB, on whose information system he depends; otherwise he will lose access tomorrow. The same applies to Trainline and loco2. However, it can still make sense to book tickets via such resellers, namely for international tickets, because they query the systems of both railway administrations and combine the results inton a single ticket, which national railways have surprisingly not been able to do so far.

Posted by
2263 posts

We did the Eurailpass on a trip in 2014. It was fun. You get a number of trips at a set price. You just show up and put in the trip on the paper pass (might be different now).

But the main reason why they are not a great deal is that you are paying for 1st class travel on the train and you can generally get by just fine in 2nd class, which is much cheaper.

Posted by
27713 posts

If you are talking about Southern Germany it would be helpful to know just where you mean. If you are entirely or mostly within Bavaria you can travel extremely cheaply with a Bayern Ticket which gives you all the regional trains in the entire state of Bavaria for a day including local transportation. A very cheap ticket for one person and just €5 per addional. You just need to limit yourself to travel after 9 in the morning M-F, no restrictions on time on the weekends, and no IC or ICE trains. Normally for many journeys that won't matter much in travel time but it matters a lot in cost. There are even more restricted even better deals depending where you are going.

Can you share your planned trips so we can give more specific advice? And when you will be travelling?

If you will be in B-W or other states (Land) there are similar deals available.

If you will be in the Black Forest area in B-W (also in southern Germany) most towns participate in the KONUS program where you get a free card for for free regional bus and train services throughout B-W, and even into Basel. Not many other tickets or modes of transportation can compete with completely free....

Posted by
27713 posts

I'm another who has never heard of Omio.

Posted by
9 posts

Wow! Thank you all for your help! I didn't know how much detail I should provide, but here is some of the nitty-gritty. Any help would be greatly appreciated, since as I mentioned before, I am not an international traveler and the figuring out how to get from one location to the next is a headache despite all the sites I've visited. Some specifics:

  • This is a last minute trip---I'm taking advantage of my husband last minute work-travel to Amsterdam where we will be from 7/18 to 7/22---so we have 4 nights free there! We will be traveling from 7/18 to 7/31.
  • I'm traveling with my husband and 23 year old son, who plans to go on his own from 7/29 at Munich to who knows where until 8/4.
  • My family is from Southern Germany so, we will leave Amsterdam on 7/23 to go to:
    • Baraharach, Germany (2 nights; 7/23 to 7/25)
    • Bacharach to Sasbachwalden (my grandfather came from that town---I figured we'd need to get to it from Baden-Baden some how). (3 nights)
      • Sasbachwalden to Munich (7/28 to 7/31)
      • My husband and I leave on 7/31 and my son plans to head off on his own on 7/29 to who knows where---but out of Germany, so that impacts Rail Pass decisions for him and for my husband and I.

My son is trying to convince me that it would be best to do point-to-point tickets for me and him, but I don't know. Again, given the last minute of this trip, I haven't been able to do all the research I normally do. But on the positive---I have lodging reservations taken care of ! :) Any additional insights and suggestions would be very much appreciated.

Posted by
12882 posts

I use a rail pass and have been doing that for years.

In your case of traveling around only in Southern Germany, I would not suggest getting a Global Pass. You're not traveling enough, distance-wise, ie not enough zig zag traveling. The Global Pass is good if you are a senior riding 2nd class if it's 15 days in 2 months.

That means you can use it from France to Finland, including the EuroStar, on day or night trains, assuming you don't pay extra for a sleeper or couchette. Those two additional luxuries aren't covered by the Global Pass, plus the discount up to 30% on ferries, where applicable.

Posted by
1492 posts

Seems some confusion and guessing out there.

In general: a multi-country rail pass versus using national rail provider offerings is a different discussion to how to best book national rail providers.

If you consider Eurail as multi-country rail pass you shall check Interrail as well which is the older and more established offering.

When comparing Deutsche Bahn and Omio take care that you compare the same conditions (times of travel and tariffs). Deutsche Bahn has three base tariffs plus a group tariff, rail passes and regional tariffs - overview of offers. In some tourist cases a Bavaria ticket can be an alternative to explore parts of Southern Germany (regional trains only).

Omio is just the new name for renowned and trustworthy start-up GoEuro which is nearly the best search engine for domestic and continental travels in Europe. But change of name is obviously needed if you address global markets :-)

Be aware that for some connections there are also new train providers such as Flixtrain.

@OP: in your concrete case I suggest to trust your son. Let him do all the rail booking stuff- and even one thing ends up wrong, it will be the best learning curve money you will ever have invested - because it is your child's future.

Posted by
1760 posts

Bacharach to Sasbachwalden (my grandfather came from that town---I figured we'd need to get to it from Baden-Baden some how).

There is no need to stay in Baden-Baden if you want to visit Sasbachwalden (unless you have a special interest in BB). Sasbachwalden is situated in a beautiful region of the central Black Forest and has a large selection of accommodation. By train you first go to Karlsruhe or Offenburg, from there with a regional train to Achern, and then it's a few minutes bus ride up to Sasbachwalden (it's at a altitude >1000m, which may be be more pleasant than the depressing heat in the Rhine plain). Look up details at bahn.com.

Posted by
9 posts

Thanks everyone for your advice on train ticket options; it has been very helpful.
sla019, thanks for your specific suggestion on getting to Sasbachwalden since that is one of our destinations not Baden-Baden, I just figured I had to get there through B-B. It also sounds quite reachable through public transportation. I was afraid we'd have to rent a car, which I am not fond of doing. Question: once in Sasbachwalden will it be easy to get around to sites through local trains/buses?
Again, many thanks everyone!

Posted by
1760 posts

Question: once in Sasbachwalden will it be easy to get around to sites through local trains/buses?

Sasbachwalden is served by line 295 of the Ortenau Verkehrsverbund. you can download

-- a map here:
https://www.ortenaulinie.de/site/OrtenaulinieRoot/node/404210/index.html
(German and French only).

-- the time table here:
www.vgf-info.de/downloads/Linie_295.pdf

In addition, there is a special panorama bus in summer, cf.
https://www.ortenaulinie.de/Startseite/Fahrplan/schwarzwaldhochstra%C3%9Fe.html

Your principal point of transfer to train and other bus lines appears to be Achern. Unlike Baden-Baden, Sasbachwalden is in the Konus Card area, so you would have free public transport in the entire area (map downloadable from the first link above, goto "Konus-Gebiet").

Posted by
9 posts

Great information! Thanks again sla019!

In Sasbachwalden I will be staying at the Hotel Der Engel, which apparently is owned by a distant relative (i.e., relative of my late grandfather). My family actually made a trip to this part of Germany 60 years ago, when I was 2 so clearly don't have any memory of the trip. I always wanted to visit again, so this is a very long-awaited trip. Again thanks for you help.