Passes vs. individual tickets

All, When traveling between major cities as a group of 4 (2 adults, 2 children), is it better to invest in train passes or individual tickets between cities? Specifically London->Paris->Brussels->Amsterdam My quick research tells me individual tickets are cheaper, but wanted to get expert's opinions. We don't need flexibility since places to stay are basically booked. Thanks in advance for your response.

Posted by Marie
San Diego, CA, United States
857 posts

I'd just buy individual tickets WITH seat reservations. This way you can pick the time of day you want to travel and can be assured of sitting together. Anyway, this is what we do. Reserved seating is however, 1st not 2nd class. Frankly, I don't need the hassle when on vacation of hunting for a seat never mind 4 seats together if traveling with children. FYI seat reservations are not available on what I call milk run trains. A 1st class ticket pretty much insures that you'll all be able to be in the same car however.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2797 posts

Passes won't do much good on this route, because these trains have heavy supplements even for pass holders. Book NOW for best prices. London to Paris: use Eurostar at http://www.eurostar.com
Paris to Brussels, and Brussels to Amsterdam: use Thalys at http://www.thalys.com I'm not fully sure what Marie means. She's right that milk run trains (like regional trains in Italy) don't allow seat reservations. But, if a train does allow reservations, it allow them in both first and second class. So, take the one you prefer. I do agree that for four traveling together, you want reserved seats. I thought that the Thalys and Eurostar are all-reserved (each ticket comes with the mandatory seat reservation), so buying 4 tickets together should take care of getting seats together.

Posted by Bob
Minneapolis
589 posts

Hi Mike. Yes, buy individual tickets, not passes. (fyi contrary to other poster, seat reservations are available in second class). Enjoy your trip!

Posted by Sasha
Bainbridge Island
1581 posts

Passes do not cover the Eurostar from London to Paris anyway. The earlier you buy the Eurostar tickets, the lower the price will be. Check it out now.

Posted by Mike
San Jose, CA, USA
3 posts

Thanks all for your replies. I've booked the Eurostar already and will be looking at Thalys this week. This confirmed my thoughts which puts my mind at ease. Happy traveling.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10840 posts

Not sure what Marie is trying to say other than she prefer 1st class but you can reserve seats in 2nd class as well 1st class. For a group of 4 your might prefer 2nd class seating as it is 2x2 or 2 facing 2. In first, it will be 2x 1 so the odd person out sits by themselves.