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Should I get a RailPass?

Travel Forums Europe Should I get a RailPass?

1. Posted by kmcnally (Budding Member 3 posts) 1y

Hi!

My friend and I are planning on backpacking this summer and would like some advice regarding the Rail Pass and if it is a good option for our needs. I have read mixed reviews everywhere, and am hoping someone can advise based on our trip.

We are hoping to travel with some flexibility, which is why we are considering the rail pass as opposed to point to point tickets.

Our main train routes would be:

Madrid to Barcelona
Barcelona to Paris
Paris to Nice
Nice to Venice
Venice to Rome
Rome to Patras (Ferry)

I believe most of these routes require reservations, so is it worth it to get the rail pass if we are still going to have to book our tickets in advance and pay additional reservation fees? How early should we be looking to book tickets on trains with reservations? Months before? Weeks? Days?

On that same note, if we are buying point to point tickets how early should we purchase them if we want to get a good price? We are two students so we are trying to make our trip as economic as possible.

Thanks in advance!

2. Posted by hasbeen (Respected Member 630 posts) 1y

Hi,

I cannot answer your specific question but, in case you have not seen it yet, THE MAN IN SEAT 61 is a mine of information on all things train.

Happy travels.

Steve

[ Edit: Edited on 05-Jan-2015, at 18:30 by hasbeen ]

3. Posted by WomBatt (Full Member 133 posts) 1y

There is no way to avoid it - YOU will have to do the monetary maths. comparisons. If 'we are trying to make our trip as economic as possible' is more important than 'some flexibility' or the reverse applies, then YOU will have to decide what weighting to apply. The link provided above is all you need for the tuition.

4. Posted by kmcnally (Budding Member 3 posts) 1y

Thank you for the link and replies.

After looking at the website there are some things that I still find very confusing so I am hoping to get a clear response by posting here.

Are international trains entering/leaving France subject to the France rail pass holder quota?

If not, how early is it suggested that reservations be made for international trains in peak season? Is a day or two in advance considered enough time to secure a seat?

Everything I have read just says to reserve "ahead of time" which is very vague.

I'm hoping someone has experienced this and can share their findings.

Thank you!

5. Posted by hasbeen (Respected Member 630 posts) 1y

Quoting kmcnally

Thank you for the link and replies.

After looking at the website there are some things that I still find very confusing so I am hoping to get a clear response by posting here.

Are international trains entering/leaving France subject to the France rail pass holder quota?

If not, how early is it suggested that reservations be made for international trains in peak season? Is a day or two in advance considered enough time to secure a seat?

Everything I have read just says to reserve "ahead of time" which is very vague.

I'm hoping someone has experienced this and can share their findings.

Thank you!

Hi,

Yes - it is all very confusing I admit.

If no one answers your questions here, this is the link to ask the man in Seat 61 His e mail link

Steve

6. Posted by hasbeen (Respected Member 630 posts) 1y

Although he does have a bit that might answer your question under " InterRail passes - a warning about quotas..;" about 11 pages down on this link

steve

[ Edit: Edited on 06-Jan-2015, at 17:37 by hasbeen ]

7. Posted by kmcnally (Budding Member 3 posts) 1y

Perfect that answers all my questions thank you!

It's such an extensive site I was having trouble keeping track of the information and understanding it.

I appreciate the help :)

8. Posted by hasbeen (Respected Member 630 posts) 1y

Thanks for the thanks. Appreciated.

Steve