I will be traveling to Europe in June. Our flight arrives in London. We want to take the train to Paris, then the train to Munich. There we want to rent a car and drive around ending in Frankfurt. From there we want to take the train back to Paris and then to London. What kind of tickets are best for this? The whole trip is a little over 2 weeks and there are 4 in our group. I don't have the first clue what kind or how to buy the rail tickets. Help!
" The Man in Seat 61 " website is precisely what the doctor orders !!
First of all, if you haven't already bought your flights, don't book a round trip to London. Book open jaws (called "multi city" on Kayak, Expedia, etc), into London and out of Munich or Frankfurt. Even if this is a more expensive than RT to London, you will save time and money by not backtracking. In your case, the time is even more important; with only two weeks to see all those places, you can't waste any days returning to London. Don't look at two one-way tickets - that's much more expensive. As for rail tickets, you will want Eurostar from London to Paris (buy on Eurostar.com), and French rail from Paris to Munich or Frankfurt (buy on http://www.tgv-europe.com, choose Great Britain as your country, and refuse to be redirected to Rail Europe). Buy as soon as the tickets go on sale (90-120 days before travel) for best prices, and realize that these tickets are non-changeable and non-refundable (that's why they're cheap).
www.bahn.de sometimes has cheaper fares available for journeys into and out of Germany than Rail Europe, and doesn't have the redirect problem.
London-Paris: Book ASAP (up to 120 days allowed) on eurostar.com to get the lowest discount fare. Paris-Munich: Book ASAP (up to 92 days allowed) on the German Rail site to get the lowest discount fare on high-speed daytime trains or the direct CNL night train. Book open jaw (multi-city) plane tickets and fly home-London and Frankfurt-home.