Subject: Re: Rail passes for Italy
Hello Graziella,

I will be taking my ninth trip to Italy in April and May. I have in all cases but one traveled on the Italian rail system. Also in most cases I have traveled alone.

I have traveled both with a pass and without, depending on how many trips I wanted to take or how the pass price compared with the point to point price. I have always purchased the passes before leaving home. Last time I did the 4 trips in 30 days pass because that worked out better. This time I am going point to point because that turns out to be less expensive.

I do not spend the time trying to figure all this out. I work with a travel agent for transportation and do hotels and tours myself. I do, however, research the schedules to and from the towns I am visiting after the agent has made suggestions. Then I tell him exactly which trains I want to take if I am making reservations ahead.

As someone mentioned, it is necessary to have reservations on the Eurostar trains whether you want first or second class. I believe

with a pass it is less expensive to make those in Europe than say with Rail Europe before you leave. Either way reservations ahead will depend on if you know for sure which trains you want to take. I have made these reservations both at home and when I validate the ticket the first time.

For this trip the price even with first class Eurostar tickets reserved ahead turned out cheaper, just about the cost of the pass before reservations. I guess it all depends on how much research you want to put into it.

Just remember to pack light because in almost all cases you will have to sling your luggage on and off the train yourself. Also in some of the smaller towns, you will have to carry it down stairs to the passage under the tracks and then back up. Also at times, you might have to sling the luggage to an overhead rack.

Enjoy! Joan in Rockford

Mod's note from Linda: According to the Rail Europe site, Fares include the price of the ticket, the reservation and, if you travel in Premium First or first class, the price of the meal.