If I want to use mostly high-speed trains that require I purchase reservations, are the rail passes actually saving me money?

I noticed that for some high speed trains-especially in the France and Italy areas- reservations are usually required. With those coming at an extra cost on top of the cost for a pass.... I am wondering if a rail pass is really saving me money on a student budget!!!
I want to travel from Paris to Rome on a high speed train and then throughout Italy as well, would buying tickets be more economical or a pass be the better way to go?
Please share stories and advice!

Thanks :)
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) August 12, 2014 16:20
    Hi Loni,

    The most economical option for an itinerary depends on the itinerary itself.

    A rail pass covers the ticket costs on trains between different cities in the country or countries included on a pass. When applicable, reservations are a supplementary cost to a rail pass (considering that any costs for needed reservations would be factored into the cost of individual point-to-point tickets, a rail pass still often works out to be the most economical option for travelers taking multiple trains of substantial distances while in Europe.)

    Reservations are required on most high-speed trains, many international routes, and all overnight trains. Therefore, for travel with a rail pass, you would want to be sure to factor in any reservations costs as well. For travel with a rail pass, you would check reservation costs by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on the homepage of our site, www.raileurope.com. Once you have checked the reservation costs for each reservable segments of your itinerary, you would then add those costs to the cost of the pass you would be purchasing that would cover your itinerary.

    If it works out that regular tickets are the most economical option for your specific itinerary, then we provide that option as well, and we encourage you to compare the two options. For travel without a rail pass, you would purchase regular point-to-point tickets by clicking on 'Find Fares & Schedules' on our homepage (instead of 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations') and not indicating that you'll be traveling with any rail pass.

    To determine your overall most economical option, you can then compare the total amount from that to the cumulative total of the point-to-point ticket costs you found for the same trains.
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) August 12, 2014 16:23
    The most feasible connections from Paris to Rome would involve changing trains once in Turin along the way. You would take one high-speed train from Paris to Turin, where you would switch to another high-speed train that would take you down to Rome. Both of these trains do require reservations. When searching point-to-point tickets or passholder reservations for this route, you would just piece together the connection by doing a separate search for each segment. Therefore, you would do one search for trains from Paris to Turin and another search for connecting trains from Turin to Rome.
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  • Hi Jeff,

    Okay, thank you very much! I think this will help me decide. I am only planning in staying 3-4 days in Paris and then taking a train down to Rome, where I will be doing the majority of my train travel. I want to do day trips to Venice, Florence, and Lake Como and then traveling back to Rome each day on the same travel day.

    Would buying a ticket for my one travel day in Paris, and a pass for Italy be more efficient?

    Thanks again!
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) August 12, 2014 17:43
    The best option for your travels would be dependent on many different factors and variables. You can determine your overall most economical option by following the procedure I described above. If you'd still like assistance determining the best option for your travels, you would have to call us at 1-800-622-8600.
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