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eurail train pass

I will be traveling by train for two weeks in August 2020 in Switzerland, Austria and Croatia. Is the $500 eurail pass worth the investment? or just go point to point? I travel first class.

Posted by
27435 posts

It is quite a rare trip for which a Eurail Pass saves money. Swiss trains are quite expensive per mile, and some sort of Swiss pass or half-fare card is often warranted.

Where do you plan to go in Croatia? The country has very few trains. Most visitors end up having to use some buses and/or ferries and/or a rental car--modes of transportation the Eurail Pass will not cover.

Two weeks is a rather short time for seeing parts of Switzerland, Austria and Croatia, assuming you hope to get all the way down to Dubrovnik. In addition to having few rail lines in general, Croatia lacks the fast trains available in many countries to the west. If Dubrovnik happens to be your primary interest in Croatia, you might consider flying there (also not covered by a rail pass).

Posted by
5450 posts

You seem pretty firm on first class, but know that second class trains are not the equivalent of economy seats on an airplane, especially in Switzerland and Austria. Second class train seats are like business class plane seats. Have you taken trains in Europe?

Anywho, you should fly from Austria to Croatia as the trains in Croatia, especially in the south, are non-existent. What is your exact itinerary?

Once you share your exact itinerary, we will show you how a $500 pass is no bargain. Point to point is always cheaper.

Posted by
4 posts

Wow! thank you all. I will post my intinerary soon. you have all been so helpful. So point to point is cheaper?
I am curious as to why. the eurail pass SEEMs like a good deal.

Posted by
5697 posts

Eurailpass seems to have the aura of "1960's summer in Europe" flexibility and adventure -- but with reservations needed for many/most fast long range trains the "hop on any train" flexibility mode doesn't work like it used to. (And few of us have a whole summer to travel as the mood strikes us.)
PTP with cheaper advance reservations seems to work for us -- or using slower regional trains (Italy) which offer no price advantage for booking ahead.

Posted by
5450 posts

A Railpass is a luxury as it allows total flexibility. With a pass, you are paying top dollar for that flexibility. A Railpass is also a product offered for tourists, rather than locals. A Railpass banks on naïveté. The add on fees jack the costs up further.

Point to point are how savvy travelers and Europeans travel. Tickets are purchased straight from the source, so no middleman.

Rail passes are a travel fantasy that died about 20 years ago.

Posted by
8889 posts

John,
I suggest you read this webpage, from the excelent "Man in Seat 61" website: https://www.seat61.com/Railpass-and-Eurail-pass-guide.htm#railpass-or-point-to-point-tickets

As the others says, passes are an "easy sell" to tourists. If I want to go somewhere, I just buy a ticket direct from the rail company. And since it is no longer the 1970's, and all rail companies now have websites, foreign tourists can do that as well.

  • Tickets for long distance trains are often a lot cheaper if bought in advance (like ½ or 1/3 price 1-3 months in advance).
  • I suggest you read the rest of the "Man in Seat 61" website, starting here: https://www.seat61.com/Europe-train-travel.htm
  • First class is not necessary. The Man in Seat 61 has videos where you can see what 1st and 2nd class are like.
Posted by
16894 posts

It's hard to know exactly which Eurail Global pass you're looking at for $500 in 1st class. (Sale version or not? Age-based discount?) The version for two weeks consecutive would likely be overkill. A pass for 5 or 7 travel days within a month is cheaper. There's no requirement to make seat reservations on most routes within your three countries of travel, except for a Swiss panoramic train like the Glacier Express.

It's true that Croatia has basically one train line and tickets are cheap. So a Swiss Travel Pass could be the best bet, with better coverage of mountain rides, particularly around the Berner Oberland.

Posted by
7209 posts

Eurail Passes "Seem" like a great way to travel...probably because they have invested quite a bit of money in a good Advertising Agency.

Advertising Agencies aren't your best bet when it comes to travel. Forget the Traveler's Cheques and the Eurail Pass. DO invest in either a Swiss Pass or a Swiss Half Fare Card or a Swiss Saver Day Pass.

Posted by
8656 posts

johnanderson4424, you cant avoid doing the math to find out for sure. If you know the trips you are going to take, you can price out what advance tickets would be and add them up. If you're thinking of taking a lot of side trips in each country and need maximum flexibility, there are some "one-country" passes or regional passes that might make sense.