Skip Navigation

Questions about train travel

Travel Forums Europe Questions about train travel

1. Posted by grampsgirl (Budding Member 311 posts) 10y

Im going to be travelling from Prais to rome and back again, i was wondering , should i book my seats on a train before i go over, or would it be easier to book them while im over there, im plannin on taking 2 over night trains, one from paris to Romer and one from Florence to the airport. Any tips here would be great


2. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 10y

Hello Baby girl

If u book them in advance, on the internet, u may be able to avail of bargins. Sometimes there are special offers.
And if u buy your tickets, in advance, then the trains will not be already booked up.


3. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 10y

I may have missed something, but when I went to book a train ticket within France before my trip, I wasn't allowed to pre-book because I didn't live in Europe. I just bought it at the station when I arrived, and I didn't encounter any problems. Except hopping from seat to seat in the train because people had reserved tickets, but it wasn't indicated anywhere in the train. I think I had to get up and move 5 times!

4. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 10y

You can book on the internet, even if you aren't from France, at least on the Thalys site. I did it. Basically, you say you are from France and then choose to pick up the ticket at the station.

When travelling from Paris to Brussels in Oct of 2005, I booked online (the SNCF website as linked above) and choose to pick up my tickets. Just put FRANCE in the RECEIVE OR PICK UP TICKETS box. For the address, I just put in the address of my hotel. I had no issues with paying or picking up the tickets.

The only issue I had was that my North American issued credit card wouldn't work in the automated machines, so I had to go and see a live agent at Paris Nord.

There was a thread on another forum that runs through a STEP-BY-STEP process. Here it is:

MorganB's instructions to book tickets on the internet from Flyertalk's Buying a TGV ticket on line in US - pick up in France.

Here's a mega step by step how to that I typed up. NOTE: This is written with people in mind that reside in countries that the SNCF does not mail directly to. I have written it particularly for US residents however it should apply to any country that cannot have their tickets mailed.

1. Go to
2. Look for the british flag at the bottom left of the page and click on it.
3. Click "advanced Search"
4. In the "going from" enter your departure city
5. In the "going to Box" enter your destination
6. Check the direct route only box if you know that direct service is offered
7. Select single or return
8. Enter outward and return date
9. Enter departure time. If you want to see all the times for the day enter an early hour like 5 am then you can page through all of the times through out the day. This is a good idea if you are seeking out a cheap fare and will travel at any time. Otherwise put in the earliest time you are willing to travel.
10. Select class and leave reservation as yes
11. Enter who is traveling. NOTE: You may put a senior and it will offer PREMS as well as senior fares. However, if you put a child it will only offer a child fare for them and you wont be able to print at all so it is best to enter child as an adult, perform a search and look at prices. Then you can enter adults and child and see which is cheaper.
12. Enter reduced fare card info if you have one which is unlikely for a tourist as they are designed for residents.
13. Select FRANCE as the country where you will collect your tickets.
14. Click submit.
15. You will be presented with your outward journey where you may select the outbound fares. Fares with the yellow background are the cheapest, a blue background is the mid price and grey is most expensive and tends to be flexible. Green background tends to be a class upgrade suggestion.
16. If you do not like the times you may click "see the following trains" to go to the next page of trains.
17. Click on Options to select seating options for the train that you have chosen. If its an iDTGV click on ambience.
18. Once you find the fare / time you want select "choose this outward journey" located next to the choosen time/ fare.
19. You will be presented with return journey fares/ times. Repeate steps 15-18.
20. Once you find the fare / time you want select "choose this return journey" located next to the choosen time/ fare.
21. You may or may not be offered cancellation insurance. Make your selection
1. possible options given to you:
Confirm your order by paying online and choose to:
Print your ticket yourself to save time
Receive your ticket free by post
Collect your ticket from an automatic ticket machine (except for business cards and the "Frequent Traveller and Flat Rate" season tickets) or from station ticket office or Boutiques (in France only).
Choose a single option to be confirmed later:
You must pay and collect your ticket before the XX/XX/20XX at XXhXX sur or from an automatic ticket machine (except for trade cards and "Frequent Journey and Season Ticket" rail cards) of from station ticket offices and Boutiques (in France only).
NOTE: Only certain options are available based on the fare you select or the MIX of fares you have selected.
Only PREMS fares for your entire order = Printable
PREMS plus any other fare = MAIL ONLY which is not an option so you need to go back and look for PREMS only
iDTGV = always printable, even when mixed with other fares
You should NEVER select to have tickets mailed if you live in the USA. This is a huge risk and could create massive problems if you do not get them.
2. Select Print ticket if available. If not available select to Collect your tickets. If you only want to make a reservation without paying then you can select to place an option that will expire if not paid for by date given.
3. Enter your surname, first name and E-mail address NOTE: This has nothing to do with the name on printed tickets. This is mearly info on the person placing the order.
4. Leave address info BLANK.
5. Check the box to accept the Conditions of Sale
6. Press confirm
7. You will be taken to a page to enter credit card info etc.

5. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 10y

Dang. I should have checked with you first, Greg! :)