confuse confuse with the trains

my cousin and I just started planning our trip for August...
Im very confused with anything to do with trains...dont know if we should by just the conection that we are planning to do or the eurorail pass for the countries that we are going...because I put all the countries that we are planning to go and it said more that $1,000...wich one is better .... if we buy the pass, can we do the night train too or that is something else.. this are the places that we are going and the nights that we are planning to stay.. thanks for the help... London 3 - Paris 3 - Amsterdam 2 - Berlin 2 - Munich 2 - Alps 1 -Venice 1 -Florence 2 -Rome 3 (day trip to Capri)

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17792 posts

shira, I'd have to spend some time before making suggestions on the trains, but one point that stands out is the "day trip to Capri" from Rome. While that may be possible, especially if using some of the expensive local tours, it's not really practical. It's possible you'll spend more time in transit there and back, than you'll have on the island. Cheers!

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10888 posts

Unfortunately, there is not a simple answer. At one time rail pass were a good deal and now rail passes are more expensive, often require additional reservation fees and other surcharges so you have to carefully compare where you want to go and determine the p2p ticket prices. Many p2p rail tickets are deeply discounted if willing to purchase in advance lock yourself into a fixed schedule. You almost need to rework your schedule. What you are proposing would be difficult to do. It is too far and time consumer to do a day trip to Capri. So that is out. Which mountain peak do you plan to sleep on in the Alps? With your schedule you will spend half of your waking time on a train. And you are covering huge distances. You should get a map of Europe and put some pins in to give yourself a sense of geography.

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
11282 posts

"I put all the countries that we are planning to go and it said more that $1,000' Put in what? Who said more than $1000? RailSaver, Raileurope? These are travel agent that want to sell you a railpass and the answer they give is highly biased in their favor. Go the the individual national rail companies for fares. Add them up and compare them with the cost of a rail pass. Remember that the national rail companies often offer huge discounts for advance purchase. You can use a night train with a pass, but most of the cost of a night train is the overnight accommodations, which are in addition to the rail pass. Often, there are less expensive advance purchase fares, transportation and accommodations included, available without a pass.

Posted by Sherry
San Jose, CA
1139 posts

The folks who sell rail passes at the Rick Steves office really helped me sort out a similar question: One trip a rail pass made sense, another trip it would have been much more expensive than individual tickets. I suggest you talk to them; there's a phone number listed on this website. Also, please be aware that in some countries (definitely France, and there are others), there are only a limited number of seats set aside for passes. If those are all gone when you go to make reservations, which happened to me, you can't use your pass, have to buy a regular ticket, and end up having also paid for the unused segment on your pass.

Posted by George
Independence, KS, USA
532 posts

Go to www.seat61.com where there are many tips on how to book trains across Europe from London and get the best prices. The Eurostar takes bookings 120 days prior to travel; other rail networks usually at 90 days. You can, however, practice booking trains at various sites using say dates in May just to see what connections are available, at what price, and how long the journeys actually are. With a little practice on those websites, you can become confident when you book your actual trips. Remember, prices go up as the date of travel approaches and early tickets are much cheaper but are usually NOT refundable nor can you usually change the dates or times.

Posted by Andre L.
Tilburg, Netherlands
2176 posts

In all likelihood a pass will make no sense for you because: - London-Paris is not covered by any pass - Paris-Amsterdam has supplements that cost, alone, more than the lowest fares
- the Italian trips all require reservation supplements and have cheap advanced-purchase tickets Now, a sideline comment: consider rescheduling your itinerary. It will me more a transportation vacation than anything else. Don't be swayed by relatively short travel times, count on the time it takes to check-out, head for a train station, travel, and repeat the process next city. I'd take out a couple cities from your itinerary and spread the nights elsewhere. All but one of the destinations you listed would keep you well entertained with new things to see, taste, listen, experiment, do for a whole week.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
2702 posts

Hi, I use a rail Pass on my trips, but with your itinerary I would not advise that. First of all, you're not doing that much criss-cross traveling. If you do decide on one, the Amsterdam-Berlin leg can be done by a night train, or by day transfering in Duisburg. That way it's direct to Berlin on the ICE. On the night train Amsterdam-Berlin with a Pass reserving a compartment seat is the cheapest, ca. 10-15 Euro. Your Pass covers the rest.