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Raileurope.com: See Europe by train
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Old 04-14-2008, 01:39 AM   #1
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Default Eastern Europe train options

so, I'm getting to the exciting planning & booking stages for my july trip! yay!
I'm a little stuck on trains though. the trips we would be doing are:
berlin -> warsaw
warsaw -> krakow
krakow -> bratislava
bratislava -> budapest
budapest -> vienna
vienna -> prague
prague -> munich

as far as I can understand, buying a eurail pass would be pointless. am I right? however I don't want to spend my holiday worrying about whether I'm going to be able to get a train! from my experience in the czech republic before, I know the trains aren't terribly reliable, and I'm sure there are cheaper options, but I really love trains so I don't want to bus the whole way around - I'll do it for some journeys if its a huge saving, but I'm happy to pay a little extra for the train. I just want to know if I need to book any trains before I go, how much I should expect them to cost, etc etc. I've only ever traveled on eurail passes before!
thanks guys any help would be appreciated!
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Old 04-14-2008, 04:28 AM   #2
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I've said this a couple of times before but http://www.studentagency.cz/ is a Czech based bus service which is pretty rad. Cheap as hell plus they give you hot chocolate and have movies! Check it out.

Also if you need some peace of mind you can always make a booking for departure when you arrive.
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Old 04-14-2008, 05:42 AM   #3
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Old 04-14-2008, 09:49 AM   #4
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You won't need a eurail pass, but you should get an idea of travel times so you can figure out your time properly. www.bahn.de is a German site that has international train schedules, though not always prices for international routes. You could also hunt down the excellent Thomas Cook European Train Schedule, which is published quarterly, I believe. I have one from 1991 that still gives surprisingly accurate info about routes/times.

It's not necessary to get reservations in advance, but you may know that if you don't you could end up riding in the corridor, sitting on your pack, squashed among all the other people who didn't book a seat. If it's a short trip, it's fine, but on some of the longer hauls you might not feel totally refreshed on arrival if you take this option. I've traveled by train between most of these cities, although not necessarily in the same order. We took a night train from Krakow to Budapest which was perfectly safe, if you take reasonable precautions - I mention that because people often warn against night trains, and I've never personally had any problems on night trains anywhere in Europe, including that one specifically.

I absolutely love Eastern Europe, your trip sounds fantastic, and I hope you have a great time.

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Old 04-14-2008, 03:51 PM   #5
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this site should give you the right scheduals for trains www.sbb.ch/en/
i`ve also used www.railkey.com/ it helped me out heaps when i did the eurail thing.
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Old 04-14-2008, 04:18 PM   #6
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thanks guys this is helpful! raoulduke, I saw you mentioned student agency in another thread, and I think we will use those for some trips because it does seem amazingly cheap! but I'd still like to use trains for at least half the trips!
when I was doing eurail, we'd arrive in a city on the train and book our next train while we were still at the station, so about 2-3 days in advance. does this sound good? I've only ever travelled in winter before, for some reason I'm picturing the entire continent jam-packed with hordes of american tourists in the summer! july is the only time we could go. so I'd like to book as much in advance as possible, we're really into having a holiday, rather than some huge exhausting adventure
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Old 04-14-2008, 05:22 PM   #7
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I was in Eastern Europe last July and I never had any troubles getting on a train. Don't stress too much about it. Once you get over there you'll get a feel for how busy it is and whether or not you should book ahead.
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Old 04-14-2008, 06:51 PM   #8
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I agree completely with Adam. I've done too much June/July traveling in Europe too. If it was me, and I knew how long I was going to be in one city, upon arrival at the trainstation, I would go ahead and buy my departure ticket. Nice and easy, no worries. I love the adventure aspect! But sometimes its just damn nice to have smooths legs of the trip....
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Old 04-14-2008, 10:42 PM   #9
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Yeah when i travelled round eastern europe we didnt have a proper plan, we just arrived in a city, decided how long we wanted to stay and then booked a train to the next city. We didnt have any problems doing that, apart from in Lviv, Ukraine, where we spent a whole day trying to find a way of getting to warsaw!

all of the journeys youre planning seem to be on quite popular routes so it shouldnt be a problem finding a train, but like somebody said they might get quite full.
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