Hello, I will be visiting different cities in Europe this summer, and plan to use train for trips within Europe. I bought Eurostar tickets for our trip from London to Paris, but from Paris on, I am not sure if I should buy individual tickets or passes. I will be traveling with two teenage daughters. My itinerary is as follows: Paris - Interlaken (I understand I need to change trains in Basel) - Venice - Florence - Rome. I read the rail section in Rick Steves' book and website, but it is very confusing to me as to what the best way is. I especially feel overwhelmed with arranging for different trains to go in and out of the Alps. I do plan to stay in Murren or Gimmelwald. Can you please help?
Hannah I find organizing rail travel a bit overwhelming too, but the simple answer is that you will have to do some dummy booking and price out all those legs individually to see if a pass will save you any money.. frankly more times then not they do not , especially if you purchase point to point tickets well in advance and get the discounted rates.. How long is trip ?
Little more to add to the above - if the money matters, you have to do the maths. comparison. Do you want to look at this and perhaps be further 'overwhelmed'? - http://www.seat61.com/Railpass-and-Eurail-pass-guide.htm#Should
but certainly read the piece at the black type.
Neil's point is so important, here's the link to his post from the Man in Seat 61, made clickable: http://tinyurl.com/bkw4u6c. With only four trips (two of them entirely within Italy where trains are relatively cheap and passholders pay €10 per fast train, and one in France where there is a signficant surcharge, much higher than €10, for passholders), it's going to be hard to make a pass pay off. The only possible exception, as detailed in the link above, is if you want first class. Even then, as Neil said, you have to do the math yourself. To plan routes, use this advice: http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/db_tips.htm. To buy your Italian tickets, use Trenitalia, following this detailed entry from Ron in Rome: http://tinyurl.com/c4t693b To buy Paris to Interlaken, I'm not sure if you can buy the whole thing on Swiss Rail http://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html, or would have to buy part of it on French Rail http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ (select France as your ticket collection country). If you have trouble with buying this segment, post another note.
Thank you for all your replies! Based on what I looked into so far, it seems individual tickets will be a better option. We will be staying in Europe for one month. There's so much to plan!! Thank you again!! Hannah