Hi everyone! My sister and I are going backing through Europe in June of this year, and we're trying to book train tickets but some are not available yet, and the ones that are don't have economy class, it just says N/A. Does anyone know if this means that they're sold out? Or will they become available at a later date? We don't want to go broke buying train tickets.
Where are you looking? Not raileurope.com I hope?
As a rule train tickets become available 90 days in advance and the best way to buy them is generally through the national rail company's websites.
If you tell us a bit about your initiary we can help you find the real bargains and give you some tips that save money.
Yes we were looking at raileurope.com. Is this not the best way to buy tickets? We're flying into Prague, then on June 2 we're taking the train to Munich, then on the 5th we're taking a train from Munich to Amsterdam. Then from there we fly to the UK. Where can we find the best deals?
Is this not the best way to buy tickets?
No. It has never been and will never be the best way to get tickets in advance for European trains. It just is sometimes the only way.
In your case I suggest the following:
For Prague-Munich buy in Prague at the counter.
Alternatively use the "chopping method", ie you buy at the counter in Prague a ticket that is valid until the Czech-German border. For the part from the border to Munich you buy a Bayern-Ticket online in advance from www.bahn.de This is significantly cheaper. I'll explain in more detail if you are interested in this and tell me how many people there are in your party.
For Munich-Amsterdam look at flights, see www.skyscanner.net
But if you are set on trains try
From Muenchen Hbf
To Amsterdam Centraal
The smartest connection would be the 22:43 departure with the CNL night train. Currently there are special offers available, my recommendation would be to get a "Liegewagen" (couchette) for 59 or 69 EUR. It is only 10 EUR more than a seat (the cheapest choice) and so much more comfortable.
You can book online without any problems. If you book with a credit card and opt for a print-it-yourself ticket note that the card holder has to be the one that is travelling or the ticket will not be valid.
Also: if you book the special offer now note that it is non-returnable and non-refundable. In case you book it now and cannot travel your only chance of gettting any money back is auctioning it off on the german ebay website www.ebay.de.
Found a link: If you want to buy the Prague-Munich ticket online try http://eshop.cd.cz
If you buy there in advance you can get a discount.
But my suggestion would still be to buy Prague-border and border-Munich seperately. Let me know how many people there are in your party and at what time you'd like to depart Prague.
Wow thanks for all the info! I'm going to take a look at http://eshop.cd.cz, and now we're thinking about flying from Munich to Amsterdam. For the Prague to Munich, there are two people in our party and we want to leave early in the morning.
Ok, the trick is the following:
The prices for national rail travel are significantly cheaper in the Czech Republic than in Germany. Consequently they are also significantly lower than international fare.
The trick is therefore to chop up the journey in such a way that you pay 2 legs of national train fare. This makes sense especially because for the travel from the German border to Munich there is a special offer, the Bayern-Ticket.
Bayern-Ticket allows unlimited train travel in Bavaria on regional trains for one day for a group of 2-5 people. On distances that take more than 2 hours to cover by train it almost always cheaper than a regular ticket, especially when you travel in a group.
Here is the step-by-step manual:
Go to www.bahn.de and look up connections. Select a connection. See where it crosses the border by clicking on "show intermediate stops". Check that it is a connection that is not with an IC/EC/ICE.
In your case the 09:04 departure is the best choice. It crosses at Furth im Wald. Print out the schedule.
Go to http://eshop.cd.cz and buy a ticket Praha-Furth im Wald for the 09:04 R354 train valid on the 2nd of June. The ticket should be 177 Czech Crowns, around 10 EUR per person.
Go to www.bahn.de and buy a Bayern-Ticket valid for June 02nd.
Click on the red "Jetzt bestellen" button to get to the shop. You then want the first item, the "Bayern-Ticket". It is the one that costs 28 EUR. Click on "In den Warenkorb" (=add to the shopping cart) left to the item. Enter the day in the format 02 06 2010. "Versandpauschale" is the shipping charge and "Zur Kasse" means "Checkout and pay". The third option "Bestellen ohne Anmeldung" in the next window is "order without registering as a customer". The next screen is a field where you enter your personal data:
Vorname -First Name
Nachname -Last Name
Straße, Hausnummer- street and number
PLZ und Ort - Postal Code and City
The rest should be pretty self-explanatory. "Bestellen" means "order" or "finalize your order".
This way you pay only around 50-60 EUR for travelling from Prague to Munich for 2 people. That is the regular price for one person.
Don't book anything. Just turn up and buy tickets on the day, if you're travelling within a country. It's easier and nearly always cheaper.
If you're travelling across countries, then buy to the border then another internal ticket the other side of the frontier.
All these web ticket companies so very rarely have anything available online that's cheaper than buying on the day locally. If you want to buy on line, then choose your route, find out who the train operator is, then get on their website to see what they're offering.
Bahn.de, raileurope.com, they're a farce compared to what's available on a daily/weekly/monthly basis with the local operators.
I'm not saying that they don't have offers because they do, but overall, nowhere near as many as local services when booked in advance or even bought on the day in many cases.
Lots of good tips. Thanks everyone!