Train travel Eurraill pass or not???

Hello, We will be travelling to Germany and then on to Austria for a few days, and then on to Italy. While in Italy we will visit Venice, Milan, Florence, Pisa and then down to Rome. As we will be doing most of our travel by train, would it be better (financially) for us to buy eurrail passes before we leave, or should we just buy tickets there at the train stations?
Thank you, Jo

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
11286 posts

It depends. You need to define an itinerary. Use the Austrian Rail website (www.oebb.at), the Italian Rail website , and the German Rail (Bahn) website to find fares in each country and between countries. The sites should show you standard fares, which is what you would pay at the station on the day of travel. Compare the cost of tickets with the cost of a pass. However, if you can plan in advance, there are considerable savings to be had with advance purchase. In my experience, a rail pass won't come close to comparing with the advance purchase tickets.

Posted by Monte
Genesee, ID
1376 posts

We stopped buying Eurail passes two trips ago. Some people have ordered train tickets from here before they leave. We buy our's at the train stations there, and if you can plan ahead at least seventy-two hours at each stop you can save quite a bit of money. If you buy your ticket seventy-two hours before you use it there is about a 1/3 saving. That's at least two nights at any one place. We would get off the train, buy our ticket for the next leg og the trip, and leave seventy-two hours later, and save a bunch of money.

Posted by Jo
San Diego, Ca, USA
13 posts

Thanks so much for your reply. I'll check out the train prices and we will go from there.
Jo

Posted by Sherry
San Jose, CA
1139 posts

Jo, if you still find yourself with questions, the folks who sell rail passes at the Rick Steves office were very helpful when I was deciding whether the pass made sense. There's a phone number listed on this website. In Italy, I've not found that passes make financial sense, but they may, since you're visiting multiple countries. What caught me by surprise was that some countries limit the number of seats available for rail passes. In France I ended up having to buy a ticket (and leave a segment of the pass unused) because... although plenty of seats were available... there were no rail pass seats available. That was the last time I bought a pass. So you might want to check whether the countries you'll be visiting limit the number of seats for passes, and if they do, reserve those segments really early.

Posted by Jo
San Diego, Ca, USA
13 posts

Sherry, Thank you for your advice. I am hearing more negative rather than positive stories about the passes. So we think we might just purchase tix in country a few days before we travel. Thanks again.
Jo