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Travel Transportation Airs, Trains, Buses, and Boats, what should I do ? What´s a Eurail Pass? How to rent a car abroad ? Is it safe to take the bus?

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Old 08-20-2006, 06:41 AM   #1
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I am planning on buying two national 30 day unlimited rail passes. I just have a couple of questions before I do.
We are from UK and will be in America from sept 6th but wont be requiring to use the pass until after a couple of weeks.
We don't know the exact date when our first trip will be so is it posible to buy the pass when we are over there just before we wish to use it? or will we have to buy it online before we go?

I tried emailing amtrak but some error came up and couldn't process the questions so I thought I'd ask you lovely lot!!
Cheers guys

xx
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Old 08-20-2006, 08:35 AM   #2
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I called Amtrak, they said that you can pick up your passes in Europe or America (as long as you have your passports showing you're not a U.S. resident) and the 30 days don't actually start counting down until you first board a train. (Make sure that the ticket agent accounts for this when you first use your passes - your first trip might be a few days after your estimated date)

Remember that you have to make reservations to travel, as well...

This should save you some money, because Sept 5 - December 14 are an 'off-peak' time, and the pass price goes to half.

When you purchase your passes, however, you should be able to set the start date for whenever you wish, and that will probably alleviate most of the problem.

(give up any thought of traveling over the Labor Day weekend, however!)
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Old 08-20-2006, 09:27 AM   #3
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Quote:
I called Amtrak [/b]
Way to go the extra mile.

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Old 08-20-2006, 09:48 AM   #4
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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(The Monsignor @ Aug 20 2006, 04:35 PM) [snapback]135834[/snapback]</div>
Quote:
I called Amtrak, they said that you can pick up your passes in Europe or America (as long as you have your passports showing you're not a U.S. resident) and the 30 days don't actually start counting down until you first board a train. (Make sure that the ticket agent accounts for this when you first use your passes - your first trip might be a few days after your estimated date)

Remember that you have to make reservations to travel, as well...

This should save you some money, because Sept 5 - December 14 are an 'off-peak' time, and the pass price goes to half.

When you purchase your passes, however, you should be able to set the start date for whenever you wish, and that will probably alleviate most of the problem.

(give up any thought of traveling over the Labor Day weekend, however!)
[/b]

yeah totally thanks so much for calling them, people really do go the extra mile just to help others on here as just mentioned that is really appreciated.

Ok so to sum it up, we can buy it over there but best to a couple of days before we want to use it first right?

Also when is labor day weekend? (sorry don't mean to be dense as)

When yu say you have to make reservations is that for every trip? can you not just jump on a train?
How far in advance can you make reservations do you know? can it be like a couple of days in advance or does it have to be weeks ahead?or even for one later that day?

cheers mightly for all the help so far
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Old 08-20-2006, 09:06 PM   #5
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Meaning that you can even pick them up online, or in europe. When you purchase them, you tell them the dates you want to start travel (if you look online, you can see all the peak/off peak periods, I think your trip fits within the 'off-peak' time, saving tons of money. The prices online may be better than an agent, too!) and they're good for 30 days after that. So you can purchase them well in advance, no problem. If you don't travel on the dates you thought you would, just make sure to tell the agent and they said they'll adjust your pass so that it starts counting down from the first day you actually board a train.

There's a toll-free number to call, once you're in the states, posted on their website... make sure you note it down, cause that's who you call to make reservations (and probably to adjust the pass dates)

Labor Day weekend is the last big holiday for the summer - 2-4 September, this year (which is why it's still during the "peak" price period)

You will need to make reservations for every train (just like flying) though, I'm sure the passes will work if there's open seats on a train and you just show up. Because of transportation safety regs, though, I'm not sure if that will work, anymore...

<<calling Amtrak again>>

o0...they have the politest computer/on-hold system ever...0o

Ok, I found out that, indeed, you could theoretically 'hop a train' if there are seats available, and reservations can be accepted the same day as travel occurs. The downside is that this summer, particularly, the seats have been selling out, so you should make your reservations a couple days in advance at least.

I also confirmed that, no matter when you buy your passes, the countdown doesn't occur until you first board the train. If you order online, you can probably specify the 'off-peak' dates, so that you don't pay the higher price, and you can actually buy the passes whenever you wish, so it's all pretty flexible, however you wish to do it.

They seem pretty flexible, so I'm certain that any problems you might have can be resolved by a quick call to their toll-free number (in the states, that's numbers starting with (1-) 800, 866, 877, and 888)

As far as making the phone call? It's a Sunday, and I had nothing better to do, other than play Kickball today, so no problemo!


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Old 08-24-2006, 04:17 PM   #6
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The Monsignor you really are like a knight in shining armor! - give your self a high 5 AND gold star!

That is so much more information than I ever thought I would get thank you so much! - You couldn'tve been more helpful and believe me it hasn't gone un noticed,

I am very highly appreciative of your help
Thank you again!
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Old 08-29-2006, 02:51 AM   #7
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I'd be really interested to hear how that goes, im planning on doing that at some point as well
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