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Traveling by train is also cheap: saver prices, flat rates and more for traveling

“All of Germany from 49 euros” and “because the train is cheaper” - that's how Deutsche Bahn currently advertises the permanent special family in a TV spot. Unfortunately, it is not that simple: If you want to drive with the cheap tariffs, you have to plan carefully and book in good time. stern.de shows what is important when buying tickets.

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Train instead of car

Gasoline prices are rising and rising, especially in the holiday season. But at home no one has to stay that way: the train lures with special fares that can actually be cheaper than driving by car. Assuming you get the cheap tickets really. However, this can be difficult if one relies on the railway employees at the counter: Because find, so a test result of the Stiftung Warentest, not always the cheapest offer.

Looking at your own fist on the Internet is perhaps the better and cheaper option, because often the train also requires a surcharge for the purchase at the counter. However, the traveler must then find his way through the tariff jungle alone, without any advice. It can be difficult to filter out the cheapest offer among all the savings, special offers and country tickets. We will explain how it works and how to find the best price.

Duration special

The duration special is currently advertised as particularly favorable. From 29 Euro you can make a one-way trip with the IC, the ICE or the City Night Line across Germany per person. It does not matter how long the track is. For example, Hamburg-Munich with ICE costs just as much as the Frankfurt-Munich route with IC. However, there are only a certain amount of cheap tickets: If the trains are heavily used, the tickets in steps of ten more expensive - up to 69 Euro each way. Bonus: Children under six years ride for free. In the permanent special family, even two adults and children ride from 49 Euro 15 years even travel for free.

The ticket must be purchased no later than three days before departure - the sooner the better and best vending machines or the Internet, because at the counter it will be five euros more expensive. The cheap tickets are available from three months before departure and who comes too late, must drive more expensive. In addition, you set yourself with the duration special on a specific long-distance train, exchange and refund excluded. However, if you also use a local train for part of the route, you can choose it freely.

Another plus: You can also interrupt the trip for 24 hours and even make small detours: For example, you can even stay in Hanover for one day and one night for the same money on the way from Nuremberg to Berlin. Even railway employees often don't know that. If you want to book this on the Internet, you have to click on the "About" option when selecting the destination and then enter a corresponding length of stay. But be careful: if it is too long, you will not get a permanent special.

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Savings price 25 and 50

The duration special is not the cheapest option in all cases. For example, if you travel from Dortmund to Hamburg and back, you pay with the duration special in the cheapest variant 58 Euro. It can also cost 118 Euro - so that the duration special would be just as expensive as the normal price on this route in the IC. Far cheaper with the economy price: With the savings price 25 you pay only 93,75 Euro, with the low price 50 even only 58 Euro. It is still cheap, if you still have the Bahncard 25: Then you can deduct 25 again. Already for 44,95 Euro you can travel in the IC from Dortmund to Hamburg and back and just like the duration special make a detour or interrupt the trip for a day and a night.

As with the duration special, there is only a certain contingent of tickets that you can buy up to three days before departure and you have to commit to certain trains in long-distance travel. However, the 50 discount between return trip must be one night from Saturday to Sunday or one week from Sunday to Saturday (so-called weekend binding). And the minimum price must be without BahnCard 38 Euro. For this you can exchange the tickets in the economy price until one day before departure for 15 Euro. Both savings rates can be used in combination with the passenger discount. Up to four passengers travel in this way for half the price.

Almost the same conditions apply to the austerity prices 25 and 50 Europe: Only that the weekend commitment here almost always applies and the minimum price must be 19 Euro.

Spontaneous frequent travelers: BahnCard 50

What else is there for the BahnCard, where there are special prices and permanent specials? The BahnCard 50 for 220 Euro (reduced 110 Euro) per year in the second class is interesting for you if you drive a lot spontaneously or travel frequently in local traffic. Then you get 50 percent discount without having to book in advance. Since the BahnCard does not apply in many alliances, you can use a trick here, if your start or destination is close to the compound border: Just buy one more station than you would like to drive or take the IC for short distances - and already applies the BahnCard, which can significantly reduce the fare. For example, the one way trip from Neuwied-Engers to Bonn in the Verkehrsverbund Rhein Sieg costs 6,30 Euro. If you start one station before in Vallendar, you pay only 50 Euro for the same route with BahnCard 5,45.

Double savings: BahnCard 25

But the BahnCard 25 can possibly bring significantly more savings than the BahnCard 50 - and costs with 55 Euro in the second class in the year only a quarter as much. Because the BahnCard 25 is credited on both savings rates. Up to 62,5% savings of the normal price are possible. And also in many transport associations the BahnCard 25 is credited. The Youth BahnCard 25 even costs only once 10 Euro to 19. Age.

With the BahnCard you can also earn bonus points and use the city ticket function free of charge. This means that you can continue to use local public transport in many German cities free of charge. Prerequisite: You buy a ticket with BahnCard discount, the destination station of your train journey is over 100 kilometers away and your destination is within the scope of city tickets. The latter is sometimes not easy to recognize: For example, the city ticket in Berlin is valid only in area A and only in the S-Bahn, but not in the subway.

Driving at the flat rate price?

Interrail is the best-known rail service for foreign countries. But Deutsche Bahn also has a few savings available on a national basis. You can, for example, actually go to the flat rate price. How you can find out here.

Until the 31. August applies the Germany passport: With that you can drive for 299 Euro (youngsters under 26: 249 Euro) for a month all over Germany. If you frequently drive certain routes, want to be spontaneous or plan a tour of Germany with several stages, this offer is right for you: Because it applies to all of Germany and you are not bound to a fixed train on any specific day of the week. But there are also restrictions: long-distance trains such as Interconnex and the Vogtland Express as well as purely tourist trains and special trains are excluded from use.

Those who want to travel by night train City Night Line, pay an extra charge. And since there is no passenger discount, the offer is most likely something for individual travelers. If you only occasionally travel or pre-book, you drive with saver price or DauerSpezial cheaper. And even the BahnCard can be more rewarding for spontaneous travel. For example, you pay for the route Hamburg - Munich and back in the normal price 244 Euro, if you then take a weekend trip, the Germany Pass has been worthwhile. On the other hand, you can use a BahnCard throughout the year. So do it well.

countries tickets

While considering the savings opportunities in long-distance travel, the weekend ticket for now 35 Euro only worthwhile for groups who bring a lot of time, the regional transport regional tickets can be a real alternative. Up to five people can travel from 25 Euro (different depending on the state) through the region for one day. Even children of grandchildren under 15 years travel in unlimited numbers.

In almost all federal states - except in Hesse, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Schleswig-Holstein - there is also the single tariff: Here you can drive alone from 18 Euro. However, the country tickets are only valid for public transport, IC and ICE are excluded from use. Nevertheless, especially on shorter distances the time difference often only a few minutes.


Inexpensive and faster you can reach the destination on shorter routes with the leisure ticket:

The offer applies for example between Nuremberg and Stuttgart or between Hanover and Göttingen and on many other routes from Monday to Thursday and Saturday to 3.00 the following day in the ICE and IC. For 19 to 39 Euro you can travel here and back if both trips take place on the same day.

There is no pre-sale period, but at the counter the cards are more expensive 5 Euro. However: Often, a country ticket is cheaper and the journey does not take much longer. Example Hamburg-Bremen: With the Niedersachsen-Ticket Single you pay only 19 Euro and are only 20 minutes longer per way than with the leisure ticket in IC or ICE. When traveling in a group, the country tickets are even much cheaper.

Across Europe: Interrail

The best-known train offer for foreign countries is Interrail: The Global Pass for a month of free travel throughout Europe is now available for 399 Euro (travelers up to 26 years) or for 599 Euro for everyone else. Even in the first class, Interrail is now possible: for 899 Euro. For express and night trains and ferries are in many places, however, surcharges and reservation obligations. For example, the Berlin-Warsaw route in the Berlin-Warszawa Express will cost 3,50 Euro extra. For night trains, the trains charge between 4 Euro in the seat car and 150 Euro in the sleeping car.

If you do not want to pay surcharges, you have to adjust to slow trains and detours. All in all, Interrail is only worthwhile if you really travel all over Europe in a month - a stressful task that you might be better off with. If you do not want to be on the road all the time or just want to travel to individual countries, there are almost always better offers.

Cheap abroad

For shorter trips Interrail now offers cheaper tickets. For example, an 22 day variant for 309 Euro (for young people under 26) is available up to 629 Euro (in first class). Anyone who only travels ten days during this time will save between 90 and 140 Euro again. The price includes train travel in all 30 participating countries, including distant states such as Finland, Ireland and Turkey.

In addition, there are the one-country passes: They are valid for one month on 3 to 8 travel days in one European country. The countries are divided into four groups: Passes for France, Great Britain, Norway and Sweden are the most expensive, while Bulgaria, Macedonia, Slovenia and Turkey are the cheapest. Three days of France, on the other hand, hit 189 Euro - no bargain.

If you buy individual tickets, they often get away cheaper, eg with SurfundRail International (3 days advance booking, depending on availability from 19 Euro for a single trip) or with the Europe Special from 39 Euro for a single trip to Italy, Austria, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Paris.

But it is also worthwhile to look directly at the neighbors: For example, also holds French train, SNCF, cheap tickets for early bookers and for German customers an online offer in German language A France tour of Strasbourg over Paris to Nice and back to Strasbourg is already there from 123 Euro - including all surcharges. And also with the Thalys one comes from 25 Euro to Paris.

Sleepless travel at night?

If you enjoy traveling at night, from 49 Euro you can travel in the City Night Line on 29 to nine European countries. And from 280 Euro on selected routes, you can travel every night for seven days to another metropolis - in a couchette cart with five other Mitschläfern.

A place in a sleeping compartment including breakfast beats already from 455 Euro to book. However, the question is whether you will actually find as much peace in a moving train with stops and possibly noisy passengers as in a hotel.

Riders are looking for

Many offers, such as saver prices or country tickets, are cheaper in the group. If you don't have someone to drive with you: search the web and share the price. You can find passengers, for example, at mitbahnen.de/ or mitbahnzentrale.de

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4 responses to “rail travel is also cheap: saver prices, flat rates and the like while traveling”

  1. Roger Stenslien says:

    Wow, this article is really challenging.

  2. Robert Vaneffen says:

    What a successful preparation of this important topic. Thanks a lot for this!#

  3. Kerstin Levat says:

    With everything that goes wrong in Germany, it is no wonder that more and more highly qualified people are leaving. Nevertheless, I find your efforts to inform your readers admirable.

  4. My article in the Süddeutschen about mobility advisor: The ticket tinkerer | Profession pictures by Simone Janson says:

    [...] no one looks pressure to find out how to get from A to B in the cheapest way. I already have a whole series of articles about it [...]

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