Travel three countries - seeking advice

Travel three countries - seeking advice

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Posts: 11. This thread is closed.
advmiraj
advmiraj
6 posts
new member
Oct 12, 2012 - 3:38 AM
Hi members,
I am planning to visit from 2nd. May onwards to Amsterdam, Paris, interlaken, luzern, Venice, Rome and if possible Florence on my way to Rome from Venice for a day and side trip to Pisa. I have 16 days and I know it is extremely difficult to cover all these places within a short time. I m travelling with my wife and 10 year old daughter. Most probably another family will accompany me and they are 4 in which two are kids of 11 and 8. I have been to many forums to understand the rail and mode of transport across the counties and more I read, I am more confused. I have the following itinerary
3rd may- morning arrival at Amsterdam , evening canal cruise, roaming in city etc
4 th may- keukenhoff morning and time permits to mini holland after noon towards Paris by evening
5th may morning hop on hop of Paris city
6th morning-hop on hop of Paris and Versailles
7th morning -Disneyland and back
8th morning -to interlaken lake thun or brienz etc
9 th jungfraugh , lauterbrunnen, murren etc
10th may to luzern- lake luzern and mt pilatus
11th may mt titlis, engelberg area
12th may to Venice
13 th - Venice
14th to Florence and a trip to Pisa , same day to Rome or next day if time not permits
15 th Rome
16th Rome
17 th Rome and night return home from Rome .
I hope this is achievable but I know covering all these places in short time will kill some good holiday time, but I don't think for another alternative.
I have a lot of questions including the places where I should stay in these places and the rail pass I required to cover all these places, but I would like to start with a small number of questions

1, is may a good month to travel ? I m looking for best shoulder season time to avoid crowd and expenses
2, shall I take 3 country eurail select pass (Benelux,France, Italy)for my travel from Amsterdam- Paris, Paris -interlaken,luzern-Venice , Venice-Rome along with a Swiss pass to cover my Swiss side OR shall I go for 4 country eurail select covering Swiss also. I know eurail pass is not providing good discounts in Swiss rails and cables but swizz pass does. I am not sure what I need but seek your valuable advice
3. Which is the best place to stay interlaken? Or lauterbrunnen, or murren considering it is the month of may?
4 any other suggestions for these places
5 any advice on how to reduce costs like the chances of getting apartments for two families living together in these places and links to hotels and places for advance booking etc

Appreciating your valuable inputs

Cheers
Arno
Arno
7317 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 13, 2012 - 6:09 AM
Hello advmiraj,

Swiss rail passes include more free and discounted transportation in Switzerland than Eurail passes. However, you already need a Eurail Select Pass for your traveling in the other countries. Adding Switzerland to the pass would only cost around $45 per person extra. The traveling on your list is included in Eurail: the town to town transfers and boat trips are free, and Jungfrau, Pilatus and Titlis are discounted (a map can be downloaded from our Eurail Select Pass page). All in all, it would be easier and more economical to just add Switzerland to your pass. The children can use the Junior travelcard in Switzerland, so that they don't need Switzerland on their pass and travel along for free with you.

I don't know where you're from so I've used USD prices in my examples. You may qualify for an extra $50 discount on the pass with this coupon code.

If you do decide to purchase a separate pass for Switzerland, you can best wait a while before making a final decision on that, as there may be promotions available for traveling in May 2013. Just keep an eye on our rail forum for updates by February/March.

Yes, May is a good month in my opinion. Some cable cars and mountain trains will still be closed, but you can already make lake cruises and visit the Jungfraujoch, Pilatus and Titlis. Both Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen are good locations for your stay, although Interlaken is located more centrally for the travel plans you have. Here's a forum topic on Interlaken versus Lauterbrunnen you may find interesting. It can be difficult to find an apartment for a 4 days stay, as these are rented by full weeks mostly - but such standards may be less rigid in May since this isn't high season. You can also look for cheap hotels in Interlaken and other towns. Here are some further tips on reducing costs during your stay.
advmiraj
advmiraj
6 posts
new member
Oct 17, 2012 - 10:30 AM
Thank you Annika for your prompt response. When I read more, it sounds more complicated for me the rial system.

As I am planning some mountain trips and transfers between interlaken and Lucerne, being a group of 4 adults and 3 kids, I thought a 3 country eurail select pass and a Swiss pass for Swiss would be more appropriate if it was not a bigger spent than just going with 4 country eurail selct pass. I heard Swiss pass give 50% discount on mountain trains and cables but eurail does only 25%, subject to confirm. I ll be in Swiss part for 4 days. I ll start my first day of eurail pass for trip between Amsterdam and Paris. Then i would need a trip from Paris to interlaken in which Paris side will be covered under eurail select and Swiss side under Swiss pass. Then on another day after swiss leg from Lucerne to Venice in which upto Italy border, my Swiss pass will cover and remaining upto Venice by eurail select. Then another day I plan Venice- Florence- Pisa just to cover Pisa and If possible return to Rome and if not possible another travel day from Florence to Rome. I ll fly out from Rome

Please can you advice the best option considering my travel plans. I have more questions coming and I hope you won't mind I am asking too many questions.
I have another doubt. if I hold a Eurail select pass covering Benelux and France and if I intend to travel between Amsterdam and Paris (i need to travel anyhow according to my current plan), should I require another ticket for this travel other than my Eurail select pass? My understanding was, i need a reservation , but for Thalys train it shows a fair holder rate for travel between Amsterdam and Paris. please could you explain this?

If you still need additional tickets, what is the point of covering Benelux for just single travel between these countries and would it be a point to point ticket a better option for a single travel between the countries rather than paying for Eurail select for one more country and separate additional fare for this leg of this travel. In such case I can remove one country from the Eurail select of 4 countries and go for 3 countries and reduce the number of days.

From my itinerary is there any other places where i would need a separate ticket and reservation for the trips. Please could you let me know the reservations required in other palces.
Is there any scope for promotions and discounts considering i am planning to travel in may which is a shoulder season and also considering we are travelling as a group of seven (4 Adults and 3 Kids).

Can you advice whether I should wait for few more weeks to get a better deal for my travels? By the way I am travelling from Dubai.

Thanks

Miraj
advmiraj
advmiraj
6 posts
new member
Oct 17, 2012 - 10:32 AM
My thanks to Arno as I have an oversight there
Annika
Annika
4355 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 18, 2012 - 4:59 AM
Hi Miraj. I agree with Arno: adding Switzerland to your Eurail Select Pass is cheaper than buying an additional Swiss Pass. All regular train trips will be for free with your Eurail Select Pass. Cable cars and mountain trains are discounted, and in most cases less than with a Swiss Pass indeed, but these differences don't make up for the price difference between Switzerland on your Eurail Select Pass and an extra Swiss Pass. Please read the details on the Swiss Pass page and the Eurail Select Pass page. You can download the validity maps and follow the link "Overview of discounts" at the the bottom of the Eurail Select Pass page for an exact overview of all travel bonuses in Switzerland. If you want, you can make calculations to be sure.

As Arno explained, it's wise to wait a while and check whether promotions for your travel dates are available by February-March.

The link at the Eurail Select Pass page I mentioned also allows you to review bonuses in other countries. This will make clear whether you need additional tickets for your trips. Most international trains require seat reservation indeed. If the trip itself is covered by your Eurail Select Pass, you will only have to pay for this seat reservation and not for the trip. Please refer to the seat reservation page for more information and to arrange for your reservations.

Whether you can better include the Benelux in your pass or pay for a separate ticket, should be calculated similarly to doing so for trips in Switzerland. I'm not familiar with all details of traveling in other countries.
Last modified on Dec 28, 2014 - 4:35 PM by Arno
advmiraj
advmiraj
6 posts
new member
Oct 19, 2012 - 1:00 AM
Thank you Annika,

It looks like a lot of calculations required to arrive most suitable rail plans, however I have made a comparison ( below) on the basis of current rates of having 2 passes (eurail select and Swiss pass combo) or eurail selct for 4 countries for 8 days. It looks not much different and considering more travel options and discounts for Swiss pass holders inside Swiss ( free lake rides ,50% discount on cables and mountain trains , unlimited bus travels) would you consider option 1 is better.

Other than the options listed above , would you be able to advice me to find the best combinations on a cheaper price for my travel arrangements

Regards,
Miraj

Option:1

4 day Eurail select saver pass for 3 countries (Holland/France/ Italy)---------4 Adults and 3 Kids

Combined with

4 days Swiss Saver Pass +Swiss Family card 4Adults (Children below 16 travel free with parents)


As per current cost:

Option:1 cost

Eurail: 386 X 4+195 X 3= 1544+ 585 (Eurail Select) (Euro)
SWISS 290 X4 =1160 (Swiss Pass)(Children travel free)
Total= 3289

Option:2 cost

8 days Eurail select 4 countries = 4X 549+ 3X 276=3024

Difference euro 265 for 7 (. 4 adults and 3 kids)




Advantage of Option 1

50% discount on lake trips in Switzerland, 50 % discount ton cog wheels , cable cars and Mountain trains (Expensive train trips , so 50% is good)

Under option2 Only 25% discount for mountain trains and Lake trips

Under Option 1 unlimited bus service inside Swiss under Option2 No

Need further calculations
Arno
Arno
7317 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 19, 2012 - 2:17 AM
Hi advmiraj,

Well, indeed the option of adding Switzerland to your Eurail Select Pass results in a lower "base price" (the price of just the passes). If you feel you might be traveling more than just the planned trips in Switzerland (if you want that flexibility), a Swiss Pass would become the more logical option as it includes more travel services. An exact calculation would only be possible if you know each exact trip you'll be making and stick to that plan, which is usually not feasible as the weather dictates travel day trip options. I would look at this like I just described: if you like the extra options and flexibily in Switzerland, then choose the Swiss Pass. Two more thoughts: Please note that boat trips are free on either of the passes. Eurail is always 1st class traveling, while a Swiss Pass could be either 2nd class (cheaper) or 1st class.

Hope this helps!
advmiraj
advmiraj
6 posts
new member
Oct 19, 2012 - 5:37 AM
Thanks again for prompt answers. Another question this time is about the options to stay either at interlaken or Lucerne and then make day trips to one of these places to cover that area. For eg, stay in interlaken for 4-5 days and make two day trips to Lucerne and engelberg for titlis and other attractions or vice versa. Considering I have a 4 day Swiss pass do you think this is feasible . If I make short trips ( from interlaken to wenger or lauterbrunnen or the travel part before mountain train to jungfraujoch) will such trips considered one day use of my four day swiss pass trips? Alternatively to avoid that would I need separate tickets to cover those places?
Thanks in advance

Miraj
Annika
Annika
4355 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 21, 2012 - 6:43 AM
Hello Miraj. It's certainly doable to stay in either Interlaken or Lucerne and make your day trips from that town. You can use the timetable to find out about traveling times to your destinations and then decide what you prefer. The overviews of hotels near railway stations for both Interlaken and Lucerne may come in handy here.

It doesn't matter whether you make long or short trips during your stay in Switzerland if you have a 4 day Swiss Pass: on all these four consecutive days, the pass will offer the free and discounted trips as explained at the Swiss Pass page. So for example, Interlaken-Wengen/Lauterbrunnen will be for free on any of these four days.
Last modified on Dec 28, 2014 - 4:35 PM by Arno
advmiraj
advmiraj
6 posts
new member
Nov 10, 2012 - 10:02 AM
Thanks Annika, I was away on business tours for a while and will come back to you on my doubts after more research. I heard france will not be included in eurail select from next year onwards and in that case would it be better taking point to point ticket and a Swiss pass for Swiss part of trip And overall ?

Miraj
Arno
Arno
7317 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 10, 2012 - 10:27 AM
Hi Miraj,

France will not be included in passes sold as of January, but if you purchase before January, you can still get a pass that includes France and use it in May. Please see this topic.

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