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Rail Pass vs Individual Tickets: Which would be cheaper?

Looking to save money on train transportation during my trip Landing in Brussels or Cologne, then using cologne as a base for exploring the Rhine-land area for 3 or 4 days, then going to Nuremberg to use as a base for exploring Bavaria for 4 or 5 days, then Fussen for a day, then Stuttgart or Baden-Baden for exploring the Black Forest/Baden-Wurtemberg area for 3 or 4 days, then off to Paris, Rouen, Mentz and back to Brussels after 4 days of seeing Northern France. Should I go with a rail pass or just buy individual tickets? How should I approach a rail pass if I should buy a pass or passes?

Posted by
5 posts

Use the Rail Europe website to check on individual ticket prices then check the multi-day passes. In my experience, the passes are a better option. However, I just booked with British rail and the individual tickets beat the pass prices. Also, don't overlook the "rail passes" link on Rick Steves site.

Posted by
4360 posts

I can't check into your entire itinerary, but Absolutely Don't Use Rail Europe For Your Information! Start with bahn.com for German prices and skeds for ALL of Europe, tgv-Europe.com for France. Especially if you can commit to online purchases ahead of time (that lock you in to specific trains and dates), you can get great savings by purchasing ahead of time online. Germany has some great fares and regional offers. You have to price out your trip, but there aren't many trips anymore that really benefit from a railpass.

Posted by
12270 posts

Hi, Where in Northern France, one of my favourite areas in France? Which cities and towns?

Posted by
17943 posts

If you use RailEurope to price individual tickets you probably will conclude that a pass is a better option, but it's not a valid comparison. Prices from RailEurope are a lot higher than the prices you can get from other sources. 1. RailEurope sells tickets for only a small subset of European trains, generally the fastest and most expensive trains, and they usually sell those tickets for above, sometimes far above, the counter price over there. 2. There are much better prices available (Savings fares and Länder tickets in Germany) direct from the national rail lines than you can get from RailEurope. Before my trips to Europe, I compare the price of a rail pass to the price of tickets for my itinerary using these discount options, and a pass never comes close to paying off. But do do your own comparison. Just use the right source for ticket prices.

Posted by
21171 posts

No experienced traveler relies on Rail Europe for ticket pricing information. They are a travel agency selling rail ticket to North American at often a substantial mark up. They do not sell any discount tickets. Even with a rail pass you will have additional fees for seat reservations on premium trains so those costs must be added into the rail pass cost.