Hi, I'm traveling throughout Europe and have decided on a 3 country rail pass. I would be using it for Germany, Italy, and France. However, my train from Munich to Milan will pass through Austria (or Switzerland?). Will I need to buy the 4 country rail pass then? What would be the penalty if I stuck with the 3? Thank you in advance for your help!
You will need some kind of rail coverage for your passage through Austria. You could provide that coverage by adding Austria to your pass, or you could by a separate ticket for that train from Italy (Bennero) to Germany (Rosenheim, probably). Get it at the Reisezentrum in Munich Hbf.
And, if caught, the penalty can be very severe including ejections from the train - when stopped, of course. But the bigger question is - Will the rail pass save money. With the supplement fees required for many trains and the discounts available for advance, it is often very difficult to make a rail pass pay off.
Assuming you are traveling on the Eurocity (EC) train between Brennero and Rosenheim, the fare in 2nd class is €33,10. But since you are using a Eurail pass, you will probably go in 1st class; that fare is €54,50. Compare the extra fare with the extra cost for a fourth country. That train has optional seat reservations, with a pass and with tickets. There is no supplement unless you are using the night train. With sufficient advance purchase you can get an EC from Munich to Verona for €39/p online from the Bahn. The Trenitalia website shows the full 2nd class fare from Verona to Milan to be €20,50/p. With advance purchase from Trenitalia, you can get a Mini Fare from Verona to Milan for €9.
Ali, using the pass in Italy will not save you money. If you can work around that (buying point-to-point tickets from the border cities in Italy in and out of Milan), I think you'd be fine with the 3-country pass.
After recalculating, I've decided to go (again) with point to point tickets. I found great prices on raileurope.com and tgv-europe.com. However, ran into some problems with both sites... Booked two trains on raileurope (Milan to Monterosso and Florence to Rome) but after I booked, I received an error message saying one or more of my tickets could not be booked and that I would be contacted by a customer service rep within 2 business days. Has anyone had that problem? In addition, with the TGV site, I was unable to book any tix because I was not allowed the print at home option - only to deliver by mail. Also had that same delivery problem with raileurope and was charged an exorbitant $18 for shipping but still came out cheaper than using a railpass travel day. Thank you all for your help and advice!
"I found great prices on raileurope.com " ? On RailEurope, the ticket price for IC665 direct from Milan to Monerosso is €31 2nd class, €41 1st. Trenitalia shows the tickets for the same train for €23 2nd class, €30,50 1st. Those would be the walk-up price at the station in Milan - no shipping. For advance purchase, Trenitalia shows "Mini fares" of €9 and €19, respectively.