Im trying to figure out if it would be cheaper to buy a Eurail pass or not. I would need one for at most 6 days. Ive looked up trains one by one, and as far as I can tell Im getting more than it would cost to buy a 6 day pass. But I also see there are fees when making reservations. How much in fees does it usually cost to make a reservation, there are 6 of us? I cant figure out the Eurail website to try and make a pretend reservation to see fees, which is why I came here. Im getting frustrated trying to figure out our travel arrangments (we dont travel for 7 more months, and I know I cant make real reservations for at least 4 months), but Id like to get an idea on cost if possible.
Take a look at the man in seat61 for all things train travel.
Here is a link to the reservation fees: https://www.eurail.com/en/plan-your-trip/about-reservations/reservation-fees. I do not think you will find the exact amount for reservation fees at Seat61.
For me the main issue is not so much the amount of the fees but rather that there Could be a limited number of seats for pass holders so you can end up not being able to reserve a seat and have to buy a ticket. It happened to me the last time I used a pass which was in 2011 — no more seats for pass no holders because we missed the train on which I had the reservation so I had to buy 4 walk up tickets from Amsterdam to Paris and we traveled to Paris on an almost empty train. Lesson learned.
The Man in Seat 61 breaks it down for you here:
Hi. Almost for sure you will be better off buying individual tickets rather than a pass. To check ticket prices, don't use Rail Europe web site, use the train company web site https://en.oui.sncf/en/ and check for tickets a couple of months from now to get sample prices for individual tickets. For example, random trip of Paris to Dijon on March 11 for six people is a TOTAL of 138 Euro. That's for six people. i.e. less than $30 per person. Enjoy your trip!
Especially since there are six of you (with the connection to the required reservation fees), I would not get a pass (especially the risk that there aren’t even six pass holder reservations available to purchase!!!).
I second Bob’s suggestion of doing a sample reservation but make sure to do it on the same day of the week you intend to travel as weekend and weekday timetables can be very different. If you can commit to a particular train and book in advance when there are discounts, individual tickets could be better. If you book this way you will get. PDF ticket to download and print (or sent by email). You can also save the tickets to your smartphone if they have QR code’s and then the ticket inspectors will just scan them.
If you are booking TGV trains, you cannot make an accurate price estimate without the date of travel. Pricing uses a sliding scale, always increasing, so cost three months ahead could be a third of a next-day purchase
And yes, the required seat reservation is included in the ticket price, while passholders have to pay for a separate reservation.