Subject: Kilometric pass and Milan GTG
There is a kilometric Italian rail ticket (3000 km shared between family members) available here (Australia) but my travel agent seems to think supplements would make it just as expensive as buying tickets there. Any advice? Our itinerary above is all by train plus my husbands trip from Rome to Milan. (remainder snipped)

I have bought the pass for two trips. Besides a limit of 3000 km (about 1800 miles total), I believe there is a limit of five users and 20 trips. Once, my wife and both of my daughters shared one, and the second time my wife and one daughter (part of the trip) did.

The pass is our preferred means of group travel because it is vastly cheaper than any of the other pass programs, even taking supplements into account. As I recall, we paid less than $300 (all figures US) for a first class pass, and the cheapest individual passes were in the $200 range per person. We took fast trains on longer trips but deliberately avoided them on shorter ones. You have to pay for reservations, but this is true on all pass programs. I get the feeling that the most significant asses the Railpass and elated international passes offer are travel over large distances and being able to avoid dealing with ticket sellers, which can be a problem even when they nominally speak English. I don't believe that the on the kilometric pass have to be related, though I think they have to be listed when you get the pass.

At the same time, 1800 miles is a lot for two people in Italy (I gathered from the rest of the letter that Connie's trip is only with her husband), especially when you are going no further South than Rome. We did use ours up this past time, but we had a day return trip from Naples to Rome as well as a trip from Rome to Florence and another from Florence to Milan. A minor bonus is that conductors have occasionally forgotten to mark our ticket so we got that leg for free.

Supplements are a topic in their own right. Apparently, the individual stationmaster sets their value (I bow to the comments of the Italians on this point) so you cannot find out in Milan, for example, what the supplement is from Florence to Bologna, and that supplement apparently may differ from the Bologna to Florence supplement. However, the total of the supplements we paid was nowhere near enough to make the kilometric pass a bad choice for us. Because we have traveled as a group, we have not explored the options that Marco De Angeli suggest. These are worth looking into (Railpass is probably not since your travel is limited in range).

In sum, I have to waver on whether the pass will be a good choice for the two of you (point for point may be the cheapest), but it definitely can be for three or more.

On another point, if Marco and SImone can organize a GTG, do it by all means. My wife and I had a fabulous time. We had never enjoyed Milan because, IMHO, it certainly does not offer the range of things for a tourist that other cities do, but we are looking forward to going back just to see the two of them and their friends again.

Ira H. Bernstein