DO NOT BUY BALKAN PASS

PSA: Do not book a Balkan Pass. This region is so inexpensive to buy same-day tickets out-of-pocket. I paid $230 for 15-days in 2 months and will be very lucky if I get half of that value back. The prices for single tickets on the RailEurope site are inflated up to ten times their actual cost! When I asked customer service why this is, I was told that customers are always encouraged to price-compare before purchasing. Basically it's my fault I got conned. Save your money. Don't buy this ticket.
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) June 25, 2018 17:35
    Hi Alexis,

    The best option for an itinerary always depends on the specifics of the itinerary itself. For some itineraries, the rail pass might be the best option. For others, regular tickets are the best option. It is not required that customers purchase a rail pass.
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  • Hi, Jeff,

    The fact of the matter is that all individual ticket prices on the RailEurope are extremely inflated, resulting in many customers feeling the pass will save them money. There are no tickets that in actuality cost the same at the railway station as this website estimates. In order to use up the full value of this pass, one would have to take long, popular trains the entire day, each day of the pass. For example, today I took a popular high-speed train 7 hours from Brasov to Cluj-Napoca, Romania. This website reports that the cheapest fare is 39.20 Euro. The actual price at the station was 15.80 Euro.

    For real prices, check viral.com or Rome2Rio, especially because this region also has buses that are faster, cheaper, and more frequent. It would be much better not to feel locked into trail travel when it is often not the best option. (I understand this part is not RailEurope's fault. It's just advice for those considering this pass.)
    • Jeff (Official Rep) June 27, 2018 15:02
      We cannot account for what the local ticket costs were for your specific trips. Those costs are subject to market-based pricing and can fluctuate. In certain countries, however, our ticket costs would be the same as what they are there. It just depends.

      In any case, the most economical option is still dependent upon the itinerary and routes being traveled. The Balkan Pass can still be beneficial for certain itineraries.
    • Saying RailEurope cannot account for the invalid prices on its site is just excusing itself from intentional wrongdoing. I assume "intentional" because it just doesn't make any sense how a company of this size and history can overlook what should be years of research and data-tracking to estimate more realistic prices. Why is it possible for multiple other sites be consistently more accurate than RailEurope, when rail transportation is the entire business?

      Yes, as I've said in my former post, if someone were to take longhaul, full-day routes, maybe it could come close to adding up to the price of the pass. But that is still not guaranteed. Especially because the small size of many of the Balkan countries means one needs to take a bus to cross the border or take a private rail company, which are not covered by the pass.

      No further airy replies are needed. I made this post to advise those considering the pass. Let me rephrase my initial sentiment: It would be extremely difficult to pay more out of pocket for same-day tickets in the Balkan region than the price of the Balkan Flexipass, no matter how many days are chosen. Transportation of all types are very cheap in this region, and rail travel is often not the best option anyway. Save your money and have more freedom in your travel planning.
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