We are travelling as a couple and purchased a 3-country pass (Benelux, France, Italy) in December 2011 from the Eurail website. This is our first time travelling to Europe, and after extensive research, I still find the Eurail Pass confusing, so I have a few questions regarding this. 1) Is it true that effective mid December 2011 the Eurail passes, including the 3 country pass that we have won't work for the Paris to Rome train now? We were going to reserve an overnight train to/from Paris/Rome for May 2012. But do we have to purchase a separate point-to-point ticket now? If so, are we able to use the Eurail pass by taking a train from Paris to another city in France, and then going overnight to Rome? If so, approximately how much will the reservation fees cost for that distance and as an overnight train? 2) Since we spent a lot of money on this pass, ideally we would like to still go to Rome from Paris/France. But if the reservation/global ticket price is going to be about 100 Euros each way per person, then it's not worth it for us. In which case, would you recommend us exchanging the Eurail pass (for 15 euros I believe? Please confirm if anyone has done this before) and maybe just change Italy to Germany as our 3rd country? 3) Another option that we wouldn't mind doing is just to scrap the 3rd country idea and just spend more time in the other places we had in mind. So has anyone tried to exchange a higher valued Eurail Pass (for eg: a 3 country pass) for a lower valued pass (eg: 2 country pass)?? If so, do we receive the difference in refunds and just pay the 15 euro charge? Or is this not possible? We wanted to explore all of our options before we call a representative to finalize the plans. Any help/recommendations/suggestions/advice about this issue would be greatly appreciated! :)
You can't use your pass to travel through Switzerland. Not this year, not ever. You would need to route yourselves via Lyon and BYPASS Switzerland altogether. It's another country, after all. That's a long way to go by train just for Rome. I'd be tempted to switch it to Germany anyway - Germany's wonderful anytime, but May is a particularly nice month.
You might want to visit Rome's former outpost in Germany - Trier, not far from Paris (about 3 hours) and also Germany's oldest city, with Roman ruins and artifacts: http://www.trier-info.de/ Trier is in the Mosel Valley: http://www.mosel-reisefuehrer.de/moselhighengl/moselhighlightsengl.html
1. You are correct. When the previous company was running the trains it was accepted. Now that the new company, Thello, has taken over they don't take passes of any sort. There was an announcement on the RS website in the Guidebook Update area for Italy. 2., 3., dunno. Sorry I can't help more. I have been caught up by the change to Thello too, so I am going to reroute to day trains via Basel. I'm lucky to have plenty of time to make the trip.
Irene, I am just wondering,, what made you purchase the pass to begin with,, they used to be such a great idea,, but it seems in the last 10-15 years they have fallen very much out of favor. Did someone advise you ?
I do hope someone can help you here, if not, try tripadvisor.com train forums.. they likely can fill in any gaps and good luck..
Hi thanks everyone for your replies. We heard from a few friends that recommended to us to take the train instead of flying since we had multiple destinations within the 2 weeks. I think we might try and refund the pass and just buy point-to-point tickets through Ryanair or some other discount flight companies since it seems more and more like the Eurail pass is not worth it in our cases, since the reservations fees are so high. Thanks for your help though!
Irene - I agree and think you would be better off refunding the pass. You'll pay less in the penalty than you would trying to use it. As previously noted, the pass is no longer valid on the overnight Paris-Rome. And I'd add that this is not a good overnight trip anyway; it's too far and you spend too much time on the train. Flying is the best way to go. The other issue with using passes in France and Benelux is that Thallys and TGV limit the number of seats they provide to passholders. So it can be hard sometimes to make a reservation for the train you want. Honestly, the days of Eurorail passes are numbered.
If you fly Paris-Rome, be aware that Ryanair uses Beauvais and Ciampino which are outlying airports. I suggest that you fly Orly-Fiumicino on either easyJet or Vueling.
Irene. I used Vueling to fly from Paris to Rome,, and this year am using Easyjet to fly from Barcelona to Paris.. Check website carefully, make sure they use airports that are convenient( as noted Ryanair uses Beauvias for Paris and it is not a good one, its like 90 kms from Paris!) Also be sure to pay up front if you may have to check luggage,, the charges at the airport are higher and they are strict about carry on weights.
Hi everyone! Thank you SO much for all of this wonderful advice! I will definitely make sure to double check how far each of the airports are and to figure out the luggage situation too :)