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  1. #1
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    German Rail Pass

    My wife and I are heading to Germany for 10 days this summer. Have thought about renting a car but am now leaning toward getting a German Rail pass. Second Class is the best deal, but am open to getting a First Class if it guarantees us seats on a full train that a Second Class won't? Has anybody traveled by train that time of year? Is that ever an issue? Are there really any other benefits going the First Class Route?



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    Re: German Rail Pass

    I haven't done rail in Germany but I have in other countries in Europe and 2nd class was always fine. If you're staying in Germany the whole time then none of your trips will be overnight so you don't have to worry about sleeping.

    Rick Steves just recently had a podcast in the last month that talked to a guy that advises tourists in Germany on which passes to get. You may want to check it out.



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    Re: German Rail Pass

    We spent a week over there visiting friends a couple years ago. We were going to get a rail pass also but my friend talked us into renting a car. You're on your own schedule that way and with the built in GPS we had no trouble finding our way around. Also, I got to drive a BMW on the a****ahn.



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    Re: German Rail Pass

    Quote Originally Posted by CyOps View Post
    We spent a week over there visiting friends a couple years ago. We were going to get a rail pass also but my friend talked us into renting a car. You're on your own schedule that way and with the built in GPS we had no trouble finding our way around. Also, I got to drive a BMW on the a****ahn.
    I would drive also if you're going between small towns but there is no way I'd want to park or drive in the bigger cities.



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    Re: German Rail Pass

    Done Germany by rail and car. Either works. 2nd class is fine. Best way I found was to work with a travel agent, I used AAA. Had all the train stuff lined up beforehand.


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    Re: German Rail Pass

    I believe this is the podcast i was talking about.

    http://podcasts.ricksteves.com/feeds/pgm319_pod.mp3



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    Re: German Rail Pass

    Skip the rail and get a car. Driving 140mph on the A****ahn is awesome, and with GPS driving in the cities and parking is no problem. Parking lots are clearly marked with the big blue "P" sign, and the rates are reasonable. Also, the nice part is you can easily venture into neighboring countries (we left Cologne and drove through the Netherlands over to Brussels, Belgium for a beer and back through Luxemburg over a 3.5 hour drive). And you can always spend an afternoon on the Nurbergring if you rent a decent car.


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    Re: German Rail Pass

    Yeah, I think it highly depends on where you'll be going. Will you be spending your whole time in major cities? Then go rail pass for sure. Will you be spending your time going between smaller, more rural areas? Then get a car.



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    Re: German Rail Pass

    I've done both with regards to train and car. I, personally, prefer rail (unless if I am going someplace way out of the way) just because then I don't have to deal with traffic (the dreaded Stau in the summer can be pretty terrible) and parking. But both definitely have their advantages/disadvantages.

    As others have said, it depends on how flexible you want your itinerary to be. If you are hitting major cities, there are enough options connections-wise that flexibility is never really an issue with taking trains. Also, if you buy tickets in advance, I've never had an issue going up to the ticket counter and changing my departure times the day of travel (provided trains aren't sold out, but usually the worst case scenario is that I don't get a seat right away and have to stand).

    Another thing that I'd encourage you to do is look on the bahn.de site and think about booking individual journeys rather than getting a RailPass. In a lot (most?) cases, at least for me, it has been cheaper to book individually, particularly if you are booking well in advance to take advantage of the discount on IC/ICE trains (the fast ones). I'm not sure that I've ever had a situation where I would have come out ahead with a RailPass in the 8 or so times that I've been over there. If I remember correctly (it has been a couple years), you can get pretty good deals on day passes if you are staying within a state (i.e. Bavaria) and don't mind using the RB (slow trains with more stops).

    But there is something to be said for going 120 mph on the A****ahn... :)



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