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Buying Train Tickets While In (Eastern) Europe

Kirk Donovan

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  • Added on: May 7th, 2008
Hi gang,

So I'm looking at rail prices for Eastern Europe online and I'm seeing something puzzling. I've been told that it's really not worth it to get an Eastern Europe rail pass, as it's generally pretty cheap to get around by train. I'm looking in various guidebooks (2008 ed) and there's a pretty great disparity between what I see online and what the guidebook says. For instance, Prague to Krakow in early June is about $93 on raileurope.com while the guidebook lists it at $45. While the latter figure probably doesn't include the reservation, is it cheaper to buy the tickets over there? Or am I missing something here?
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2wanderers

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  • Added on: May 7th, 2008
Having checked the occasional price on raileurope, I am fully convinced that they are a ripoff. Buy your tickets at the station.

Guidebooks are typically off by a few dollars, euros, kroners or whatever, as inflation happens, but as long as you have the current edition, it should be a decent estimate to start with.

seraphim

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  • Added on: May 8th, 2008
Try to find prices on the national railways websites of the countries you're going to. These will be accurate prices. For example, prices for trains and busses within the Czech Republic and Slovakia can be found at www.vlak-bus.cz (I don't think they have prices for international trains though) The Polish website is www.pkp.pl I think
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Kathryn M

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  • Added on: May 8th, 2008
Buy the tickets while you are there. You shouldn´t have any problems getting them. Rail Europe is a rip off!

whatyadoinsucka

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  • Added on: May 8th, 2008
In europe buy airplane tickets early and train tickets on the day or the day you arrive at the destination to embark from to ensure availability

In the UK buy well in advance for longer journeys

Brambles24601

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  • Added on: May 9th, 2008
Yeah. Raileurope is an evil scheme. Buy the tickets from the respective national rail companies sites or just get them at the station.

There are also great cheap buses emerging in the east. Some even include meal service and full bar service with cocktails for $10 for an overnight trip. (bexx-me bus) check out cheapbus.wikispaces

m0loch

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  • Added on: May 9th, 2008
I was in the region last summer and must say that buying tickets at the train station is a pretty hassle-free and easy way to go about it. I never felt like I was paying too much. The one thing I would recommend is to find out the hours of the ticket office when you get off the train - buy your tickets at that time if you can. I was inconvenienced a couple of times due to weird hours and the like.
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Tortuga_traveller

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  • Added on: May 10th, 2008
Agreed with last poster. Tickets at the station are the way to go.

In Romania, it gets weird, because you can't buy tickets on some long distance trains until an hour before the train arrives. Apparently the seat reservation system needs a little work. Oh, and if you're on a late night long distance train, and you aren't the first few stops, the odds are that no matter what ticket you've been given, all the cabin will be filled with sleeping people, often more than should be in there. That leave the hallways, so try and avoid that situation, if you can. This is only romania, so far. In Hungary its much better organised.

A friend of mine had an east european rail pass, and found it more trouble than it was worth. We both paid about the same for travel. He had to convert his vouchers, I just paid.

He paid for transport he didn't take, by the way. I didn't.
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willis

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  • Added on: May 12th, 2008
quote:
Originally posted by Tortuga_traveller:
In Romania, it gets weird...Oh, and if you're on a late night long distance train, and you aren't the first few stops, the odds are that no matter what ticket you've been given, all the cabin will be filled with sleeping people, often more than should be in there. That leave the hallways, so try and avoid that situation, if you can.

Yeah, best to be avoided--if that's even possible. However, I've been in this situation before (always on the other end), and people have never once hesitated to wake me up and kick me out of the seat. So, I advise anyone who finds a person sleeping in their seat, to do the same--as long as they don't look too scary.


Buy your tickets at the station. Not only is it more practical, it's more fun and part of the experience. 'Day of' worked a lot, but not always, so be careful. If it's a busy route or time, think about buying the day before.

Kathryn M

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  • Added on: May 12th, 2008
Why dont you just get a couchette for the night.

Kirk Donovan

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  • Added on: May 13th, 2008
That's actually what I think I'm going to do at this point. Thanks a lot for the advice everyone! Leaving in one week!
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2wanderers

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  • Added on: May 13th, 2008
quote:
Yeah, best to be avoided--if that's even possible. However, I've been in this situation before (always on the other end), and people have never once hesitated to wake me up and kick me out of the seat. So, I advise anyone who finds a person sleeping in their seat, to do the same--as long as they don't look too scary.

Agreed, I have been on the kicking end of this. Still was a really uncomfortable ride, but at least we weren't in the hallways.
quote:
Why dont you just get a couchette for the night.
Have you ever tried to buy a couchette in a small town station? I have, on a couple of occasions, and have yet to be successful. In Greece, they let us upgrade on the train (eventually, after midnight), but our experience in Romania was that the couchette cars were locked, so even if you had bought a couchette ticket in advance somehow, you would be screwed and not have gotten a seat at all.

Kathryn M

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  • Added on: May 13th, 2008
Thats odd, Ive never had a problem with them.

Cristina Puscas

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  • Added on: May 14th, 2008
Romanian Railways

I travel quite a lot in Romania by train and if you buy the ticket with THE SEAT no one kicks you out.

I use the site above to check prices and everything and it's a good tool.

You can even buy round-trip tickets and you get 10% discount.

I'd recommend Rapid and Intercity trains. The "Accelerat" ones suck big time
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Cristina Puscas

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  • Added on: May 14th, 2008
quote:
Originally posted by Tortuga_traveller:


In Romania, it gets weird, because you can't buy tickets on some long distance trains until an hour before the train arrives. Apparently the seat reservation system needs a little work. Oh, and if you're on a late night long distance train, and you aren't the first few stops, the odds are that no matter what ticket you've been given, all the cabin will be filled with sleeping people, often more than should be in there. That leave the hallways, so try and avoid that situation, if you can. This is only romania, so far. In Hungary its much better organised.

.


this is true ONL if you buy at the train station. If you buy at the railway agency in town they will give you seats in international trains (cause those are the one you talk abt) even 2 weeks in advance Smile
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~"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." -Confucius


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