Staying in Paris, Travelling beyond
June 5, 2006 5:03 PM   Subscribe

Eurail Pass or point-to-point?

I'm going to be living in Paris for 7 weeks. While there I want to do some outside traveling (Germany, Spain, Portugal, Greece) on the weekends. Should I buy a Eurail Pass or wing it with point to point tickets? (or any other means?)
posted by Satapher to Travel & Transportation around Paris, France (10 answers total)
Look into Easyjet or Ryanair. Not as romantic as traveling by rail, but if you want to spend more time in the destination than on the journey it might be worth looking into.
posted by birdherder at 5:14 PM on June 5, 2006

I remember going to Europe and thinking, damn, it's not cost effective at all to get the pass unless you live on the train. Instead, if you are a student or under 26 just go rail to rail and get a discount.
posted by |n$eCur3 at 5:17 PM on June 5, 2006

Point-to-point, or some other means. A Eurailpass won't do you any real good for weekend trips.
posted by occhiblu at 6:38 PM on June 5, 2006

Last time I was in Germany, they had weekend passes which allowed unlimited travel on non-express / 2nd class trains for something like 20 Marks...and from memory, that was for up to five people - teenagers would typically "hitch" on random strangers' passes. It would be worth finding out if France etc have similar deals.

Eurail is probably only worth it if you are constantly on the move, as I was when I used it...sleeping on the train is a great way to save on hostels!
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:39 PM on June 5, 2006

Wing it.
posted by lampoil at 7:04 PM on June 5, 2006

Depends on how much you travel, really. If you're doing 7 weeks, that means ~ 6 weekends, so 12 trips at most. If you do the full 12 trips Eurail will be cheaper, but if you only go 3 or 4 weekends then city-to-city tickets will be better.

One awesome thing about the Eurail is you can basically grab any train you want, and not have to worry about scheduling too much, which was great for me because I had no idea how long I would want to stay in certain cities, and if a place ended up being uninteresting I could just skip on to the next city, or if I was enamored with a place I could stay longer.

Also Paris -> Greece is a looong way, if you take the train it will be a lot of money and will take you probably 12 hours or more each way, so you probably want to look at ryanair/easyjet for that leg.

In general it sounds like with the distances involved, and the number of trips you will be making, that Eurail will be cheaper, but you're going to have to examine train fares between some sample cities to get a good idea.
posted by spatula at 7:10 PM on June 5, 2006

The SNCF has discount cards that you can buy for travel within France: the Carte 12-25 for 50% off tickets, or another card if you're not under 26 for 25% off. It was 43 euros and good for a year when I got it (probably a bit more now). You might want to check to see if it's good on the France portions of your international trips.
posted by komilnefopa at 7:11 PM on June 5, 2006

If you're looking for something very very flexible, a Eurail pass works well. However, booking train tickets in advance (even if just a week) will result in some pretty serious savings. Since you're going to be based in Paris and since you know when you're going to be travelling (the weekends), I'd recommend planning ahead and booking tickets in advance. This, coupled with a discount card, will be much cheaper than a eurail pass (which has always struck me as a bit of a rip off).

That being said, though, for anything further away, discount airlines are the way to go.
posted by lumiere at 10:23 PM on June 5, 2006

No -- a railpass would be inappropriate for your situation. To save money, book your rail tickets online, in advance; or take a budget airline (again, booked in advance).
posted by Rash at 9:23 AM on June 6, 2006

thank you one and all!
posted by Satapher at 12:10 AM on June 7, 2006

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