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Purchase train tickets in advance?

Napa Valley, CA
Level Contributor
2,371 posts
12 reviews
Purchase train tickets in advance?

We have doing lots of research for tour trip in September. After looking at multiple options we have decided to purchase the Half Fare Card for all of our train, tram, and cog rail trips. Do we need to buy any of these train tickets in advance?( I have purchased tickets for a train trip to Italy following our time in Switzerland as buying in advance saved us money). We will be traveling from Zurich to Wengen for a 2 week stay. That means train travel from Zurich, through Bern, Interlaken, and Lauterbrunnen then to Wengen. We will also travel to Zermatt from Wengen at the end of our 2 weeks in Wengen. While in Wengen we will do various day trips using trains. The main question is do we need to buy the tickets in advance from Zurich to Wengen? Do we buy the Half Fare Card from home or from a train station once we arrive in Zurich? Thank so much for your advice!

6 replies to this topic
Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Osaka
Level Contributor
62,278 posts
171 reviews
1. Re: Purchase train tickets in advance?

Buying HFC: either do so at home and choose to have it sent to your email, or you can buy upon arrival. The price is the same at 120 CHF.

Buying train tickets in advance: no real need unless you want to go for the Supersaver tickets that are train-specific (miss the train and your ticket is not valid). Supersaver tickets, if available, offer additional savings, but they might not be significant enough to sacrifice flexibility.

Do look at the Saver Day Pass. With an HFC, the cost is as low as 29CHF. The pass is valid for an entire day, covering most transport except most mountain trips. For longer trips such as Zurich to Wengen, it will save you additional money. However, HFC price increases with finite availability as travelers buy them.

https:/…saver-day-pass.html

Napa Valley, CA
Level Contributor
2,371 posts
12 reviews
2. Re: Purchase train tickets in advance?

Thank you. Don't you mean Saver Day Pass prices increase as availability decreases? I had read about the Saver Day Passes. I wasn't sure if you could purchase those with the Half Fare Card as I thought the Half Fare Card gave you a discount and that would be your only discount. If we buy just the Half Fare Card and buy a ticket from Zurich to Wengen we get it for half price. Can we have the Half Fare Card and with it get the Saver Day Pass for a certain day and save additional money? If we just go with the Half Fare Card would we need to buy any of our tickets in advance?

England, United...
Level Contributor
3,601 posts
195 reviews
3. Re: Purchase train tickets in advance?

Look on www.sbb.ch/en and search for saver day pass. You will see they can be bought for 60 days. They start at 29chf for a half fare pass, although often this price sells out in a few hours and they become 39chf, then 49chf.

Sbb are gradually withdrawing the tourist options, lining them up with the normal options. They will probably keep the one month half fare card I think as it lines up with the full year GA card used by locals.

The only tickets to buy in advance are the tourist options, like Jungfraujoch seat reservations, you can leave the actual ticket to the day if you want. Oh, and saver passes for specific trains.

Edited: 20 July 2018, 15:31
Napa Valley, CA
Level Contributor
2,371 posts
12 reviews
4. Re: Purchase train tickets in advance?

Thank you. Our dates for Zurich to Wengen is Sept. 9, so we can buy that now if we choose. Our friends are joining us Spet 15 so they also could buy that ticket as a Saver Day Pass if they are still available. Other than that, we can just buy the tickets we need as we need them. Were will look at buying the Jungfraujoch a few days early as we check the weather when we are in Wengen. I have found that we can buy the Half Fare Card online in advance from home.

Salisbury, United...
Level Contributor
10,461 posts
149 reviews
5. Re: Purchase train tickets in advance?

Don’t buy the tickets for Jungfraujoch until the morning of Travel. The weather can be very changeable and you’ll waste an awful lot of money if the top is in cloud.

You can reserve a seat beforehand, no ticket required, you pay a small amount so would only loose a few chf if you didn’t go. However going in September I doubt you even need to do this.

Just chill and go with the flow, be prepared to just have a list of what you want to do and fit it into each day according to the weather. Also have a plan B list incase of awful weather, it does happen!

Enjoy and don’t stress.

Napa Valley, CA
Level Contributor
2,371 posts
12 reviews
6. Re: Purchase train tickets in advance?

Thank you all. So just to clarify. I do not need to purchase any of our train tickets ahead of time. I am primarily referring to our first long trip from Zurich to Wengen. I can buy the Half Fare Card from home online if I choose and then use it to buy all tickets for trains, gondolas, trams, etc. For the Glacier Express form Zermatt to Brig (the beginning of our train travel to Florence, Italy) it looks like I can reserve seats now and buy the tickets there. For the Jungfraujoch, I will watch the weather and plan this a day in advance or the day of. We will be doing that trip mid to late Sept. so maybe not as busy as July and August. Any other bits of advice?

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