Please sign in to post.

Reservations about reservations

If my tickets are for 1st class seats, does this limit me from making 2nd class reservations to save money? Should I make them online for major cities and just get them at the station for the smaller ones? What site should I use?

Posted by
32272 posts

elijah,

I'm not entirely clear on your question?

Do you already have first class tickets? Why not just buy second class tickets (with reservations if required)? What countries are you going to be travelling in?

I never buy tickets online. It's easy to buy tickets at the stations in Europe, either from agents or automated ticket machines. They're usually cheaper if you buy in Europe.

You might find it helpful to download the free PDF Rail Guide from this website. Click the "Railpasses" tab at the top and then look in the lower right corner for "Rail Guide".

Cheers!

Posted by
23472 posts

This is not making sense. Are you asking about a rail pass seat reservation? Why didn't buy second class and save more money?

Posted by
15718 posts

With this and other questions you've been asking, I'm going to suggest you get a copy of "Europe Through The Back Door" by Rick Steves. (the 2010 edition just came out.) It will answer so many of your questions and make you a more confident and educated traveler.

Posted by
19171 posts

Unless you purchase reservations in advance from a stateside seller like RailEurope, seat reservations are not expensive. At the ticket counter, at least in Germany, the difference is only a few Euro (€4 vs €6), but, yes, you can sit in second class, and reserve a seat, with a first class ticket. For Germany, if you do get reservations in advance, the best place to get them is on the Bahn website.

Posted by
23 posts

Not sure what is unclear...I have 1st class tickets, and want to know if this forces me to make my reservations in 1st class. I also am asking if I have to buy tickets ahead of time from major cities or if full trains are not an issue. If I should buy online, what site should I use? I have read Steve's book, that's why i'm on this forum in the first place..it doesn't say anything about 1st class eurail pass holders wanting to make 2nd class reservations. My impression was I could not buy a 2nd class pass as i'm over 26 years old...

Posted by
4555 posts

Elijah....there were questions because you said you had "first class tickets," which usually already come with whatever reservation/supplement included. If you had indicated initially that you had a Eurail pass, the answers might have been clearer. No, there is nothing to stop a first-class passholder from making second-class reservations...but after what you'll pay for your railpass, the difference in price in most countries would be minimal.
As for whether reservations are necessary, it depends on when you are travelling, and in which countries you plan to travel. Most countries limit passholder reservations, so they go a lot quicker than individual point-to-point tickets, which include whatever reservation/supplement is necessary. An indication as to your routes would elicit some better information.
As well, have you checked the national rail websites of the countries in which you plan to travel? You may find that point to point tickets are far cheaper.
As for being over 26, that's not necessarily a bar to purchasing a second-class Eurail pass....it depends on which pass you are looking for. Raileurope.com is a good source for reviewing that matter.

Posted by
15718 posts

If you have a first-class railpass, why are you worrying about buying tickets from major stations? The railpass should cover most of your major trips. All you have to do is make reservations on certain trains that require them--and most don't.

If you want to sit in 2nd class after paying for a first class railpass, you can do it. If you haven't purchased the rail pass yet, I'd look at the cost of P2P tickets first. It may be cheaper to buy 2nd Class P2P tickets than a first class rail pass. It depends on how long you're traveling and where.

Posted by
15718 posts

Norm, I was referring to regional trains when I said no reservations were needed because the OP mentioned "smaller stations."

Posted by
4555 posts

Frank II "All you have to do is make reservations on certain trains that require them--and most don't." I'm not sure I follow that line of reasoning....it seems to be very dependent on which countries Elijah may be visiting. AFAIK, all high-speed trains in France, Spain, and Italy will require reservations/supplements from passholders, as will the Thalys train Amsterdam-Paris and the Eurostar Paris-London. While it may be true that, by volume, most trains don't need reservations, I'm not sure that those slower commuter or local trains are used as much by foreigners as the trains that require reservations/supplements.
As an aside, if there's one country in Europe where a national railpass might be a good idea, it's Spain. Their AVE trains are very expensive (unless you book ahead on the RENFE website for up to 60% off) but reservations are relatively inexpensive...five or 10 Euro. Considering that the walkup prices for Madrid-Barcelona start at 109 Euro (second class!) that may make a Spain pass worthwhile. Even through RailEurope, a second class reservation is only $15 U-S.

Posted by
3580 posts

I think elijah must have the global pass that comes only in 1st class. His question is a good one if he wants to know if he can save money on the reservation by using 2nd class reservations. My guess is that the railroad wouldn't care. They do care if you have a 2nd class ticket and are in a 1st class car.

A lot of the train questions seem to be asked by people who aren't familiar with a printed train schedule. I've always gotten an abbreviated European schedule when buying passes from ETBD. The train schedule needs to be studied, with small print understood, before you can make some of these decisions about reservations. There are lots of symbols for days of operation, amenities on the train, and various ways of telling whether reservations are suggested, required, or not available. Some trains run only certain months or days. Some have different schedules for Sundays and holidays.

Posted by
59 posts

Elijah must have a railpass not tickets. I would be surprised if we hear from him again as he is embarassed he couldn't make himself understood! Hope I am incorrect.

Posted by
23 posts

Well as I am a professor of concise and clear argumentative writing, it is rather ironic, but there isn't anything to be embarrassed about because I merely didn't know that it mattered if I had a eurail pass or not. I do have the global thirty day pass. I am traveling in Spain, Portugal, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Greece and Italy so it seemed like the best choice. So given this, I suppose my biggest question is if I can go buy my reservations in the morning of the day I plan to leave if I am taking a night train, or do I need to get them well in advance, and if so what site should I use?

Posted by
32272 posts

elijah,

"a professor of concise and clear argumentative writing". Considering the apparent confusion here, YES that is rather ironic!

A few additional points that may help.

I'm assuming you're over 26, and therefore buying a first class Rail pass was the only option available? AFAIK you can buy reservations and travel in second class if you wish. As Rick indicates in ETBD, "Those with first-class passes may travel in second-class Compartments (although the Conductor may give you a puzzled look)".

"if I can go buy my reservations in the morning of the day I plan to leave if I am taking a night train"

I normally buy reservations for outgoing rail trips when I arrive in each city (since I'm at the station anyway). That's often a few days before I'll be travelling, and so far there haven't been any problems in getting a reservation. You may be successful in getting reservations on the day you'll be travelling but if it's a weekend or holiday you could find all Couchettes may be "sold out". I never buy reservations in advance on the Net, so that's not something I would ever suggest. Those usually cost more and buying these far in advance is usually not necessary.

I find that it's a good idea to research journeys on night trains (I usually use the bahn.de website). If there are several changes during the night, you won't be getting much sleep! As you're using a "Global Pass", I'm not sure there will be any concerns about the "7 pm Rule"?

You might find it helpful to download the free PDF Rail Guide from this website. Click the "Railpasses" tab at the top and then look in the lower right corner for the link. Some of the information contained in the Guide will be included with your Rail pass.

One caveat to mention. Especially in Italy, don't be caught without a reservation on a train where this is required, or you'll be fined on the spot. I learned that "the hard way".

Cheers!

Posted by
4555 posts

Elijah....reservations for NIGHT TRAINS are HIGHLY recommended. I would not try to purchase extra sleeping accommodations a day or two before I planned to travel. RailEurope or Euraid would be your two sites to check...RailEurope for a couple of reservation....Euraid if you have several to make.