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Anyone use RailEurope.com to book tickets?

Are they an ok company to use to book tickets for our trip. We are traveling between London and Paris, Paris and Nice, Nice and Venice and Venice and Rome.

Because London isn't included in the pass, it doesn't make sense from a price standpoint to purchase it. It's cheaper to just purchase individual tickets. I'd really like to do it before we leave so that we don't have to worry about it while we're there.

Any other websites you've used to book your tickets? I prefer to do it all in one transaction if at all possible.

Thanks!

Posted by
4555 posts

You can get Amica advance fares, 20% off. They will offer you a "ticketless" option...just take the e-mail and show it to the conductor, and they will print you out a tiny receipt...no need to "stamp"the ticket in the train station. Since you're making the connection at Milan, I would book Milan-Venice. But for Venice-Rome, you could just wait until you arrive in Venice, then book your train trip at the station....it depends on what time of year you are travelling. Remember, many of these discount fares have severe restriction on refunds and changes. But even though you'll have to visit 2 websites, you'll find it's far, far FAR cheaper than RailEurope.

Posted by
486 posts

They charge too much and don't give the discounts that the national railroads will automatically give you.

Posted by
13 posts

John-

Could you let me know which sites to use? I did a google search but wasn't sure which were the "official" sites.

Need sites for:

London
France
Italy

Thanks in advance!

Posted by
7205 posts

The problem with RE is that they don't have ALL of the existing routes and times available in their database, but you WOULD be able to see them all once in Europe.

The reservations and ticket prices are more expensive at RE than just buying them at the ticket counter in Europe.

Reservations from RE are non-refundable/changeable which is not the case if you purchase the tickets/reservations in Europe.

If you order from RE be sure to tack on the extra "shipping and handling" charge.

Posted by
81 posts

I've been all over the UK and Italy by Train and I always buy my tickets once I'm there. It's much cheaper. I to go RE just to check out times, even though they don't list them all. You can always go to the train station a few days before you depart and buy the tickets early. Or when you arrive at a destination, but your tickets for the next trip then.

Posted by
8700 posts

London-Paris: www.eurostar.com

Paris-Nice: www.voyages-sncf.com. There is a direct night train as well as daytime TGVs. Booked well in advance (up to 90 days allowed), you can get PREM'S (discount) fares.

Nice-Venice: www.voyages-sncf.com (for direct trains only)

Venice-Rome: www.trenitalia.com/en/index.html. Not much advantage to booking this ticket online. Buy a ticket as soon as you get to Venice. If any of the allotted seats are still available, you can get an Amica fare (20% discount) up to 24 hours before departure.

Posted by
4555 posts

Alicia...to book rail tickets, go to the French national rail site, http://www.voyages-sncf.com. You'll be able to book Eurostar for London-Paris here; book up to 120 days in advance to get the cheapest fares, and have the tickets sent to your hotel in Britain. Select your travel date, then select a fake return date a week later. You'll have to pay about 88 Euro for a round-trip ticket, but that's still far cheaper than a one-way fare. Use SNCF as well to book tickets for Paris-Nice....PREMs advance tickets can be printed out at home...available 90 days in advance. For Nice-Venice, you can book Nice-Milan at SNCF and get SMART fares for 15 Euro. Book to pick up your ticket at the train station when you arrive in Nice. Milan-Venice, book at athe Italian national rail site, http://www.trenitalia.com/en/index.html. Some have reported booking problems, so register ASAP and, when you get your password back by e-mail, try a few fake bookings. (more)

Posted by
8700 posts

Things have changed on the Eurostar site. If you register as a resident of North America, it's now possible to get a single (one-way) fare of $98 US. No advantage any longer to booking a return ticket and throwing away the unused portion.

However, for residents of the UK and France, single fares are outrageous and booking a return ticket is much cheaper.

Posted by
4555 posts

...unless you miss the cheaper fares on Eurostar.com

Posted by
18384 posts

I posted an example of Rail Europe's outlandish pricing on 1/13 under "To the West", "Germany". A ticket purchased in Germany from German Rail, completely exchangeable and refundable, from Cologne to Rothenburg, is ~$138. The same ticket online from Rail Europe is $167, non-refundable, plus maybe $18 shipping. If you want a non-refundable ticket, you can get a "Dauer-Spezial" promotional ticket for ~$44 (€29) online from German Rail.

Posted by
40 posts

I booked through RailEurope this morning. I paid $156 for me and my daughter (student rate for her) plus another $18 in shipping and handling fees. I booked the trip after asking if I should book this early out (for a June trip) in another thread and someone suggested it would be a good idea. After I read some of the comments in this thread (and had already bought my tickets), I worried about my decision. So I checked Eurostar.com......the price for the same trip was the same, but all later trips that day were now sold out and every other trip earlier in the day was at a much higher price, so I don't feel so bad. Thing is for us, we needed the train trip that day (June 13) so we didn't have a lot of flexibility, which I suspect is what gets you the best deals. oh and, we really,really wanted to go via Eurostar, through the chunnel!

Posted by
18384 posts

Kathy, so what are you trying to tell us? That you paid $174 for ticket that should have cost $156 if you had bought them directly from the European rail website?

Posted by
486 posts

Alison,

Tim provided you with web sites.

One thing that have worked well for me:

Look on the country web site for fares. Then call the country railroad number if you need special arrangements and book the fares you found on the site while asking them for what you need. For example, in England, there was no way to have them send me tickets in time and so they said I could pick them up at Paddington Station. Good thing I had checked the web first as the ticket price was much higher until I pointed out the special fare that the agent missed.

In another case, I had a problem on a private Swiss railroad site and so called them. The site wasn't clear as to whether they would ship tickets free to the US but they told me they would and they did. In addition, because the web site promised something by mistake as part of the package, they included it then removed the error from their site.

In general, the railroads are very good both for service & for getting you the best deal.

Posted by
40 posts

To answer Lee, what I was trying to say is that if I had waited to get to Europe to buy train tickets from London to Paris, or if I waited a few weeks/months to get a better deal, I would likely have either not been able to get a seat on that particular Friday afternoon, or I would have paid a lot more. I didn't go all the way through the Eurostar.com booking process, so I don't know if they would have charged additional fees (do they not mail the tickets?) or if it would have been a straight $156. Yup, I did pay an additional $18 in shipping and handling that I may not have had to pay (there were no other fees charged), but I was relieved that the base fares were the same and it appears the cheaper fares are selling out fast!! So my point is...... YES, check out the other sites mentioned to get the best deal, but don't wait if if you are particular about the date/time, etc.

Posted by
18384 posts

Kathy, first, I never said that you should not have bought tickets online. But, you had the choice of two websites. They were $18 cheaper direct from Eurostar. No shipping, you pick them up at the station.

There are often good reasons to buy tickets online in advance, from the national rail companies. Night trains will sell out before you get to Europe. Some tickets like Eurostar and Thalys sell out in advance. These you should obviously get in advance, but use the source (Thalys, Eurostar), not RailEurope.

Most rail lines (German, French, and Italian Rail) have promotional tickets at big discounts, but the supply is limited. You need to buy them in advance, from the national rail company's website. You can't get them from RailEurope.

I have been on about 200 trains in Germany in the last 10 years, have always bought the ticket at the station just before boarding, was never denied bording, and only once had to stand for 1/2 hour.

And, by the way, German Rail mails ticket, for free, anywhere in the world, but most times, you can print them at home.