Fotoeins Fotografie

location bifurcation, place & home
Regional train heading west from Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Photo by Christian Allinger (CC BY 2.0).

Saving money & flexible travel with German Rail Pass (Feb-Mar 2017)

Above: Regional train heading west from Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Christian Allinger).

I’ve set foot inside Germany at least once each year since 2001. I’m back “home” for the 17th consecutive year with the following “mostly Bayerisch” itinerary:

  • München
  • Garmisch-Partenkirchen
  • Mittenwald
  • Reutte in Tirol (Österreich)
  • Oberstdorf
  • Augsburg
  • Heidelberg

Thanks to their springtime 20% promotion, I’ve secured a 2nd-class German Rail Pass for seven days of travel inside one month.

Single Pass or Multiple Tickets?

I’ve listed in the table below point-to-point fares. I checked fares for individual “legs” on my travel dates at the Deutsche Bahn website, taking note of the lowest and highest 2nd-class fares in both “Sparangebote” (saver offers) and “Flexpreis” (flexible pricing) categories. The last farecheck occurred on 13 February 2017, one week before arrival. I estimated distances using “Route” (road distances) values returned by the Germany distance calculator.

Columns: (1) train route, (2) approximate distance in kilometres, (3) SPARangebote, (4) FLEXpreis.

Frankfurt airport – München 410 km € 19-90 € 104
München – Garmisch-Partenkirchen 90 km € 20 € 22
Mittenwald (DE) – Reutte (AT) 60 km € 14 € 14
Reutte (AT) – Oberstdorf (DE) 95 km € 20 € 20
Oberstdorf – Augsburg 145 km € 19-20 € 30-31
Augsburg – Heidelberg 270 km € 19-56 € 65-72
Heidelberg – Frankfurt Airport 80 km € 19-21 € 21-26
(€1 = CAD $1.40)
1150 km €130-241
German Rail Pass 2nd-class, 7 days in 1 month CAD $333
$ CAD saved < $5 $53-72

To save the most money, purchasing individual “Sparangebote” tickets would be the way to go by purchasing individual “saver fares” well in advance. Otherwise, there are generally available “Flexpreis” (flexible fares) tickets which are less restrictive but more expensive. The price difference between “Sparangebote” and “Flexipreis” generally increases with long-distance rail journeys beyond 200 to 250 km.

But I must have schedule flexibility, and that’s why I purchase a Rail Pass instead. The Rail Pass doesn’t restrict me as passholder to a specific train on a given date or a given time. If I decide at the last minute to stay some place longer or if I decide to leave early, I can’t change a “fixed” ticket without incurring extra fees. My Rail Pass allows me the freedom to take a train on any day at any time.

If you’re unsure about whether a Rail Pass is right for you, do the homework, have some idea what your itinerary might be, and check the fares on the Deutsche Bahn website. You can also view on the conditions for saver fares and flexible fares on Deutsche Bahn (in English). You can purchase a Rail Pass from German Rail Passes or from Rail Europe.

Muenchen Hbf (Gleis 5): by HintenRum for Wikimedia

Munich central train station (from track 5, by HintenRum).

Previous German rail passes:

•   German Rail Pass, November-December 2015
•   German Rail Pass, November-December 2014
•   German Rail Pass, July-August 2013
•   German Rail Pass, late-2012 RTW
•   Yet another trip with German Rail (2011)
•   Across the country with German Rail
•   Saving money with a German Rail Pass
•   Flexibility with a German Rail Pass

No Connection, Unpaid, My Own Opinions: I have not received any compensation for writing this content, and I have no material connection to German Rail Pass, Rail Europe, or Deutsche Bahn.

The featured photo at the top is by Christian Allinger on Flickr, and the second photo is by HintenRum on Wikimedia; both photos are used with the Creative Commons license. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at as

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