This is something I never comprehend. A basic pass that links only 2 countries costs a few hundred bucks (and we're not even talking about several countries here). I realised that all seats have been automatically bumped up to First Class (there's no other choice)...!
How are the prices justified? (Is it in terms of the food served [are there any?] or the breathtaking scenary? I've never been on Eurorail before and I must say the prices aren't very attractive...
Normal train prices in Europe are the basis for calculations.
The railway companies do not loose any money on these passes, most travellers spent roughly the same on Eurail passes they would otherwise spend on point-to-point tickets.
As a rule one hour of train travel in Europe (not the UK) is roughly 10 EUR. Berlin-Amsterdam for example is 110 EUR one-way, which works out to 165 USD. Double the price for 1st class.
Now plan a trip with the Eurail Global pass that goes Vienna - Munich - Berlin - Amsterdam - Paris -Barcelona - Madrid. These cost roughly 60 to 120 EUR one-way second class. Still think that Eurail pass is expensive?
Plus if you cannot afford to buy the Eurail pass you probably cannot afford to go to Europe either. It currently takes 160 USD per day for a couple just to survive staying in hostel dorm and eating food from the supermarket. Multiply that by 15 days and add the cost of the flight ticket from the USA ...
[ Edit: Edited on May 19, 2008, at 11:20 PM by t_maia ]
Onboard food included in ticket price? You gotta be kidding. A coffee, on the sparse occasions you can actually get one, easily sets you back €2.30 or more.
I agree with Maia's reply; I don't think EUrail is that expensive, it's just that Interrail (for under 26) is ridiculously cheap. Also agree with her second point: if you can't afford EUrail, it's unlikely you can afford coming to Europe at all.
However, you have to do your maths before you decide to buy EUrail. In many cases, loose tickets and local discount programmes work out cheaper, especially for domestic journeys. For instance in Italy; provided you take slow trains all the time (which are really slow and take a lot of changing), you'd have to do one hell of a lot of travelling before EUrail's worth it.
[ Edit: Edited on May 20, 2008, at 12:48 AM by bentivogli ]
However, you have to do your maths before you decide to buy EUrail.
So what's the best recommendation for someone who wants to go from France (Paris) to Switzerland (Geneva) without splurging on an Eurorail pass (and there will not be any more rail travel thereafter; just a simple point A to B journey). Is the TGV any cheaper in this instance?
Yep, simple A to B point-to-point TGV ticket. If you buy your ticket in advance you'll be able to get a discount. Paris - Geneve should be in the 70 EUR range (one-way, no discount).
[ Edit: Edited on May 20, 2008, at 3:31 AM by t_maia ]
On the topic of Eurail passes; I'm heading from Greece (Athens & the country somewhere)- Croatia (Dubrovnik, Split) - Budapest - Cesky Krumlov - Prague - Amsterdam.
Would it be best to purchase a eurail pass for this journey?
I'm 23y.o so I could buy a youth ticket however, the 3 others that I am travelling with are over 26 so I would probably have to travel with them anyway.
For that itinerary it isn't worth it unless there are a lot of side trips involved. The train isn't the best way to go from Greece to Croatia as there are no direct routes and there is no station in/near places like Dubrovnik (I think Ploce is the closest and that's over an hour away by bus). You're going to want to make this journey by plane or by bus. Most of the journeys you can make would be relatively cheap by train also, so it's not likely you'll make up the cost of the pass.
MaxineK - If you insist you MUST use trains for the whole journey, you do realize that the only way to get from Greece to Croatia by Eurail is by going through Bulgaria and Serbia right? They too recognize the Eurail pass BUT only the 3, 4 or 5-Country Select passes. (I.E. Greece - Bulgaria/Serbia - Croatia/Slovenia - Hungary - Austria) It's a better bet to fly or take a ferry to Croatia. If you don't you'll be spending 2 DAYS traveling by train to Split from Athens, then you'd need buses to get to and from Dubrovnik. Even after visiting Croatia, passes won't help you save money. Point-to-point tickets or flights may be your thing. If you have time, buses will be the cheapest option.
You probably assumed you could visit all the places in your itinerary using a single pass. Nope. With similar exceptions as Bulgaria and Serbia, the Czech Republic only recognizes it's own pass or a Czech-Germany or Czech-Austria one. Along with the Greece - Croatia pass situation, needing a combination of different kinds of eurail passes is not worth the hassle! Now that I think of it, you'd be saving yourself quite a bit of money using point to points for this itinerary. You're looking at over $1000 USD using passes and the ride to Amsterdam....not including the time wasted in the Balkans (Unless you plan on visiting sites there of course )