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Eurail Pass_How to Get Tickets

Hi all,

I am helping my college daughter plan several train trips over her upcoming Fall Break, an 11-day period between Italy - France - Spain. I read Rick's tips about train passes.

Point to point, it comes to $576 (using an Ouigo train or two). A Eurail Global Mobile Flex Pass is $275 for 7 days of travel. (This is for my 21-year old.)  Am I missing anything?

Her itinerary:
Depart from Florence
Lauterbrunnen
Colmar
Paris
Unplanned Location (would love suggestions for her!)
Barcelona (will fly back to Florence from Barcelona)

Looks like the Eurail Pass is the way to go, right?

Thank you!!

Posted by
2259 posts

Where did you get the prices for the point to point tickets?

Posted by
572 posts

I typically use Trainline, although I looked up the France trips on en.oui.scf.

Posted by
6056 posts

CaliMom, how about showing the actual numbers you came up with for each of those trip segments? It would help narrow down what possible things you might not be taking into account. With various discount ticketing options, the main advantage for passes is flexibility - decide to stay an extra day, for example Even that is tempered since you still need to pay for seat reservations with a pass on many trains.

(added) Wait, if she is studying in Italy, she may be eligible to get the more appropriate Interrail pass. Its designed for European students, but only available there. Someone confirm.

Posted by
875 posts

Based on the itinerary listed, $275.00 pass looks like the way to go. The itinerary is a lot of miles.

Posted by
2978 posts

Does that Eurail price include the cost of seat reservations on the trains that require them?

Posted by
572 posts

No, it doesn't. Good point. They need to figure out the "beach town" and then perhaps fly a leg.

I think I'll post a question about this last town they are looking for and then get back to transportation.

Posted by
16165 posts

When is this college fall break going to happen? Remember, she needs to buy reservations for the legs from Florence to Milan, and Milan to Spiez (unless she chooses to use regional trains to the Italian border with more changes). Colmar to Paris, Paris to Barcelona. When in Berner Oberland, she only gets a 25% discount on the local trains from Interlaken Ost onward and any lifts or trains up into the mountains.

There is more to it than just buying a Eurail Pass. As previously posted, if she is a legal resident (with a student visa) she would be eligible for the Interrail Pass. A Eurail Pass is not available for sale in Europe.

Since she seems to have only 4 major legs, maybe a 4-day Global is the way to go. With only a 25% discount in the Berner Oberland, might as well just pay full fare for day trips there.

Posted by
572 posts

Hi Sam,

Yes she is a legal US citizen with an Italian student visa. This trip starts a week from tomorrow (hence why I’ve stepped into help) 😊😊😊 They have three nights booked in Lauterbrunnen but that’s it.

Kinda crazy, I know!

Posted by
16165 posts

Just as long as she knows the rules regarding what trains need seat reservations and she needs to take a break at Interlaken Ost and buy a ticket to Lauterbrunnen. The trains there go every 30 minutes, so nothing to worry about. There are prominent signs on the platform warning that Eurail/Interrail passes are not valid. They do get a 25% discount on the tickets. Another quirk at Interlaken Ost is that trains to Lauterbrunnen also have a train to Grindelwald attached to it. The trains split at Zweiluetschinen, so she should make sure she is in the right carriage. They are well marked.

Posted by
259 posts

If she buys a Eurail Pass I would caution you that we, and many others, had a terrible time with glitches in the Eurail app. The problem is that Eurail has ZERO real time help, no phone number or any other way to get help from them when you are on the ground. The only way we resolved the glitch was by reading posts from other people who were also having the same problems with the crappy app and had found a workaround. We have used Eurail passes a lot in the past but always used paper tickets. Wished we would’ve this time too because the glitch in their app that we and many others had caused a lot of unneeded stress on our recent trip, mostly because they have no help at all available.

Posted by
572 posts

I don't see that the kids are eligible for the Interrail Pass. I can't find anything about foreigners with student visas.

Sam, are you saying that the Eurail Pass isn't valid on the Swiss trains? I am seeing Milano to Spiez to Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen on Trainline for next Friday for $145.

Then from Lauterbrunnen to Paris is another $150+ (although I think they are stopping in Strasbourg or Colmar for a night.)

So, even the 4-day Eurail Global Mobile Flex Pass for $219 is better than $300 for these two trips, right?

https://www.raileurope.com/en-us/passes/europe-w0axa2

Posted by
16165 posts

No, I am saying that the Eurail Pass is not valid on trains owned by the Berner Oberland Bahn (BOB). These are, among others, the trains from Interlaken Ost to Lauterbrunnen. Also trains from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen, Kleine Scheidegg, and Grindelwald. Also the trains from Kleine Scheidegg to the Jungfraujoch, nor the lift and trains from Lauterbrunnen to Muerren. The Eurail pass does give them a 25% discount, but they still have to buy tickets. The full fare ticket from Interlaken Ost and Lauterbrunnen is 7.60 CHF, so she can buy that ticket for 5.70 CHF. She will need that going to Lauterbrunnen and also on the return to Interlaken Ost to connect to trains to Basel to go to Colmar.

Posted by
2259 posts

If she has a valid residence permit, she is eligible for an Interrail pass. And if this is a trip that starts next week, it might be a very good idea. Long distance train tickets have flexible prices and if buy them with this short notice they will be expensive. Interrail tickets are valid on Swiss trains, but not on all "private" railways.

But, avoid 3rd party ticket resellers. For interrail tickets, use https://www.interrail.eu and nothing else. For single tickets, use the railway company that actually runs the trains. Looking at www.sbb.ch I see Milan to Lauterbrunnen next friday for 94 CHF (about €88). Also, use local currency when planning to avoid any currency conversion errors.

Posted by
16165 posts

To confirm for yourself, download this validity map from Eurail (and it is the same for Interrail, and I really don't know which she is eligible for). This site also gives sample reservation fees for popular routes, like Paris-Barcelona.

https://www.eurail.com/en/plan-your-trip/railway-map

Note that in the detailed map of Switzerland, Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen is not a solid line, but a dotted line, meaning discount only. I believe the Florence-Milan leg on the fast trains is 10 EUR. Milan to Spiez on the EC train also requires a reservation, but she could take a slower regional train to Domodossola without a reservation and connect to a Swiss regional train to Spiez without a reservation.

Posted by
572 posts

I think they are settled:

Florence to Lauterbrunnen
Lauterbrunnen to Colmar
Colmar to Paris
Paris to Barcelona

4 days of train travel for a $218 Eurail Pass with a few extras for seats and Bern Oberland trains is the way I read it.

Posted by
572 posts

Hi all,

Thought I would try my old thread because we are having some difficulty. We are trying to book Paris to Barcelona on Friday, October 29th but the Rail Europe wants to mail paper tickets even though we purchased the Global Mobile Pass. There is no time to mail tickets. Does anyone have a suggestion?

Thank you!

Posted by
572 posts

Oh I thought we had to use the Eurail website since this is one of the 4 days in our 4-day Pass. Is that not the case?

Posted by
2422 posts

Eurail and Rail Europe are really not the same, hence the confusion!

No idea about Eurail/Interrail reservations sadly.

Posted by
572 posts

Yes, sorry. I thought it was the same company. The 4-day Eurail Global Mobile Flex Pass is what was purchased. We had no problem buying:

Florence to Interlaken
Interlaken to Colmar
Colmar to Paris

But when we try to purchase Barcelona to Paris, it says tickets must be mailed and a warning comes up saying there is not enough time to receive the tickets via mail.

Posted by
2259 posts

Have you tried calling SNCF? Otherwise they might be able to make reservations at the station when they arrive in Paris.

Posted by
2422 posts

Yes, reservations can be made at the station. Best done when they arrive if possible, the line is long and it takes patience, and reservations for international French trains do sell out! In which case alternatives do exist, but take several hours longer.

Posted by
572 posts

They are headed to the big station in Florence today to see if anyone can help. They also are going to try at the Colmar station, then, yes Paris.

Someone suggested they call Renfe to reserve seats as there is a note deep into the Eurail site that says Spanish train tickets must be mailed.

We will add calling SCNF and seeing if they can help.

Thank you!

Posted by
19160 posts

I recall complaints here from one or two folks who bought a single-country Spanish rail pass and then discovered their only option was to show up at a Spanish train station to get the tickets they needed.

Posted by
2422 posts

The station in Florence will definitely NOT be able to help, no need to waste time. Colmar is the best bet! Line is likely to be shorter there than in Paris (if the station office is manned when they are there, that is).