I think I may have messed up our best choice of transportation by waiting too long. My husband and I wanted to take the OBB night train from Rome to Vienna ... I thought waiting it out to get "the best price" would be the best choice. Unfortunately, when I look on the OBB site now, there are only very expensive seats left (kicking myself now). I keep seeing posts online that it is quite easy to book tickets right at the train stations in Europe, but now I am very worried that we won't have a train to sleep on. My question is: How have you found booking train tickets at the counters vs. booking online? Should I be as worried as I am?
Waiting on rail fares in Europe is never a good idea. The best fares for European trains go an sale first. The prices only get higher with time. I think the tickets they will have at the counter are what is left of the online tickets, and full fare. Don't limit yourselves. I would suggest several options, some of which might no longer be viable. There are night train connections from German Rail to Munich and pretty low fares for day trains from Munich to Vienna. There are also day connections from Venice to Vienna. It used to be that trains took so long that you needed all night to make a connection. Today, day trains are a lot faster. There are some pretty fast connections by intercity bus to Villach and train to Vienna.
Thanks, Lee. Any idea on how I can book a private sleeper through OBB? I think I'm just going to "suck it up" and book for my husband and, but it will only let me be gender specific, which is difficult when you have two genders. Can't I just book a sleeper for two people? Will it matter if I book a 2 sleeper and only chose one gender???
Sorry - I should clarify that I've tried to book on oebb.at online, and I've also tried to call them at various combinations of area codes (011 43 051717, 011 43 51717, 011 1 43 051717???). Any ideas on how to reach them directly?
Lee and Tim are experts here, but in the meantime check the OBB website http://www.oebb.at/en/index.jsp ( sorry I need to learn the formatting here) I asked for a reservation on June 23, a Wednesday, for a sample answer. You could have a sleeper on the nonstop for just the 2 of you, train # 234, leaves 19:05 and arrives in Vienna at 08:34am the next day. Sleeper compartment - with shower and WC 144.00 Euro is with a discount card,, or 169.00 Euro without the card. Or if you prefer the facilities down the hall, the sleeper ofr 2 is only 89 euros per person.
If you are looking for a second class couchette, my limited experience is that the question of sex is important for the 4 or 6 bunk cabins.
I should have asked when you wanted to take the night train, and whether or not you are flexible on the dates.
I've given up on booking the overnight through OBB ... what a pain in the ..... so I'm booking on raileurope.ca because it seems more trustworthy and hasn't been changing their prices every second. On that note ... I tried OBB again thinking that since I wasn't choosing a sleeper that this would be much easier. Want to take the train from Vienna to Prague May 30 at 8:25AM with 0 connections - it started at 39 Euro Per Person, then as I was booking and went to confirm it stated that the price was not 49 Euro PP ... so I started again and went to the main search. Yep - 49 Euro PP. So I went through again and go to confirm and all of a sudden the price was now 59 Euro Per Person. What the???? I don't understand how/why it is doing that? Is this site reliable?
In Europe, 0 is like our 1, signifying an out of area code number. Within the country, they precede a long distance number with a 0. One difference. When you call into the country, the system automatically assumes it is a long distance number, and the 0 is assumed. Thus you can (must) omit it. 011 43 51717 should have worked for you (assuming that 011 is what you dial for international long distance).
OBB is a national railway. Tickets are created in price bands. As the bands fill the tickets are sold at the next band. That's what you see. Weekends are when lots of folk buy tickets. The same principle applies if you fly. It sounds to me like you were trying at the same time as other people around the world. It seems to me that as you have again waited the price may well be even higher when you try again.
I've given up on booking ... through OBB ... so I'm booking on raileurope.ca because it seems more trustworthy That's the first time I've heard that sentiment....
Thank you to those of you who provided valuable information in regards to booking trains. As I've now figured out, I waited way too long. I came up with another solution which was to take the morning train from Rome to Venice and then take the night train from Venice to Vienna - which will allow us some time to enjoy Venice. OBB was a complete gongshow and while they did finally respond to my emails (could never get through on the telephone using various combinations of the phone number provided), their responses were not helpful. Raileurope.ca came through for me and I can't wait to see Italy. Thanks again for your help!