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Eurorail - Benelux / France

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1. Posted by Midworlder (Respected Member 17 posts) 6y

Sorry I have to post here but I do seem to have a bit of trouble understanding the Eurorail Site.

AS part of my travels I will be flying into Amsterdam I intend possibly take train up to Groningen for a few days then to Utrecht (may have to go back thru Amsterdam?) then back to Amsterdam .. after a while I'm off to Brugges for a few nights and either Ypres (for last post and Menim Gate) or Lille for a night and then on to Paris

I see there is a Benelux /France pass based on the number of days,

I can't seem to find the cost of point to point tickets out of Holland, my question I guess is would the Eurorail be good value .. I think the cost of Utrecht to Amterdam which is one day of travel is only about 7 Euro so I would leave that day out and look at 4 day pass is USD 322 2nd class or $ 365 1st class

Questions for anyone more familar with rail travel than a kiwi - I think we have a couple of minature trains that go round theme parks :) - is would the pass be good value and any benefit going 1st class above 2nd if expense isn't a huge issue.

Cheers

2. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 6y

to Groningen for a few days then to Utrecht (may have to go back thru Amsterdam?)

No. The rail service in the Netherlands is frequent and very well connected. There are are direct hourly trains between Groningen and Utrecht (plus another train an hour with one change in Amersfoort, which is cross platform and easy)

I can't seem to find the cost of point to point tickets out of Holland, my question I guess is would the Eurorail be good value .. I think the cost of Utrecht to Amterdam which is one day of travel is only about 7 Euro so I would leave that day out and look at 4 day pass is USD 322 2nd class or $ 365 1st class

322USD is roughly 210euros:

Amsterdam - Groningen = 27.90euro (47.90 first class)
Groningen - Utrecht = 25.6euro (43.40)
Utrecht - Amsterdam = 6.6 euro (11.20)
Amsterdam - Brugge (not Thalys) = 42.20 ((note you need to change in Antwerpen)
Brugge - Lille = 14.90
Lille - Paris = 32.60 (on normal trains) or between 28euro and 70euro by TGV. This should be booked in advance if possible (and to make it cheaper). Note that even if you do use a Eurail, you need a compulsary reservation/Supplement which will cost about 6-10euros extra.

So, on just those trips, you will save money buying point to point, even if you just turn up and go.
And if you book your TGV to Paris in advance, you will save a significant extra amount.

On Dutch/Belgian trains, you don't get a huge amount of extra stuff for 1st class, so i'd save the money and go 2nd.

HTH, and if you've any more queries, just ask.

3. Posted by Midworlder (Respected Member 17 posts) 6y

Thanks for this very useful information. :)

I guess the only other thing I need to know is about luggage, From what I can read there is no particular luggage restriction. I would likely have a laptop, airline type carry on bag and two suitcases of 20 - 30 kilo each - anything I should know about carrying this much luggage on European train ?

4. Posted by t_maia (Moderator 3291 posts) 6y

two suitcases of 20 - 30 kilo each

This amount of luggage is totally crazy. How are you going to carry this? If you got that much stuff you would be better off renting a car.

It is not that it is forbidden or impossible to carry so much, just very very inconvenient. Most people on trains in Europe travel with just the carry-on and the size of the luggage storage racks reflects that. One large suitcase with wheels (rolling upright) plus a carry-on sized rucksack should be enough.

I've learned the hard way to never take more than 15 kgs on a trip and even those I pack into a rolling upright or a backpack. It is otherwise just too much hassle to drag stuff in and out the train, up and down countless steps inside the trainstation, into local public transport and down endless streets to a hostel and back.

I suggest an exercise: Find two sets of stairs that are about 2-3 storeys up and are about 300 meters apart. Take your 2 suitcases, your carry-on bag and your laptop and run up the first set of stairs, then down and on to the second set of stairs and up again. Try to make it in under 5 minutes. This way you'll get a realistic idea what travelling on trains is going to be like with this much luggage - it is a very realistic scenario if you need to change trains on a trainstation with no elevator and your first train is delayed.

[ Edit: Edited on Mar 1, 2008, at 3:07 PM by t_maia ]

5. Posted by Midworlder (Respected Member 17 posts) 6y

I will certainly be limiting luggage as much as possible but will be on the road for 8 months !!!!

I am on tours a lot and have a rental car at various times (England, Italy, Washington State USA)

On this leg effectively full luggage will only be the train from Amsterdam to Paris as I will be leaving one or both cases at my Amsterdam base during trips in Holland

I know it is a hassle but I'm a strong lad :)

6. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 6y

I have to agree with t_maia with her comment.

That's a huge amount!! And even if you are travelling for 8months or so, that seems vastly over the top. If you need certain specific things for certain places (eg, you may have scuba gear for 1month, or need a few fancy suits etc if you are working for a bit) it is a bit more understandable, but i'd still advise against it. Either rent equiptment for arrange for people to send stuff to you at certain times so you don't have to carry it the whole way. I'm not actually joking when i say that i've moved house with less stuff than that on more than one occassion.

Still, if you decide to go with it, good luck! You are correct that there are no luggage restrictions of that sort, though bags/cases which can be lifted onto overhead racks are a bonus. Otherwise, each carriage has some racks at each end for the cases.

7. Posted by t_maia (Moderator 3291 posts) 6y

I know it is a hassle but I'm a strong lad

Ok, so you are 2 meters tall and are 110 kgs of pure muscle. The maximum amount of luggage anybody can carry comfortably over a length of time (say 8 months) without damage to their health is one-third of their body weight. That would be 37 kgs for you - total, including the weight of the laptop and the carry-on bag.

I estimate the total weight of the luggage you currently intend to take at 70 kgs. If this is 1/3 of your body weight, you really really need to slim down!

I strongly advise you to leave at least one bag at home. And if you will really be on the road for 8 months you would be better off not with a suitcase but with a large backpack. With a well-fitted backpack you'll find that you are able to carry a much heavier load than with a suitcase, plus it will be sturdier and much better to handle over rough terrain.

You would not be the first traveller to set out with such a huge amount of luggage only to find that you don't really need it. I'll admit that I've always sniggered at people who started out with 2 suitcases and a small backback, left one or both of the suitcases at a hostel on the road and then wondered 3 months and a continent later how to get the stuff shipped to them for propriety's sake.

[ Edit: Edited on Mar 5, 2008, at 12:59 PM by t_maia ]

8. Posted by t_maia (Moderator 3291 posts) 6y

I strongly recommend that you read Gelli's packing list:

http://www.travellerspoint.com/forum.cfm?thread=25048&start=11

9. Posted by jaxstar84 (Respected Member 415 posts) 6y

ive been travelling for 16 months and i have about 25kgs....... 2 bags of 20-30kgs is absolutely not necessary, even if youre a diva-esque woman with a gazillion diff outfits...

youll thank us when you get over here, DONT TAKE THAT MUCH!!!!!!!!
its insanity. and totally unnecessary...

10. Posted by Midworlder (Respected Member 17 posts) 6y

Ok .. I'm back .. noted everyones warnings and will be having a trial pack this weekend hopefully, certainly allowed to take upto the almost 70kg but hoping to do it on 40kg .. or less in fact .. I will be on organised tours for 4 months of the time so luggage won't be such an issue then just the self arranged trips the only time I am on the road for a long time without tour support is a month driving around England ..

Hard sided suitcase and a supplementary backpack may be the way to go, that way non essential stuff can be left in Airport lockers that I come back to eg Miami .. or people like the kind B&B lady in Amsterdam who has said she will keep my luggage while I flit around Holland for a week .

Thanks for the warning everyone .. will be posting most purchases back as well so hopefully won't be accumulating too much extra.

Will study the suggested packing list too .. thanks