We are traveling with a Eurail Pass for 5 days in Switzerland, France and Italy this June. There are three of us. Am wondering if I should get the Swiss Pass. We arrive in Zurich on the 17 for 5 days then travel to Lausanne then into France to visit friends in Dieulefit. Am thinking we will need train service while in Zurich but then that would initiate the start of our 5 days of travel. I have them earmarked for 1) Zurich to Lausanne, 2) Lausanne to Valence (Dieulefit), 3) Valence to Florence and 4) Florence to Rome. Any thoughts or ideas?
Thank you. The third person is a 17 year old. The Pass was recommended per Rick Steve's travel consultant as it would be cheaper compared to point to point. Also, she recommended getting reservations for train routes into France and into Italy. When I contacted RailEurope they came up with $400 reservation fares! I am guessing that the Pass gets you onto the train and in some cases I need reservations for certain legs on certain trains?!? I guess I'll pay for certain train usage when we are in Zurich for some day trips to Luzern and Interlaken. The route from Valence is via Chambrey to Torino then to Florence (I'm pretty sure as I don't have the itinerary in front of me). Again, thank you
The last post is supposed to read Select in regards to Pass.
Also, yes the Select pass has already been purchased based on Rick Steve's recommendation. Now I'm just getting all the final details taken care of
Anne, have you already bought your Select Pass? Is the third person by any chance a child under 16? It is possible you would do better with just a Swiss pass (Saver) and discount tickets for the rest. For travel in Italy, for example, you can get mini fares on Trenitalia.com that will be better than using a "pass day" plus rreservation free. I'm not sure if I checked the right Valence, but it looks like you enter Italy at Torino on the fastest route. You are on Italian trains Torino to Milan and Milan to Florence. You can find mini fares for these two train of 19 euro each, with no added reservation fee. To use your pass on this route, you would use up one "pass day" (one-fifth of the $413 5-day pass) plus two reservaton fees (I believe that is 10 euros for each train, but it may be more in First Class). Then Florence to Rom you can again get mini fares, which may be as low as 9 euros.
In Switzerland, you can ride most trains with your railpass and with no seat reservations. However, if you intend to enter the Lauterbrunnen Valley, your Eurail pass is very limited there. You only get a 25% discount on the fares. Plus, it's not good on the bus. Also, adding on to Lola's comment, if the 3rd person in your group is under 16, that person can ride everything for free with a Swiss family card. I believe that the Swiss family card will cost 20CHF in Switzerland. The child can ride free in the company of one parent who has a valid ticket. This ticket does not have to be a Swiss pass or card. Just a valid and paid ticket. Once you are in Italy, you will pay a supplemental fee of 10E for each high-speed Eurostar or AV train in which you will travel. The fee includes the seat reservations. If you can nail down your travel dates and times now, you can get some great mini-fares on the high-speeds that do include the seat reservations (as Lola points out). You'll save money over the pass.
Anne, how much did you pay for your passes? Around $1200? And then you will add $400 in reservation fees? Those reservations are required on TGV trains in France and on the Frecce trains in Italy (Turin to Milan to florence to Rome). That will add up to a lot. You do not need reservations on the trains in Switzerland. I hate to be a troublemaker, but I think you got bad advice from the RS people, because using a pass will cost you much more than the discount tickets you can get on TGV-Europa and Trenitalia. Of course that is buying tickets in 2d class and your adult passes are for first class, but I assume you bought a Youth pass for the 17 year old and that is in 2d class so you will all sit together in 2d class or somehow buy upgrades for him? The passes may seem convenient but you still have to add the reservation fees. If you want to pursue this, look into individual ticket prices to confirm they would be much cheaper (esp. if you add reservation fees). Then look at the refund policy fo rthe pass: " Most unvalidated rail passes are refundable (minus a penalty of 15% or more) if returned to the place of purchase within six months for BritRail or within one year for most other passes." I would complain to the RS office about the advice and see if they will reduce that 15% to zero or at most 5%.
Great! :( Where and how do I look into the " discount tickets you can get on TGV-Europa and Trenitalia ". Our daughter's ticket I believe is on our pass, so it would be a 1st class pass. Are you talking about looking into the individual tickets via RailEurope.com? Thank you so much for your help.
Yes, I know that I don't need a reservation for Zurich to Lausanne nor Lausanne to Geneva, but reservations had been recommended for "into France" as well as, "France to Florence to Rome". I am double checking the costs for Geneva to Valence and Valence to Chambery, Torino, Florence. As well as, Florence to Rome. The costly segment is Chambery Challes to Torino at $71/person totalling $213.00. The RailEurope were recommending Rail Protection Plan for each reservation at $29.85/3 persons. The Select Pass and the reservations is definitely bringing the price of the trip up. At least I have our airfare and major city hotels taken care with Miles and Points. Yeesh.
No, you can't get discount tickeets from RailEurope. Each national train has a website that offers discount tickets if purchased well in advance. For France I find it easiest to use TGV-europe. Say you live in the UK, not the US or they will switch you to Rail Europe. Or try SCNF which is the official website for all the trains, not just the fast TGV trains. Trenitalia is easier. Go to Trenitalia.co, and fill in the "to" and "from". You have to spell them in Italian even if you are using the website in Englilsh. so Turin is Torino and Florence is Firenze. It will ask you the station but you can just choose "tuttilei stazione" which is all the stations and it will pick the right one. For florence choose Firenze S.M.N., that's the main station. For travel in late June you should see one or two trains that still have the 19 euro mini fare on your day of travel. For Turin to Florence it might show two legs, one Turin to Milan and then Milan to Florence. There is a fare for each. If you are using a railpass for this you would have to pay for a reservation for each. but checking just now, I see afternoon trains that go turin to florence,for 29 euro the whole way. You might want to start a new thread asking for help with TGV and Trenitalia tickets and you'll get lots of help from the experts like Larry, Tim, Ken, Lee and many others. Mention the actual day of travel and they can help you find the good fares for that day.
You'll have to figure out what time you get to Turin before you buy the Trenitalia tickets. You can use the comprehensive German train site www.bahn.de to get the big picture for schedules-they show all the countries, but you can't buy tickets there. Then check TGV-europa to see what trains offer the best discounts for your travel to Italy. I checked 3 days in late June and found 1 afternoon train from Turin to Florence with the 19 euro price on the 27th, 3 trains on the 26th, and none on the 28th but there is a train at 29 euros. So it is going to vary day to day.
Ok, I was really curious about this so I looked up the price of tickets for the four travel days, Zurich to Lausanne, to Valence, to Florence ( via Turin), to Rome. Using dates in late June and discount tickets where offered for trains at reasonable travel times, I came up with $449 for first class, and $267.80 in second class. The pass costs $413(saver price) for first class. So at first glance it seems like a better deal than first class tickets for $449, but by the time you add mandatory reservation fees to the price of the pass it will be more than the cost of tickets. But the clear saving is if you compare to tickets in second class, which is a fine way to travel, seats just as comfortable but maybe the car is not quite as quiet as first class.
The RailEurope were recommending Rail Protection Plan for each reservation at $29.85/3 persons. That's a new one on me... what do you get for this Rail Protection Plan?