Applying international Bahn travel tricks to save money for tickets

Suppose you are sick of Tanzverbot and you want to go from Karlsruhe to Hamburg. As a proper German you’d think of the Bahn first, although Germany started to allow long distance travel by bus, which is cheap and surprisingly comfortable. My favourite bus search engine is busliniensuche.de.

Anyway, you opted for the Bahn and you search a connection, the result is a one way travel for 40 Euro. Not too bad:
bahn-ka-hh-40

But maybe we can do better. If we travel from Switzerland, we can save a whopping 0.05 Euro!
bahn-basel-hh-40
Amazing, right? Basel SBB is the first station after the German border and it allows for international fares to be applied. Interestingly, special offers exist which apparently make the same travel, and a considerable chunk on top, cheaper.

But we can do better. Instead of travelling from Switzerland to Germany, we can travel from Germany to Denmark. To determine the first station after the German border, use the Netzplan for the IC routes and then check the local map, i.e. Schleswig Holstein. You will find Padborg as the first non German station. If you travel from Karlsruhe to Padborg, you save 17.5%:
bahn-ka-padborg-33

Sometime you can save by taking a Global ticket, crossing two borders. This is, however, not the case for us:
bahn-basel-padborg-49

In case you were wondering whether it’s the very same train and route all the time: Yes it is. Feel free to look up the CNL 472.
db-cnl-472

I hope you can use these tips to book a cheaper travel.
Do you know any ways to “optimise” your Bahn ticket?

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5 Responses to “Applying international Bahn travel tricks to save money for tickets”

  1. Hubert says:

    For the route Vienna Munich it is sometimes cheaper (at least for owners of the ÖBB VORTEILScard) to buy tow seperate tickets:
    ÖBB (Austrian Federal Railways) Vienna Salzburg
    DB Salzburg Munich
    for the route Salzburg Vienna there is also competitor the WESTbahn.

  2. Sam Thursfield says:

    Heh. It’s good to know that after all German train ticket pricing is just as wacky as in the UK. It’s sometimes cheaper to break your journey into sections and buy separate tickets than to buy one ticket for your whole journey. (Of course it’s usually stupidly expensive even after doing that)

  3. Martin says:

    You might be interested in listening to this lecture from GPN13. It is in german, which I assume you’ll understand.

    https://entropia.de/GPN13:Bahnfahren_f%C3%BCr_Anf%C3%A4nger_und_Fortgeschrittene

  4. Karthik says:

    You can use

    bahn.ltur.com

    They have spar-preis search and the listings are easy to find.

  5. Nice tips, haven’t tried this, but i might feature this on my travel site! Thank you! ;)