I’m frustrated

What is the best way to research time tables and reservation fee?

Hi! I am trying to plan a trip in May 2017. Zurich Airport - Zermatt - Venice - Budapest - Prague - Berlin - Copenhagen - Stockholm. I am looking at the Off Peak Global Pass. I have been trying to research the times, i.e. length of travel, along with reservation costs. However, EVEN if I choose a date within 30 days almost every route says it is unavailable. What am I doing wrong? Do you have tips on how to research?
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) November 16, 2016 17:37
    Hi Haleigh,

    Zurich Airport to Zermatt

    A connection from Zurich Airport to Zermatt takes about 3.5 hours in duration and involves changing trains once in Visp along the way. These trains don't accept reservations, so the Eurail Global Pass would be all you'd need to board.

    You can still check schedules by entering the route under 'Find Train Tickets' on the homepage of our website, www.raileurope.com. When searching trains out of the station at the airport in Zurich, you would just type 'Zurich Airport' in the field for the departure city. Generally, schedules for these trains can be viewed once within 90 days of an intended date of departure. However, this is the time of year when the annual 'Winter Schedule Changes' occur with some of the rail networks and train operators in Europe. As a result of the 'Winter Schedule Changes', many trains operating after December 10th have not yet been posted in the international booking system, including the trains from the Zurich Airport to Visp and trains from Visp to Zermatt.

    We expect the schedules for trains operating after December 10th to be released some time within the next few weeks. For right now, you can just use a date some time between now and December 10th in order to view the schedules.

    Zermatt to Venice

    From Zermatt to Venice, there is a connection that takes about 6.5 hours in duration and involves changing trains once in Brig along the way. Otherwise, the connection would involve 2 train changes en route; once in Brig and then once in Milan.

    Trains from Zermatt to Brig don't accept reservations, so the Eurail Global Pass would be all you'd need to board. To view schedules for this segment, you would follow the same procedure as described above for connections from the Zurich Airport to Zermatt.

    In addition to the rail pass, trains from Brig to Venice to Brig to Milan do require reservations, as would trains from Milan to Venice. For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase reservations by clicking the 'Seat Reservations' tab on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), entering a route, and indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. a 'Eurail Global Pass' or 'Eurail Global Pass Off Peak'). Generally, these trains can be reserved once within 120 days of an intended date of departure. However, the trains from Brig to Milan are currently not able to be reserved on our website. Instead, it is currently the case that you would have to call us to purchase reservations for a train from Brig to Milan. I'm not sure if that will still hold true once you're within 120 days of your departure. We can be reached at 1-800-622-8600.

    Trains from Brig to Venice and Brig to Milan are EC (EuroCity) trains. Trains from Milan to Venice are Frecciabianca and Frecciarossa trains.

    Venice to Budapest

    The most feasible connection from Venice to Budapest would involve taking an overnight train from Venice to Vienna, where you would switch to another train that would take you to Budapest.

    On the night train from Venice to Vienna (the Venezia-Vienna Express), reservations would be required. On trains from Vienna to Budapest (EC or Railjet trains), reservations are highly recommended. For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase reservations by clicking the 'Seat Reservations' tab on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), entering a route, and indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. a 'Eurail Global Pass' or 'Eurail Global Pass Off Peak'). When booking 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 the night train from Venice to Vienna and then another search for connecting trains from Vienna to Budapest the following morning. Generally, these trains can be reserved once within 90 days of an intended departure date.

    When you pull up the results of your searches, it may display the Meidling station (Wien Meidling) as the station of arrival for the night train from Venice. Rest assured, this train does also make a stop at the Hbf station (Wien Hbf), which is the main station in Vienna, from where your train to Budapest would depart. For your reference, the night train from Venice to Vienna stops at the Hbf station just 9 minutes after it is shown to be arriving into the Meidling station on our site.

    Our website also only shows the Mestre station in Venice (Venezia Mestre) as the station of departure for the Venice-Vienna night train. Rest assured, this train does also depart out of the Santa Lucia station, which is considered the main station in Venice (the one that services the actual island of Venice, where tourists visit). For your reference, the night train from Venice to Vienna depart from Santa Lucia just 12 minutes before it is shown to be departing from the Mestre station on our site.

    Budapest to Prague

    From Budapest to Prague, you would take a direct EC train. On the EC trains from Budapest to Prague, reservations are highly recommended. For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase reservations by clicking the 'Seat Reservations' tab on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), entering a route, and indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. a 'Eurail Global Pass' or 'Eurail Global Pass Off Peak').

    The 'Winter Schedule Change' (as described above for the connection from the Zurich Airport to Zermatt) applies to the Budapest-Prague trains, as well. Therefore, for right now, you would have to use a date some time between now and December 10th in order to the view schedules and reservation costs for this segment. The rest of the year, trains from Budapest to Prague can be reserved once within 90 days of an intended departure date.

    Prague to Berlin

    From Prague to Berlin, you would take another direct EC train. Just like the EC trains from Budapest to Prague, reservations are highly recommended on this route, as well. For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase reservations by clicking the 'Seat Reservations' tab on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), entering a route, and indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. a 'Eurail Global Pass' or 'Eurail Global Pass Off Peak').

    When you pull up the results of this search, our website will display 2 listings for each train. For the purpose of purchasing passholder reservations, you would refer to the listing that does not have the light yellow box where it says 'Train Tickets Found'. You can still depart from either the Hlavní Nádraží (Praha Hlavni Nadr) or the Holešovice (Praha Holesovice) station in Prague, and you can get off at the Hbf station in Berlin (the main station in Berlin).

    Also, the 'Winter Schedule Change' (as described above for the connection from the Zurich Airport to Zermatt) does apply to the Prague-Berlin trains. Therefore, for right now, you would have to use a date some time between now and December 10th in order to the view schedules and reservation costs for this segment. The rest of the year, trains from Prague to Berlin can be reserved once within 60 days of an intended departure date.

    Berlin to Copenhagen

    For a trip from Berlin to Copenhagen, you can take the InterCity Bus, or else a rail connection would involve changing trains once in Hamburg en route.

    The Eurail Global Pass is valid on the bus. The bus would just require reservations in addition to the pass; however, these reservations are currently not able to be booked on our website. If you'd like to take the bus, you would have to call us to purchase the reservations. This bus can be booked once within 90 days of an intended date of departure. The bus ride takes about 7 hours and 40 minutes.

    The trains from Berlin to Hamburg and Hamburg to Copenhagen are ICE (InterCity Express) trains on which reservations would be highly recommended. For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase reservations by clicking the 'Seat Reservations' tab on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), entering a route, and indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. a 'Eurail Global Pass' or 'Eurail Global Pass Off Peak'). For this route, you would have to piece together the connection by doing a separate search for each segment. Therefore, you would do one search for trains from Berlin to Hamburg and then another search for connecting trains from Hamburg to Copenhagen.

    The 'Winter Schedule Change' (as described above for the connection from the Zurich Airport to Zermatt) does apply to these trains, as well. Therefore, for right now, you would have to use a date some time between now and December 10th in order to the view schedules and reservation costs for this segment. The rest of the year, these trains can be booked once within 90 days of an intended departure date.

    Copenhagen to Stockholm

    From Copenhagen to Stockholm, you would take a direct 'SJ High Speed' train. These trains do require reservations in addition to the rail pass. For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase reservations by clicking the 'Seat Reservations' tab on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), entering a route, and indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling (i.e. a 'Eurail Global Pass' or 'Eurail Global Pass Off Peak'). Generally, the trains from Copenhagen to Stockholm can be reserved once within 90 days of an intended departure date. Therefore, you would have to use a date some time within the next 90 days in order to view the schedules and reservation costs in the meantime.
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  • Wow. I am so impressed & appreciate the answers above even I am not travel these routes. Thanks Jeff (the employee Rep) for taking so much time to guide the guest from point -point on your answers. 5 stars rating if I can.
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  • I’m excited!
    Wonderful feedback and has helped me begin to plan better. Thank you!
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  • Typically when making a "reservation" what is the additional charge for that? Is it based upon the destination? I am concerned more or less that the passes sound perfect and great, but I don't want to be misinformed or not understanding of the additional fees for Reserving. We will be traveling for an entire month so budgeting is top priority.

    One more question:
    When it asks "how many days will you be traveling by train" this basically means "how many times will I be boarding/transfer" correct?

    THANKS!!! :)
    • Jeff (Official Rep) December 22, 2016 15:36
      Hi Jeanette,

      When determining the best option for an itinerary, it is best to consider and factor in the reservation costs for the trains you'll be taking. However, reservation costs can vary between trains. Therefore, you would want to go through and check the reservation costs and then add the total to the cost of the rail pass you'd be purchasing.

      For travel with a rail pass, you would check reservation costs and purchase reservations by clicking the 'Seat Reservations' tab on our homepage (www.raileurope.com), entering a route, and indicating the type of rail pass with which you'll be traveling.

      Throughout much of Europe, reservable trains can only be booked once within 90 days of an intended date of departure. If your intended travel happens to fall outside of this time frame, you would just use an earlier date some time within the next 90 days to get an idea of the reservation costs and view schedules.

      Reservable trains within Germany are generally now able to be booked within 180 days of an intended departure, and reservable trains within Italy are generally now able to be booked within 120 days of an intended departure.

      When you're asked 'How many days do you plan to travel by train?', you would indicate the number of separate days that you plan to take a train. Therefore, if you're planning to take multiple trains on the same day, you would only count that as 1 day. If your next trip is 3 days later, that would count as the 2nd day, and so on and so forth.
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