I will be traveling to Germany and Prague with my family (my wife and 3 kids) in early June. I'm looking for advice on train/bus travel between Berlin and Prague and Prague and Munich. Specifically, I'm wondering if it is necessary to buy advanced tickets for those 2 legs of our trip. We are not buying rail passes and we would prefer to be flexible about when we leave, but I'm concerned that those 2 routes may be busy during early June. Any thoughts?
Bill, while it is constraining, the beauty of buying train tickets in advance is the sweet pricing that is available, even in 1st class (which can be a nice uptick for 5 hour rides.) Terms and conditions do apply on advance purchases BUT you may want to consider it.
As a for instance, you could pay 29 euro for the combo bus/train ride from Prague to Munich now, or pay 100 euro when you get there.
Bill, I don't normally buy tickets in advance, as I prefer some flexibility and don't like to be "locked into" a specific departure. However as the others have said, savings are possible by pre-purchasing tickets. The quickest and easiest way to get from Berlin to Prague is via direct train. For example, there's a departure from Berlin Hbf at 08:46, arriving Praha hl.n at 13:26 (time 4H:40M, subject to reservation). They have savings fares currently listed at €39 PP, but I don't know if that's also a children's fare. Hopefully Lee or one of the others can clarify that. For travel from Prague to Munich, you have a choice of travel by train, Bus/Train combination or direct Bus. The quickest will likely be the direct Bus. A departure at 10:30 will get you to Munich by 15:09 (time 4H:39M, subject to compulsory reservation, current fares listed at €29 PP). You can have a look at the various options by using the www.bahn.de/i/view/USA/en/index.shtml website. When planning your trips, you'll need to specify the correct departure and arrival stations, since there are several stations in some of the cities you'll be visiting. If you have any further details to work out, you might consider attending the next meeting of the Denver RS group, which will likely be held the third Saturday of May at a local Panera Bread outlet. Details will be posted in advance in the "General Europe" section of the HelpLine. Happy travels!
Strongly consider reservations on the trains for those routes. When I went from Berlin to Dresden (on the same train that continues to Prague), it was crowded, particularly on the return, when people were sitting on their luggage in the aisle. But because my mother and I had reserved seats (only €4 each), we simply went to our reserved seats, stowed our luggage on top, and settled in. Particularly for a group of 5, you'll want reserved seats, so you don't have to sit far apart (or not get to sit at all). Yes, if you want flexibility, it costs more; if you want to save money, you lose flexibility. Ah, the tradeoffs of life <g>. We saved a lot by buying advance tickets, and it's easy to do on the Bahn website. Enter the details of all the travelers (including ages), and you can see the Saver price and the full price. The difference between them may convince you to commit now.