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Posts tagged ‘German Rail Pass’

Frankfurt am Main Hauptbahnhof, central station, Hauptbahnhof, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, fotoeins.com

$600 savings with the German Rail Pass (fall 2017)

Above: 6am at Frankfurt am Main Hauptbahnhof, 20 May 2016 (HL).

I’ve set foot inside Germany at least once each year since 2001. I’m “home” again for the 17th consecutive year with this autumn’s itinerary in the country’s central corridor, including Heidelberg, Konstanz, Ulm, Hannover, Kassel, Berlin, Würzburg, and Frankfurt am Main.

Thanks to their summer 20% promotion, I’ve purchased for €284 a 2nd-class German Rail Pass with ten days of travel inside one month. Compared to the advanced purchase of individual point-to-point tickets, I’m saving at least 50 dollars (Canadian), but with my preference for open-ended travel, my savings will exceed 600 dollars.

Below I describe:

  1. in detail how flexibility with the rail pass provides hundreds of dollars in savings, and
  2. how the rail pass is validated and activated.

( Click here for more )

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.

( Click here for more )

Hamburg Hauptbahnhof, Werner77, Pixabay, Creative Commons license

How I’m saving with the German Rail Pass (fall 2015)

Continuing the streak of annual visits to the country, I’m “home” for the 15th consecutive year with the following itinerary over four weeks in November and December:

  1. Berlin to Rothenburg ob der Tauber
  2. Rothenburg ob der Tauber to Regensberg
  3. Regensberg to München (Munich)
  4. München to Karlsruhe
  5. Mainz to Koblenz
  6. Koblenz to Bielefeld
  7. Bielefeld to Köln
  8. Köln to Magdeburg
  9. Magdeburg to Hamburg
  10. Hamburg to Berlin

Thanks to their 20% promotion with Rail Europe, I’ve purchased a 2nd-class German Rail Pass for ten days of travel inside one month for $440 (Canada) / $332 (USA).

Cross-Country Savings

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” (save-money offers) and “Normalpreis” (normal price) categories. The last farecheck occurred on 12 February 2017. I estimated distances using “Route” (road distances) values returned by the Germany distance calculator.

Route, Nov-Dec 2015 Distance Sparangebote Normalpreis
1. Berlin – Rothenburg ob der Tauber 500 km € 29—89 € 117—131
2. Rothenburg ob der Tauber – Regensburg 200 km € 23—29 € 32—57
3. Regensburg – München 130 km € 20—29 € 27—42
4. München – Karlsruhe 280 km € 29—55 € 66—79
5. Mainz – Koblenz 100 km € 19 € 19—22
6. Koblenz – Bielefeld 300 km
€ 29—39
€ 62—65
7. Bielefeld – Köln 190 km
€ 19—29
€ 39—49
8. Köln – Magdeburg 430 km € 29—57 € 87—90
9. Magdeburg – Hamburg 280 km € 29—39 € 43—67
10. Hamburg – Berlin 280 km € 29—45 € 78
TOTALS
(€1 = USD $1.10)
≈ 2700 km
€ 255—430
$ 281—473
€ 570—680
$ 627—748
10-day German Rail Pass
(with 2015 autumn 20% promotion)
USD $332 USD $332
$ USD saved < $141 $295—416

The Rail Pass does not restrict the passholder to a specific train on a given date and time. To save the most money, purchasing individual Sparpreis fares ahead of time would be the way to go. I could save money by purchasing individual “Sparangebote” fares well in advance. Otherwise, there are generally available “Normalpreis” fares, which are less restrictive but more expensive. The price difference between Sparangebote and Normalpreis fares is larger with long-distance rail journeys over 250 km.

I demand schedule flexibility, and that’s why I purchase a Rail Pass in advance. If I decide at the last mintue to stay longer or leave early, I can’t change a “fixed” ticket without incurring extra fees. My 10-day Rail Pass allows me the freedom to take a train on any day at any time. This versatility saves me at least USD $300.

Deutsche Bahn lists the following conditions for their two categories.

Sparangebote: Preis für alle Reisenden. Bei Aktionsangeboten und regionalen Angeboten gelten besondere Konditionen. Zugbindung, d.h. Ihre Fahrkarte ist nur in den auf Ihrer Fahrkarte aufgedruckten Zügen gültig. Umtausch und Erstattung 15 EUR; ab 1. Geltungstag ausgeschlossen.

Normalpreis: Preis für alle Reisenden. Volle Flexibilität (keine Zugbindung/unabhängig von der angegebenen Verbindung auf der gewählten Strecke). Umtausch und Erstattung kostenlos, ab dem 1. Geltungstag 15 EUR.

My translation is:

Savings offers: price for all travelers. Conditions apply to special and regional offers. Your ticket is valid only as printed for the specified train. 15 EUR charge for exchange or refund before the first valid day; no exchange or refund afterwards.

Normal price: price for all travelers. Full flexibility (no specific train / regardless of specific connection on the chosen route). No charge for exchange and refund before the first valid day; 15 EUR charge afterwards.

Berlin Hauptbahnhof, LoboStudioHamburg, pixabay, Creative Commons license

Berlin Hauptbahnhof (LoboStudioHamburg, on Pixabay)


Previously, on German rail and rail passes

•   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

The two photos are from Pixabay by Werner77 (H Hbf) and LoboStudioHamburg (B Hbf), respectively; both photos are used with the generosity of the Creative Commons license. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-7iZ. Disclosure: 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.

Saving money with German Rail Pass (fall 2014)

It’s full on fall, and it’s time I’m in Germany once again.

To continue my streak of visiting the country every year, I’m “home” for the 13th consecutive year with the following itinerary over three weeks in November and December (2014):

  • Frankfurt am Main Airport to Köln (Cologne)
  • Köln to Heidelberg
  • Heidelberg to München (Munich)
  • München to Bielefeld
  • Bielefeld to Berlin
  • Berlin to Leipzig
  • Berlin to Frankfurt am Main

I’m very enthusiastic about the train, and my attachment to Deutsche Bahn’s cross-country trains remains. I’ve purchased a 2nd-class rail pass for ten days (within a one month interval) for USD $345, which includes a promotional 25% discount for this year’s 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall.

Bahnhofshalle Fernbahnhof, Flughafen Frankfurt : by Martinroell (Wikipedia)

Long-distance train station, Frankfurt Airport : photo by Martinroell (Wikipedia)

Wartehalle Fernbahnhof, Flughafen Frankfurt am Main : by Heidas (Wikipedia)

Departures hall, long-distance train station, Flughafen Frankfurt am Main: photo by Heidas (Wikipedia)

Am I saving money?

It’s a question everyone asks, and the following comparison will show that the answer is yes.

In the following table, I’ve listed point-to-point fares. I checked fares for the individual “legs” for specific dates on the Deutsche Bahn website, taking note of the lowest and highest 2nd-class fares in both “Sparangebote” (save offers) and “Normalpreis” (normal price) categories. The last farecheck occurred on 23 October (2014). I estimated distances using “Route” (road distances) values returned by the Luftlinie distance calculator (in German). “Hbf” is the abbreviation for “Hauptbahnhof” or “main train station”.

Route, Nov-Dec 2014 Distance Sparangebote Normalpreis
1. Frankfurt(M) Flughafen – Köln Hbf 180 km € 19—45 € 46—67
2. Köln Hbf – Heidelberg Hbf 250 km € 29—55 € 54—82
3. Heidelberg Hbf – München Hbf 340 km € 29—65 € 73—86
4. München Hbf – Bielefeld Hbf
(via Hannover)
740 km € 81—111 € 142
5. Bielefeld Hbf – Berlin Hbf 390 km € 29—49 € 73—84
6. Berlin Hbf – Leipzig Hbf 180 km
€ 19—39
€ 40-47
7. Leipzig Hbf – Berlin Hbf 180 km
€ 19—29
€ 34-47
8. Berlin Hbf – Frankfurt(M) Hbf 540 km € 29—79 € 110—123
9. Frankfurt (M), Hbf – Flughafen 10 km € 4.35 € 4.35
TOTALS
(€1 = USD $1.3)
2810 km
€ 258—476
USD $335—619
€ 576—682
USD $749—887
10-day German Rail Pass
(25% off promotion included)
USD $345 USD $345
Money saved < USD $274 USD $404—542

The Rail Pass does not restrict the passholder to a specific train on a given date and time. To save the most money, purchasing individual Sparpreis fares ahead of time would be the way to go. I could save money by purchasing individual “Sparangebote” fares well in advance. Otherwise, there are generally available “Normalpreis” fares, which are less restrictive but more expensive. The price difference between Sparangebote and Normalpreis fares is much larger with long-distance rail journeys over 250 km; that’s always been the case whenever I’ve visited Germany and I’ve had to cross the country by train.

I want the schedule flexibility, and that’s why I purchase a Rail Pass in advance. If I decide to stay longer or leave early, I can’t change a “fixed” ticket without incurring extra fees. My 10-day Rail Pass allows me the freedom to take a train on any day at any time (up to the maximum of 10 days. My desire for this versatility will save me at least USD $350.

Deutsche Bahn lists the following conditions for their two categories.

Sparangebote: Preis für alle Reisenden. Bei Aktionsangeboten und regionalen Angeboten gelten besondere Konditionen. Zugbindung, d.h. Ihre Fahrkarte ist nur in den auf Ihrer Fahrkarte aufgedruckten Zügen gültig. Umtausch und Erstattung 15 EUR; ab 1. Geltungstag ausgeschlossen.

Normalpreis: Preis für alle Reisenden. Volle Flexibilität (keine Zugbindung/unabhängig von der angegebenen Verbindung auf der gewählten Strecke). Umtausch und Erstattung kostenlos, ab dem 1. Geltungstag 15 EUR.

My rough-and-ready translation is:

Savings offers: price for all travelers. Conditions apply to special and regional offers. Your ticket is valid only as printed for the specified train. 15 EUR charge for exchange or refund before the first valid day; no exchange or refund afterwards.

Normal price: price for all travelers. Full flexibility (no specific train / regardless of specific connection on the chosen route). No charge for exchange and refund before the first valid day; 15 EUR charge afterwards.

Berlin Hauptbahnhof #XII, Alexander Rentsch

Photo by Alexander Rentsch on Flickr

Previously, on German rail and rail passes

•   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

Disclosure: No Connection, Unpaid, My Own Opinions. I have not received any compensation for writing this content and I have no material connection to the brands, topics and/or products that are mentioned here. The first two photos are from Wikipedia, and the last two are from Flickr. All photos are used with the generosity of the Creative Commons license. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-5y9.

Saving money & flexible travel with German Rail Pass (summer 2013)

Photo on Flickr, by Holly Hayes

I’m participating in a week-long writing-course in Praha at the end of July 2013, and I’m taking the opportunity to return to Germany and visit some friends. Since 2002, traveling within Germany has always been about riding the rails with Deutsche Bahn. My short-itinerary consists of

  • Frankfurt am Main Airport to Köln (Cologne)
  • Köln to Bielefeld
  • Bielefeld to Berlin
  • Berlin to Frankfurt am Main

( Click here for more )

German Rail Pass (fall 2012, RTW)

Dom, cathedral, Hohenzollern Bridge, Koeln, Cologne, Germany

Dom, Hohenzollernbrücke (Cathedral, Hohenzollern Bridge): Köln, Germany – 1 Oct 2011 (HL)

In 2012, I spent the year traveling around the world. By October, I was making my way from the southern to the northern hemisphere, and a return to Europe. Spending a few weeks in Berlin, Germany in the fall meant that I had a number of friends to visit throughout Germany. Thus began the start of my “Germany tour”:

  • Berlin to Heidelberg
  • Heidelberg to Freiburg im Breisgau
  • Freiburg im Breisgau to Köln
  • Köln to Berlin
  • Berlin to Frankfurt am Main: for a wedding!
  • Frankfurt am Main to München
  • München to Passau (daytrip)
  • München to Berlin
  • Berlin to Dresden (daytrip)

( Click here for more )

Flexibility with a German Rail Pass (fall 2011)

Change in plans? No problem!

I wrote about saving money with a German Rail Pass, and I drew up a table comparing individual and total city-to-city fares against the cost of a Rail Pass.

As fate would have it, plans changed significantly the day after I published that post. I’m sorry, Weimar (Goethe/Schiller), but I’ll visit you another time.

Fortunately, with my Rail Pass, I don’t have to rebook or reschedule the changes in my itinerary. All I have to do is look up train schedules on the Deutsche Bahn website, and I’ll simply hop onto the trains as needed.

The new table below accommodates my change in plans, and is identical in structure to the table in my previous post.

Route Distance 2nd class 1st class
Frankfurt(Main) Hbf – Köln Hbf 190 km € 19–64 € 49–104
Köln Hbf – Hamburg Hbf 430 km € 44–89 € 69–144
Hamburg Hbf – Frankfurt(M) Hbf 490 km € 59–109 € 79–177
Frankfurt(M) Hbf – München Hbf 400 km € 29–91 € 59–147
München Hbf – Frankfurt(M) Flughafen Fernbf 400 km € 44–91 € 69–147
Total 1910 km € 195–444 € 325–719
Total in USD (1 € = $1.3 USD) $ 254–577 $ 423–935
Total in USD (1 € = $1.4 USD) $ 273–622 $ 455–1007
Five-day German Rail Pass, in USD $297 $394

I (re)checked fares on 16 September, and the total distance traveled has been reduced by about 200 km. Although there’s little change in the numbers for first-class (no surprise), the total point-to-point fares have changed in second-class.

With careful planning, a traveler can find and purchase early-fares (Sparangebote). But the flexibility of the pass still has allowed me to change plans, and I don’t ever have to go back to a train station to ask for changes or purchase new tickets.

For an extra $20-$40, there’s more versatility for the second-class Rail Pass over the entirety of a two-week trip. The savings for a first-class Rail Pass remain the same as before.

My previous posts about German Rail:

Disclosure: No Connection, Unpaid, My Own Opinions. I have not received any compensation for writing this content and I have no material connection to the brands, topics and/or products that are mentioned herein. This post is published originally on Fotoeins Fotopress (fotoeins.com).

Frankfurt(Main) Hbf

Saving money with German Rail Pass (fall 2011)

Between (2011) September 28 and October 11, I’m visiting friends in Germany, and I already have a German Rail Pass to travel around the country. However, somebody might ask:

  • Should I spend a chunk of money on a rail pass weeks or months before traveling?
  • Should I try instead to get individual city-to-city fares when I’m in-country?
  • How can I get some flexibility and/or better cost savings?

What follows is a price comparison between a German RailPass I purchased with RailEurope, and point-to-point fares one might expect in person at a counter or at a ticket-machine in a train station.

DB Reisezentrum, Frankfurt(M)

With an upcoming tour of Germany, I have five planned days of long-distance train travel. I’m referring to “long-distance” as a trip whose distance is over 200 kilometres (125 miles).

I made my way to the RailEurope website in early-June (2011), and thanks to their “buy-4-get-5” promotion at the time, I purchased a four-day German rail pass, and received an extra and fortunate fifth day of travel.

A five-day German rail pass for one adult from RailEurope costs (*) $297 and $394 USD in second- and first-class, respectively. A similar pass from German Rail Passes costs $305 and $404 USD, respectively. Shipping and insurance costs are not included in these listed prices.

The following table lists point-to-point fares (*) in Euros from the Deutsche Bahn (DB) website. Total fares are listed in Euros and US dollars at the bottom of the table. Individual fares are dependent upon whether slower or faster trains are used; the InterCity Express is the most expensive option. Distances listed below are approximate. ‘Hbf’ is an abbreviation for Hauptbahnhof or ‘Central Station’.

Route Distance 2nd class 1st class
Frankfurt(Main) Hbf – Weimar (Thür) Hbf 270 km € 34–56 € 49–91
Weimar (Thür) Hbf – Hamburg Hbf 440 km € 34–82 € 59–132
Hamburg Hbf – Köln Hbf 430 km € 59–89 € 79–144
Köln Hbf – München Hbf 580 km € 59–129 € 69–209
München Hbf – Frankfurt(M) Flughafen Fernbf 400 km € 44–91 € 69–147
Total 2120 km € 230–447 € 325–723
Total in USD (1 € = $1.3 USD) $ 299–581 $ 423–940
Total in USD (1 € = $1.4 USD) $ 322–626 $ 455–1012
Five-day German Rail Pass, in USD $297 $394

I checked individual fares on both German- and English-versions of Deutsche Bahn’s website. All fares were obtained without the BahnCard option; a BahnCard is a frequent-travel savings card for residents. For means of transport, I chose all the available options. Finally, within each fare-class, I noted the range of prices in the “Sparangebote” (save offers or early-booking) category and in the “Normalpreis” (normal price) category.

To get both flexibility and cost-savings, my preferred choice is the rail pass in either fare-class, because

  • to get the “Sparangebote”, you have to know in advance the dates and destinations and order your tickets early;
  • you do not have to purchase each fare separately, either online or in-person at a train station;
  • and the traveler is not restricted to specific day, time, or train.

In addition to the websites above, Deutsche Bahn also provides a brief description of the German Rail Pass for customers in North America and the United Kingdom. The Bahn’s listed prices for the two five-day rail passes I described above are € 202 (2nd) and € 268 (1st).

To read more about other rail passes within Europe, Lily Leung wrote a detailed article about Eurail in her blog.

My previous posts about German Rail:

(*) – I checked all fares on 2011 September 14. The two photos above were made in Frankfurt Central Station on 10 October 2009.

Disclosure: No Connection, Unpaid, My Own Opinions. I have not received any compensation for writing this content and I have no material connection to the brands, topics and/or products that are mentioned herein. This post is published originally on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.

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