Booking German (Deutsche Bahn) Train Tickets Online

Thrifty Travel Mama | Booking German Train Tickets Online

Help for travelers and traveling families traveling by train in Germany

Are you planning a trip to Germany and need to get around by train?  Then this post is for you!

The German rail system is excellent, and most of the time it is the easiest and most efficient way to travel in country.  Follow along as I walk you through how to book tickets yourself – online at

Thrifty Travel Mama's Guide to Booking German Rail Tickets Online

Here’s the DB (Deutsche Bahn) home page.  Yes, it’s in German, but don’t let that scare you.  It’s rather easy to change the language.

Thrifty Travel Mama's Guide to Booking German Rail Tickets Online

If you’re English-speaking, I recommend changing the country to Germany.  I’m sure I had a good reason for doing this a few years ago when I started booking tickets online, but I’ve forgotten it by now.  If you prefer to choose USA or UK/Ireland, go for it.

Thrifty Travel Mama's Guide to Booking German Rail Tickets Online

Enter your starting point and destination in the first two fields on the left-hand side of the page.  Select the dates of travel (select Return journey for round-trip), and the times you would like to depart or arrive.

Though it is possible to book a train ticket with more than one destination, I won’t be covering that in today’s post.  If you’d like to try your hand at it, click “Further Search Options,” and enter your stopover(s).

Thrifty Travel Mama's Guide to Booking German Rail Tickets Online

Now, select the number of passengers in each age range.  It’s important to note that certain discounts can apply if two or more adults are traveling together and if one or more adults are traveling with children.

Awesome news for families – there’s no charge for children five and under!  Children aged 6 to 14 also travel free provided they are accompanied by their parent(s) or guardian(s).  Only enter the number of children five and under if you’d like a seat reservation for them.  I’ll get to seat reservations in a minute, but in case you are wondering at this stage of the game, I always enter my three children in my search whether or I actually reserve a seat or not.

Discounts are only given for those carrying a German BahnCard, Austrian VORTEILScard, Swiss HalbtaxAbo, or a Voordeelurenabo card from the Netherlands.  More on BahnCards below… It’s worth noting that discount cards will be checked on board, so don’t claim to have one if you don’t.

Thrifty Travel Mama's Guide to Booking German Rail Tickets Online

Next, you’re going to see a page with several train options based on the criteria entered on the homepage.  Here are some things to pay attention to!

First, double check the exact name of the station.  Big cities (such as Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, etc.) have multiple Bahnhofs (train stations).  Tief means underground, and refers to a particular part of the Berlin Hauptbahnhof.  Frankfurt Flughafen (Airport) and Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof are not the same!  However, at the Frankfurt Airport, Fernbahnhof (long distance trains) and Regionalbahnhof (regional trains such as those going to the city of Frankfurt) are two areas of the same station.

Triple check your dates and remember that Europeans use the DD.MM.YY format.

When determining which train to select, the number of changes should be considered.  Ideally, nonstop trains are everyone’s first choice.  But, they may be more expensive or unavailable between the two cities you selected.  From personal experience, if you are making your way to/from an airport with luggage, it is worth it to pay extra for a nonstop train if that is an option.

Total travel time can also be used to narrow down your options.  The main factor in travel time is the type of train used on the route.  Here’s a crash course on a few types of trains you might see:

  • ICE (Inter City Express) trains are the fastest but often the most expensive.
  • IC (Inter City) trains are a little slower than ICE and not as luxurious.
  • RE (Regional Express) and RB (Regional Bahn) are much slower because they make multiple stops along the route.
  • S (S-bahn or Schnell-bahn) are often only used in a regions, not usually between big cities.  They are commuter trains and may have limited seating and facilities.

Thrifty Travel Mama's Guide to Booking German Rail Tickets Online

Another deciding factor for me personally is the amount of transfer time between trains.  Five minutes or less is generally not enough time to shuffle two preschoolers, a baby, a pram, four suitcases, and two frazzled adults from one train to another.  I find ten to fifteen minutes to be ideal.  Any more time than that and the boys start going stir crazy trying to entertain themselves on a very boring train platform.

It’s also worth noting the platform numbers.  If the numbers are, say, 4 and 5, you probably do not have far to go, and a tighter connection may be doable.

Of course, if the train is late, then all bets are off and even your ten to fifteen minute cushion may disappear into thin air.  Not that a German train would ever be late…

Thrifty Travel Mama's Guide to Booking German Rail Tickets Online

Once you’ve chosen your train, it’s time to take a look at price (or did you start with price and then narrow down from there?).  All routes have standard fares that usually only change once per year.  But, a certain number of tickets on each route are offered at the Savings Fare (also called Sparpreis).

Savings Fares can be up to 50% off and a super deal if you nab them in time.  The best time to secure a Savings Fare is when the route opens, 90 days prior to departure.  After that, it’s anyone’s guess how long they’ll be available.  Savings Fares are not available within 3 days of departure.

Lest you find yourself in shock, I should let you know that the price displayed on the first leg of your itinerary is NOT the full price for the journey.  The full price for both legs will be calculated once both train routes have been selected.

Thrifty Travel Mama's Guide to Booking German Rail Tickets Online

So since we’re thrifty around here, it seems only right that we’d always choose the Savings Fare if available, right?  Wrong.

Savings Fares come with very specific conditions.  If you book the 9am train from Mannheim to Frankfurt (Main) Hbf and pay the Savings Fare, you MUST take that train, or you lose your ticket.  If you book the 9am train from Mannheim to Frankfurt (Main) Hbf and pay the Standard Fare, then you may take ANY train on that day provided the departure and arrival points are the same (even if the route is slightly different).

When would a Standard Fare be worth the extra money?  In my experience, the only time I have considered coughing up full price is to and from the airport.  Let’s say you arrive on a 12pm flight.  You estimate two hours to clear customs, collect luggage, find the train station, and get yourself to the platform.  But, what if your flight is delayed and you arrive at 1pm instead of 12pm?  Despite your best efforts, you may not make the connection, and Deutsche Bahn is not interested in excuses, only in correct tickets.  Consider the best and worst case scenarios, and choose wisely!

Once in a while, I have seen First Class fares that rivaled (or beat) Second Class Fares.  What is First Class and why would you want to pay more for it?  Here’s an honest review.

Thrifty Travel Mama's Guide to Booking German Rail Tickets Online

After selecting the fare, you may or may not be given the recommendation to purchase a BahnCard and save immediately.  A BahnCard 25 gives the user 25 percent of all fares, Standard and Savings.  A BahnCard 50 gives the user a 50 percent savings on Standard fares only. 

Should you get a BahnCard?  Well, it depends on if you are a resident (definitely yes) or a visitor (maybe).  The temporary BahnCard (ready to print and use immediately) is normally valid for only 30 days.  The actual BahnCard is then shipped to you (as far as I understand, it’s fine to ship a BahnCard to a foreign address).  If you’re a visitor, you’ll either need to order it in advance so that the card arrives before you depart for Germany, or you’ll need to time the purchase just right so that you will only ever need the temporary card.

I’ve had a BahnCard 25 every year I’ve lived here.  It pays for itself with two roundtrips to Frankfurt Airport.  And for those who are residents with a partner and children, the BahnCard 25 is a sweet deal.  The partner card costs only 10 euros for the year!  You’ll need to visit a DB office in person to apply for a partner card.

Thrifty Travel Mama's Guide to Booking German Rail Tickets Online

Then, choose how to proceed with the booking.  If you don’t plan on booking with DB again, just select “Book without registering.”  Otherwise, subsequent bookings are much faster if you register.

Thrifty Travel Mama's Guide to Booking German Rail Tickets Online

The most convenient (and cheapest) way to ticket the journey is online via .pdf.  (I have yet to try the Mobile Phone Ticket – this is a new feature since I last used DB in September 2012.)

Thrifty Travel Mama's Guide to Booking German Rail Tickets Online

Now, it’s time to think about seat reservations.  On the one hand, seat reservations are quite convenient and a blessing when trains are SRO (yes, this frequently happens during peak travel times and holidays).  On the other hand, they cost money, and if the train is empty you may feel like you wasted your cash.

My general rule is to pay for seat reservations on any journey over 2 or 2 1/2 hours, with two exceptions:  traveling alone or during children’s sleep times.  We often have to take the 5am train from our city to the Frankfurt Airport.  I find it best to reserve a compartment, keep the children in pj’s, and then have them lie down across two seats for an hour-long nap.  We have also had the boys nap successfully going to/from Berlin and Hamburg.

What are the different types of seats available?

  • Open Saloon – main compartment.  Seats are similar to airline seats: two across, foot rests, tray tables.  Seats may or may not be facing direction of travel.
  • Open Saloon with table – four seats around a table in the main compartment.
  • Compartment – six seats in a closed cabin.  The four seats closest to the window are around a small table.  The two seats closest to the compartment door have a small side table.  I always chose this type of seat reservation when possible.
  • Parent-and-child Compartment – similar to a Compartment, but slightly larger.  I’ve only ever seen these on ICE trains.  Since there’s only one per train, they book fast.  If you risk having no reservation and want to try to sit here (please do not try this if you do not have children!), the compartment is usually located between the dining car and the first class coaches.

Thrifty Travel Mama's Guide to Booking German Rail Tickets Online

The next page will show whether or not DB was able to accommodate the seat reservation request.  In this case, the parent-and-child compartment was not available, so alternative seats were assigned.  If you don’t like the seating arrangements provided, go back and select another type.  If no suitable arrangements can be made, it’s up to you whether or not to pay for the reservation.

Thrifty Travel Mama's Guide to Booking German Rail Tickets Online

DB is as strict as the airlines when it comes to matching tickets with identification cards.  Therefore, it’s of the utmost importance to select a means of ID that you will no doubt be carrying on your person at the time of travel.  Input the name(s) correctly, and double check.  Take note that if you’re using a government-issued ID card, you may not use a credit card to pay for the ticket(s).

The rest is rather simple.  Just enter your personal data, payment method, confirm the details, and purchase.  If you chose online ticketing, the ticket will pop up after payment is processed.  A copy is also sent to the email address you provide on the personal data screen.  Print out the ticket(s), bag your selected form of ID, and show up 10-15 minutes prior to the train’s departure.

Enjoy your trip!

113 thoughts on “Booking German (Deutsche Bahn) Train Tickets Online

  1. Quick Question : Although DB does not charge for kids below 14 (when travelling with Parents); are they provided their individual seats. Asking since some systems (tgv-europe , trenitalia) expect you to pay child fares , if you exclusive need a seat. In your post, this rule is quite clear for kids below five, but I am unsure if that is valid for kids in the 6 -14 age group.


    • Hi there, as far as I know, children below 14 are not charged fares, but if you want a reserved seat for them, you need to pay for the reservation. Seat reservations are not required on most trains, so it’s usually fine to wing it if you don’t care where you are sitting. If you do want a seat reservation, make sure to book all the tickets together on the website and you’ll get a family seat reservation fare which is often 8 euros and charged per direction (so if you have a round trip, you can choose to pay 8 euros for the going and/or 8 euros for the returning or 16 for the whole RT). Hope that helps!

  2. I booked a ticket from Amsterdam to Hamburg, then going on to Wrist(small town) with the RB. I bought the saver fare and would like to stay in Hamburg for the day, and then take the RB to Wrist later in the evening, which means that I won’t be taking the RB train I was assigned. . I thought I read somewhere that the DB allows that. Any ideas?

    • Hi Susanne, Good question. With regional tickets, it’s often possible to use them at any time of the day since they usually function the same as tram or bus or subway tickets if they’re within a certain area. However, since you purchased the ticket on DB from Amsterdam all the way to Wrist, it may not be possible to add your own stopover in Hamburg. Your best bet is to double check with DB; better safe than stuck dealing with irritated control personnel! I’d love to hear the outcome, so let me know what you find out. Best wishes for a nice stay in Hamburg and Wrist!

    • Hi Sourav, Another great question. There’s no way to do this from the DB website, but it may be possible in person. When you book your ticket online, it states very clearly that the identification type and number that you enter must match EXACTLY. Do both identity cards belong to you? If so, I would take them down to a DB office and ask them to switch the method of identification. I have never personally tried to do this though, so please let me know how it works out if you give it a shot. Gute Reise!

      • Thanks for your reply

        Reason for asking the way to change the identity number on already booked ticket is…
        I have booked two separate tickets but with same identity card number. Means we will travel together with only one identity card but two separate tickets. I think it will not be allowed.
        As u said it is not possible to change the identity on the already booked ticket, i have to rebook the ticket with my personal identity card number.

      • When I book tickets for us to travel as a family, we end up with one physical ticket that states it is valid for two adults (the kids are free). It only has one identity number on it (usually mine since I book the tickets). They don’t ask for my husband’s ID (except to check his Bahncard discount but that’s not the question here). The only way I could see it working out for you to have two separate tickets but only one identity card number is if the identification used is a credit card that’s a joint account. My credit card and my husband’s card both have the same number, but obviously our names are different on the respective cards. As long as the name and the number on each ticket match, you’re good to go. Otherwise, ask at DB. My guess is the reason they require identification is they don’t want people purchasing the discounted saver fares and then selling them to others as a profit. But if you have extenuating circumstances with your ID, you may be able to ask for an exception in person at the station. Good luck!

  3. Do you know how early I can book tickets? I do not want to miss out on the Sparpreis. I tried looking for Dec end but the site is not allowing anything beyond 15th Dec right now.

  4. I am trying to book tickets from Australia for a family of 4 – children aged 13 and 10. I want to travel from Prague to Regensberg, I booked my hinfahrt – to Prague from Regensburg using the UK number – which is now disconnected!! I thought I had to phone book because of the children and that it is an international trip. Is this true? or, can I book online??
    Getting really frustrated sitting on hold using the 24/7 Dbahn number for an hour only to be disconnected in the end.
    I can speak German, but keep being put on hold because it is an international trip with children and never get to speak to a person again! If I could book online, my life would improve. Any tips would be welcome.

    • Hi there, I’m so sorry! German customer service phone numbers are notorious for that sort of thing. When is your trip? If it is more than 3 months out, you won’t be able to book it online until it is within the 3 months. Also, when doing international trips on Deutsche Bahn’s website, you’ll notice that some are available for purchase, and some say “Unknown Tariff Abroad” and you’ll have to do a price request. I have to say I’ve never done the price request – I usually just go with whatever option I can book by myself online. You shouldn’t need to book by phone unless it has the “Unknown Tariff” next to it. I just did a sample search for you to double check and there are several options from Praha to Regensburg, even several with 0 changes that run daily. Try that, and let me know how it goes. 🙂

  5. Hi there! Lots of great information on your site! I have a question, my sister and myself along wih our daughters are traveling June to Europe. We have purchased a global pass and I am having problems booking seats on the trains that require reservations. Every site I have tried does not allow me to input the Eurail Global Pass to book the seats. It only shows that I must purchase the ticket, (full fare) before proceeding. Any recommendations as to how I can do that online or must I call Rail Europe to get the seats booked? Thanks so much for all the info! LuAnn From the Heart of America!

  6. I had someone in Germany buy first class train tickets for me roundtrip from Berlin to Prague. I inadvertently gave them the wrong dates. Will I be able to exchange my tickets for the right dates?

    • Hi Jean,
      That depends on a few things. First, was your ticket a savings fare or a regular-priced fare? If it was a savings fare, you’ll need to cancel it (with a 15 euro fee) and then purchase another ticket for the correct dates. If it was a regular-priced fare, you can return it for free. If the new ticket costs more than the old ticket, you’ll need to pay the difference. Also note that you should make the change as far in advance as possible. If your ticket is for, say June 6, you’ll have until June 5 to return the savings fare. On June 6, it won’t be possible, even with the 15 euro fee. For the regular fare, it will be free to return until June 5. One June 6, it will cost you 15 euros to return it. I hope that helps! 🙂

      • Thank you so much for your prompt reply. I am pretty sure it is a regular fare ticket because my family said I was paying extra for a direct trip with no connections. I don’t believe the special fare was a direct trip. My family is away on holiday until Tuesday so I will be talking to them then about changing my ticket.

  7. Hi! Thanks so much for your post! Am actually in Europe for the first time in my life and am glad I found this post! Two quick questions – I booked my ticket, received the pdf, so when will I receive seat assignments if I never never made seat reservations? One leg of the journey mentioned something about a compulsory seat reservation. Also, do I really have to print out the ticket? No access to a printer here while I’m travelling, is it enough if i load the pdf and zoom in the barcode for the conductor to scan it?

    • Hi there, welcome to Europe!
      If you did not select seats, then you won’t have any seat assigned. You can sit in any seat that is not reserved (look above the seat to see what segment of the journey is booked for that particular seat). If the train is full, though, you’ll have to stand.
      If there is a compulsory seat reservation, then it will be shown on your ticket if you booked through Deutsche Bahn. Most trains in Germany do not have compulsory reservations, but some such as the City Night Line (night) train and trains outside of Germany like SNCF in France definitely do. Double check the requirements before your trip. On a DB ticket, you are looking for Wagen and Sitzplatz.
      And yes, you do have to print the ticket. I recently had to print boarding passes while traveling and I went to a nice hotel and asked very politely if they would mind. Since it was only one page per person, they were very kind in allowing me to do this. Ask around – you’re bound to find a place with a printer.
      Btw, there is such a thing as a mobile ticket, but note that this is not the same as loading the pdf and zooming in on the barcode.
      Enjoy your ride on the rails!

  8. What about car seats on the train? I am flying to Germany with my 3-1/2 & 6 year olds and they are big boys too. I’m gathering from your articles that I should bring booster seats but I really only want to travel by train or bus once in Germany. Do they need booster seats on the train?

  9. I’ve booked a return trip from Dresden to Prague in July 2014 via raileurope which resulted in a standard DB Bahn Online-Ticket. However it did not allow seat reservation and I think the return is not train specific – 2 are quoted. The online procedures do not allow seat reservation to be added to an international trip. I’ve got a Kafka situation for our trip to Czech republic – must have seat reservations but the system stops me buying them. Cancelling and rebooking will cost me approx 100 euros more – fee plus now higher fare costs.

  10. When making a seat reservation how can you tell which direction the train is travelling? My daughter needs to sit facing forward. When I am looking at the coach map is the seat forward facing if it is facing the left hand side of the coach diagram?

    Also if you book a savings fare and there are say 4 train changes and the train is late arriving so you miss one of the connections what happens? You can no longer take the trains on your ticket as you missed the connection, but it was not your fault.

    • Hi Janice,
      Unfortunately, there’s not usually a way to tell what direction the seat will be facing. Even if you think you have picked it correctly, it’s very possible that a change of equipment could occur or the train could be put together in reverse (meaning what is usually the front of the train is now at the back). Your best bet is to just to kindly ask someone to switch with you once you’re on the train :).
      In my experience, I’ve noticed that Deutsche Bahn does it’s best to accommodate delays by delaying connecting trains or offering a replacement train that can help you reach your final destination. But, getting the right information in a timely manner could be difficult if you aren’t familiar with the train routes or don’t speak German. Plus, if your first train is late, you could have a potential nightmare on your hand trying to make up for the delay on the next 3 changes. Four changes with children is not something I would choose to do outside of extenuating circumstances. In this case, I’d look into renting a car which may be about the same price but much less of a headache.
      I hope that helps! Enjoy your trip 🙂

  11. Pingback: What You Need to Know About Taking a Night Train in Germany with Kids | Thrifty Travel Mama

  12. Hi,
    What a lovely post! Thanks for taking the time out to write in such detail. I was breaking my head over train travel in Germany for an upcoming trip to Germany and Austria with my wife and my 1 year old until I landed on this page. A true lifesaver! 🙂

    Although, I had a few questions to bounce of you:

    1) Does the DB Bahn website accept all international credit cards?
    I’m from South Africa and will be using an Amex or MasterCard credit card issued here to make the bookings online. I am counting on the super saver fares so if I can’t book online, my whole itinerary goes kaput.

    2) Is the “Print ticket at Home” option restricted to certain trains/train routes?
    I intend on taking the night line from Cologne to Vienna and I read somewhere that while booking online, the system doesn’t offer you a “Print from Home” option.

    3) Is a reliable alternative to booking directly on the DB website?
    I came across Loco2 during my research and I was wondering what you make of it. They market the fact that they accept all international credit cards so I am beginning to get worried that it might be a big issue.

    Sorry about the long post! I had a lot to ask. 🙂


    • Hi Anshuman,
      Thanks for stopping by, and I’m so pleased I was able to offer you some help. Answers to your questions..
      1) When we moved to Germany, we had to buy a train ticket to get from the airport to our new home city. At that time we did not have a German bank account, so we used our American credit card (MasterCard). I can’t say for sure if Amex will be accepted, but you should be fine with Visa or MasterCard.
      2) As far as I know, unless it says something like “unknown tariff abroad” or “foreign tariff,” you should be able to book the ticket online. My husband booked his CNL DB train ticket online and printed it at home. When I took the CNL with my son, I did not end up booking online because I wanted the cabin reserved for women only. You can read my post about taking night trains in Germany with kids here.
      3) I’ve never used personally, so I can’t give you any insider feedback. They claim to give you the same price as booking directly. I would just try to book your tickets at Deutsche Bahn first. If that fails, then check the price at Loco2, and book if it’s the same or within a few euros.
      I hope that helps. Have a fantastic journey with your family!

  13. Hi,
    I happened to chance upon your page only after I booked my train tickets from Frankfurt Airport to Berlin and I am travelling alone. Luckily, I think I have done mostly what you recommended in here!

    However, after doing all the reservation of seats and confirmed, I only realised that the first part of the trip (Frankfurt to Hannover) shows the seat confirmation but the second part (Hannover to Berlin) doesn’t show the seat confirmation. Are there some trains that does not accept reservations even after you have chosen the seats earlier? I’m not sure if there’s anyone who faced the same problems.

    Also the transfer time according to DB is 14 mins at Hannover where I have to change from Platform 7 to Platform 9 for the connecting train to Berlin. Would that be safe? The next train is 1 hour away at Hannover should I choose to repurchase that sector. Hope to get your opinion! Thanks!


    • Hi Alvin,
      What kind of train is going from Hannover to Berlin? If it is an ICE train, you should have a reservation. If it is an IC or RE/RB, you might not have one.
      As for the transfer time, 14 minutes should be enough time, provided that your first train is not late. But if you do not have a lot of luggage (one suitcase plus a carry-on is fine) or kids, then I think 14 minutes is sufficient. If it is DB’s fault that you missed your connection, you should be able to get on another train to your final destination free of charge.
      I hope that helps!

      • My daughter recently traveled from Halle to Heidelberg which had 4 train changes. One train was late and she missed her connection. She went to the ticket office where they stamped her ticket and gave her a new train route. On the way home, the same thing happened. If you have a seat reservation on the missed trains you should also ask for a reserved seat on the new route. German trains in 2nd class can be very crowded. You have rights as a passenger if your train is cancelled or delayed. See:

      • Thanks for the tip, Janice, on asking for a new seat reservation if you miss your connection. And, it is true that trains can be crowded in 2nd class, depending on the route (between big cities like Frankfurt, Berlin, Hamburg, Munich), day (Fridays and Sundays especially), time of travel (rush hour), and if there are disruptions in service due to weather, construction, etc. Sometimes the DB website will indicate that they expect a heavy passenger load with a little R icon which means reservations for this particular route are recommended. Thanks again for stopping by, Janice :).

      • It is actually an ICE train and I have already selected the seat earlier but at the end of booking, the website said that reservation could not be done for that sector. I have emailed DB but I have not received any reply yet. Not sure if I should just repurchase the Hannover to Berlin sector since it is still relatively inexpensive due to the saver fares.

        However, I am travelling alone with just a carry on bag and a roller bag. Not sure if no reservation matters. I don’t mind as long as I get to sit until I reach Berlin.

        Thanks for your prompt reply!

      • Hi Alvin,
        Unfortunately, sometimes reservations aren’t possible. I would stick with your current train ticket and wait for a reply from DB via email.

        You should make your connection just fine, provided that the first train is on time. If not, DB will help you get on another train. Hopefully you will get a seat on the Hannover-Berlin segment. Just try to line up right next to the door when the train stops and take the first seat you see that is not reserved. Above the seat, it will state part of the route if there is a reservation or an advertisement for Bahn Comfort if not. If you sit in a reserved seat, you’ll have to move if the person assigned does show up.

        Enjoy your trip!

      • I tried to rebook the second sector but it seems that the same problem came up and I did not proceed further.

        It basically says ‘Seat Reservation not accomplishable’. Probably seat reservations for that particular ICE 545 is not possible.

  14. My friends and I are working on booking train tickets for travel in Germany and Italy. We are planning on taking a city night line train from Munich to Venice. We can see how much the tickets will cost, but can’t see how much additional charges we would have to pay for the reservation fees. Any ideas? Thanks!

    • Hi Angie,
      When my husband booked his CNL tickets online, the price shown was the price he paid. You can go all the way through the booking process until you get to the sleeping options in order to see the price without actually purchasing the tickets. It was not clear that X euros was for the ticket and Y euros was for the reservation. Online, it is all one price (though for seat reservations for day time trains, it does show you because reservations are optional whereas they are compulsory on CNL). When I went to the DB desk inside our train station, the agent told me how much of the fare the reservation was because we would not get that money back if we cancelled. I hope that helps?

  15. Very informative post!! I was having lots of doubts about the train routes I found on DB Bahn site, especially about the 10 min transfer time. So glad I found your site!

      • I have a question about DB Bahn tickets purchased on their website. If I click “reserve a seat” box, why is the 1st Class fare a fraction of what I would normally pay? My 13 y/o son and I are paying total of 9 EU, 1st class, from Stuttgart to Frankfurt Airport. Is there a large additional charge I will be paying on day of travel, in December? 1st class ICE from Berlin to Stuttgart was also a fraction of normal fare. Will I be charged later?

      • Hi Paul,
        I’ve never seen an ICE train ticket at 9 euros, so I’m trying to think how that would’ve happened. In your search, did you click “reservation only”? If so, then I can imagine it being around 9 euros. But that would be ONLY for the reservation and in conjunction with some other kind of rail pass that you would’ve purchased previously. If you purchase train tickets in advance at the saver price then they are a fraction of the normal cost (but the fare would not be as low as 9 euros). There’s never any extra charge on the day of travel unless, of course, you don’t buy a ticket and are riding without one and get fined :). I hope that helps!

      • The €9 payment is only for 2 seat reservations, assuming that you have already purchased the full ticket earlier.

        The ‘reserved a seat’ option should only be clicked if you did not make a seat reservation during your earlier purchase. If it’s a new purchase, leave it empty and proceed to buy as per normal. You can make your seat reservations at a later step before confirmation.

        Hope that helps! 🙂

  16. This is really helpful thanks!

    I booked my train from berlin to rotterdam and received ticket in post , it doesn’t have a barcode on. Do i need to validate or do anything with the ticket when i get to station?

  17. hi
    I have got group tickets for 8 by post
    there seems to be a main ticket which mentions the number of people and the train stops and connections
    along side with it I have got only 7 small paper tickets. is that ok? or am I supposed to get 8 small tickets??

  18. Hello! Thank you so much for this wonderful information – it is extremely helpful!

    I am booking a train ticket from Amsterdam to Berlin on July 12, and I have a couple of questions.

    First, I was hoping to take a direct train (I realize this limits me to IC trains – not a problem), but on that particular date, there are no direct trains listed. I don’t want to lose the opportunity to book at a “Savings Fare” price, but I was wondering if I should wait to see if direct trains become available later on. What are your thoughts?

    Second, the ICE train that is available (with one change in Duisburg-transfer time: 1:04h) has the following message on the booking page:
    ICE 105: Amsterdam Centraal – Utrecht Centraal: Construction work. Train is running 5 minutes early. With the changes in departure time a reservation is temporarily unavailable. Please check your itinerary again shortly before departure.
    ICE 547: Duisburg Hbf – Hamm(Westf): Construction work. Train is running 20 minutes early. With the changes in departure time a reservation is temporarily unavailable. Please check your itinerary again shortly before departure.

    It appears that you can still buy the ticket, so I’m not sure what this message means. Is it referring to seat reservations? And, if so, do you think seat reservations are necessary?

    Thank you in advance for your help!!

    • Hi Kerry,
      Thanks for stopping by! Here are my thoughts on your questions..
      1. I have never seen more trains added to the schedule. If you don’t see a direct train on a particular day, it is either full or it does not exist. I would not hold out for another train being added. Since it is the peak of summer travel season, I would book what you want ASAP.
      2. I agree, that the messages regarding the ICE trains on this route refer to seat reservations. Unless the DB website expressly states it, you shouldn’t need a seat reservation. If you are able, you could visit a train station and ask or call the DB customer service line and ask. Interesting that it states the construction will cause the train to be early. I have only ever seen it cause a delay! 🙂 You should be okay with a 1:04 transfer time, even if the 20 minute construction issue cuts into that. If you do not make your connection and the fault is DB’s, it is their responsibility to rebook you to your destination.
      Re: seat reservations.. I only book them in certain instances. If the train ride is very long and it would be significantly uncomfortable to have to stand or sit in the entrance/exit area of the train (or if they are required, obviously), then I make a reservation. Otherwise, I usually don’t. If the train is IC, I would not bother. In my experience, these trains do not fill up like the ICE trains do, and you can almost always have a seat, sometimes an entire compartment to yourself. If you know you will be tired from your time in Amsterdam and want to ensure you have a place to sit on an ICE train, then it might be worth the 8 euros or so for the reservation.
      I hope that helps! Enjoy your trip!

      • Me again! I have booked a train ticket from Amsterdam to Berlin (as previously discussed) and I understood that I needed to produce the credit card I booked the train ticket with in order to prove my identity. No problem, except there were just a number of fraudulent charges on my credit card and now the company has issued me a new one. My name is still the same, but the credit card number is different. Will this be a problem? I suppose I can still bring the old credit card – it’s no longer active, but I can show it to them if they just want to check the numbers. Thoughts?

      • Hi Kerry, bummer about the fraudulent charges on your card. I can tell you that DB will definitely check the name and the number on the card to see if it matches. I would bring the old card. Anything else is likely to lead to a sticky situation, especially if you don’t speak German and the controller doesn’t speak English. Let me know if you need any other help :).

      • Thank you! It’s no problem to bring the old card – I just want to be sure that it’s only used for ID purposes. In other words, it won’t be active, so it can’t be used for anything except ID. That’s the only reason they check the card, correct? They won’t want to swipe it for anything? (They shouldn’t, since I’ve already paid for the ticket, but I’m not 100% sure how these things work.)

  19. Hihi! I have a question and I hope you can help. I’ve booked the night train (CNL) from Hanover to Lucerne and there is a stop at Basel Bad to change train (IR) and continue to Lucerne. Just a question, will I be able to leave the train station @ Basel Bad and then take another train at another time without any penalties or having to top up for new tickets? Appreciate if anyone could help. Thanks!

    • Hi there,
      If you leave the train at Basel Bad and do not get on the next train listed on your ticket, then you will forfeit the second portion of your journey. If you would like to book a stopover in Basel on your Hanover-Lucerne ticket, then you can do this on the reservation page on Deutsche Bahn’s website. Just click “Add Stopover” and enter the amount of time you want to stay in Basel. Otherwise, just book two separate tickets, one from Hanover to Basel and the other from Basel to Lucerne. Hope that helps!

      • Hello! Thanks so much for your reply.

        But I’ve already booked the tickets, so I can’t book the stopover. 😦 And I’ve only just realised that Switzerland is not part of the EU (I should’ve known) so Basel Bad is the only place where I can get my VAT processed and refunded. I was hoping that they might not be too strict and allow me to just catch the next train so I can walk over from Basel SBB (that’s where the train is stopping, not even at Basel Bad :X) to Basel Bad bf, get everything done then continue on the journey.

        Looks like that’s not possible. 😦 Sigh, bad planning on my part.

        Anyhow thanks so much for your help! 🙂

  20. Hello and thank you very much for your detailed information!

    I have a question though: I am in Germany visiting friends. I do not have a credit or debit card with me, but only I.D. So for purchasing a train ticket I use my I.D. information but the credit card of my friend. He is not travelling with me, so i cannot show any other card except for my I.D. at the train conductor.

    Could you please tell me what are the consequences if I show the conductor only my I.D. card and the printed ticket?

    Thank you very much in advance!

    • Hi Vessy, good question. To be honest, I am not sure what would happen if you tried to use a ticket but did not have the credit card with you. It sounds like you are in Germany now, so I would suggest you go with your friend (the one who used his credit card to help you buy your ticket) to the nearest Deutsche Bahn office as soon as possible. Explain the situation, and ask if they can change the ticket to reflect your ID instead of the credit card. They may have another solution other than this; I am not sure. But, I think it’s best to try and work it out in advance. You don’t want to end up fined or asked to leave the train. I hope that helps and that everything works out well in the end for your trip :).

  21. Hi there!

    I have tried a couple times to book a night train from Berlin to Budapest on the 18th of July, but it keeps saying that the transaction cannot be completed because the train is running 100 minutes early due to construction work. It is a direct train so even if this was true I don’t see why it would be an issue. I would really like to book this train. Any advice?

    Thanks so much


    • Hi Aidan, I looked into the CNL train from Berlin to Budapest on 18 July. I found the one you mentioned (running 100 minutes early.. strange!). I was able to click on “check availability” and it allowed me to select day couch, couchette, or sleeper, and proceed to the payment details page. Have you tried entering your payment info and then you receive an error? If so, I’m afraid the only solution is to contact DB. If not, try again and see if you can get it to work. The saver fare for this route is excellent at the moment. 🙂 Enjoy your trip!

  22. Hi! Thanks very much for your website. I’ve got a couple of pressing questions I hope you don’t mind!
    I’m trying to book a train from Paris to Mannheim, on the 30th of August. It is a TGV train. The booking window just opened a couple of days back. Here’s what I’ve done on the website so far:

    1) I go through the destination and date information and get to the list of trains. I select my desired train (9.05am)

    2) On the next page, I key in all my details and choose my seat reservation options. I keep the “Print out your online ticket” checked.

    3) For this train from Paris-Mannheim under Reservation Request it says “Can only be checked on making a booking.” And it says “Mandatory Reservation.” I think this means I must have a seat reservation, which is fine, as I checked the box on the previous screen for “ticket with seat reservation”. Is that correct?

    4) It allows me to hit proceed, then to log-in and enter my ID and payment information.

    5) I double check the information and click “Make Booking”.

    6) The next screen says: “reservation impossible.”

    Am I doing something wrong? The 90 days window just opened so it can’t be that all the tickets have sold out?? I’ll be really grateful if you could advice! It’s my first time booking with DB and I’m quite frazzled.

    Thanks Very much

    • Hi Gracie,
      I went on and walked through all the steps you mentioned up until #5 since I don’t want to make the booking myself :). It all looks fine up until that point. If it is giving you an error, the only thing I can imagine is that there is a problem with TGV (SNCF) and I sincerely doubt the tickets are sold out. You are right that reservations are required on TGV trains. I went to the SNCF/TGV website for you, and they have a train at 13:09 that day (30 August) for only 39 euros. If you have some flexibility, you could try booking through TGV instead of I used them for a direct Freiburg-Paris trip, and I had no problems. If you want to use the 9:09 train or prefer to book through, I think the best thing would be to visit a DB office (if possible) or call them. I hope that helps – enjoy your trip!

  23. Goinh from Frankfort airport to Amsterdam central station. Bought my tickets on and when I print out my tickets I noticed they were in German. Which I thought was weird considering the rest of the directions on how to order the tickets was in English. Anyway to have my tickets printed in english since I don’t speak German

    • Hi there,
      Deutsche Bahn does not print tickets in English. They are, after all, a German company and the tickets will be checked by German speaking DB employees. It is nice of them though to offer their website in English for all us non-native speakers :). As long as you put in your details correctly when booking your tickets, you should be fine. Enjoy your trip!

  24. Great blog! So informative and helpful! My husband swears its cheaper to buy the tickets at the station prior to leaving vs. online. Have you experienced that?

    • Hi there, thanks for stopping by! Hmmm, I can’t imagine a scenario in which it would be cheaper to buy the tickets at the station. DB discounts a number of tickets for each train (“Sparpreis”) and usually releases those tickets 90 days before departure. The absolute cheapest tickets will be those snagged as soon as they are released. When the Sparpreis tickets are gone, the rest of the tickets are sold at the standard fare. The price online for standard fare will be the same price as at the station. If your husband has experienced it differently, I would love to know. Any tip for saving is a good one! 🙂

  25. Hi there. I’m trying to book 6 tickets online (3 adults and 3 kids under 13) from Fussen to Naples, Italy and it seems like I can only book 5 tickets at a time? I could book two separate tickets with the 5 of them on one and myself on the other, but how would I ensure we sit together since both trains out of Munich require compulsory reservations and I can’t seem to get the site to pull up a seat map?


    • Hi Jeremy,
      You are right – anything over 5 people is considered a group booking. I tried doing a sample search for you, but it appears that you cannot do an online booking for a group from Germany to Italy. It appears you can make an online group booking within Germany, but that doesn’t help you. You’re also correct that Eurocity trains, such as the one you’re taking between Munich and Naples, require reservations. The seat maps for these trains are usually not available to view online. You could try to split up your group into two bookings and hope for the best in terms of seat assignments. Your best bet, however, would be to try and book these through DB directly either in person or on the phone. Then, you could take advantage of the group discount, since you are six persons, and guarantee that you’ll sit together or at least as close as possible. I hope that helps. Enjoy your trip!

  26. Hello,

    I’m travelling to Germany within one month. I’ll use a credit card from a colombian bank, do you think it will be any trouble with it? I read on the bank has to have an office in Germany.

    • Hi Alejandro,
      I’m sorry, I don’t know for sure. The only way to find out is to try it or to contact Deutsche Bahn and ask them. I would carry cash or have a backup method of payment though just in case. Enjoy your trip!

      • Hi!
        I will be heading to Amsterdam from Frankfurt Airport. Been trying to book a ticket on 18th Dec 2015 as i understand that for saver fare you can book 92 days in advance bt unfortunately the website can only displag fares up 12th Dec 2015 and not beyond that. Any idea when exactly can i book my train ticket as i ve been checking everyday for the past 2 weeks already. Someone mentioned in tripadvisor that it will be on sale early/mid oct. Was just comfirming again if the rest have any other opinios. Thanks in advance.

      • Hi Mal,
        It is my understanding that all fares are only available 90 days in advance, not 92. If the website is not displaying fares, then they are unavailable to buy. The only other option would be to call or email and see if they are able to book the ticket for you. Have a great trip!

  27. Hi,

    This is super helpful! Thanks you! I was wondering though, I bought a bahn 50 for 69 euro and now I am afraid I should have taken the bahn 25 for 41 euro… I will be living for 9 months in Europe but I have no idea where i will travel or hoe often.. I might try to go get the 25 instead since I bought it 3 days ago.

    Do you know if my bahn 50 will pay itself? There are also bus that are cheaper… And if I have a discount train ticket and the bahn 25 it may be more worth it.. 😦

    Thank you!

    • Hi Marj,
      From friends who have had the Bahn50, it does pay for itself but only if you travel often. The Bahn25 is better if you want to pay less up front for the card and if you will mostly be making your reservations in advance. If you usually make travel plans last-minute (3 days or less before the date of departure), then the Bahn50 is better for you. You may be able to see if you can exchange your Bahn50 for a Bahn25 as long as you have not used your new card yet. However, I am not sure if they will do the exchange. I would go in person and ask very nicely :).
      You are right, there are many more bus services now, even than when we moved there in 2010. But, they don’t go everywhere and keep in mind that buses are subject to road traffic and take much longer to arrive than trains. I have taken buses a few times, but I personally prefer German trains.
      Take care, and enjoy your 9 months in Europe!

      • Hi,

        You are soooo kind of taking the time to answer with such helpfull informations!!! 🙂
        I have a last tiny question, about the last minuteness of the booking. I usually go one month in advance or less. On that end would the bahn 25 be better as well? I really haven’t looked at how good the discounts were with bahn yet since I just arrived a month ago and I know the 25% adds up to discount prices so if tickets are 25% off a month before, then it might be better than the bahn 50 that is cheaper at first(28 euro less)! I was confused about it because I don’t know how good the discounts are! I know I want to go to Berlin, Munich, Black forest and franckfort for now, but I want to pay as cheap as possible! And good idea,if I change my card I’ll try to ask very nicely ahah 🙂

        Thank you so much 🙂

        Have a good day,


      • Hi again :),
        Good question. In my experience, the best value from the Bahn25 card comes from booking as soon as the tickets are released (90 days before departure). Many people buy their tickets that day, and the price just goes up from there. For one month or less in advance, you may be better off with the Bahn50. I’m not sure where you are living at the moment, but a ticket from Freiburg where I lived to Berlin could easily cost 140 euros EACH way. If you had the Bahn50, it would pay for itself in one trip, even in just one leg of the trip.
        Also, if you buy the “normal price” tickets using your Bahn50 and your train was delayed or you wanted to stay a bit longer and choose a different train that day or the next, you can cancel your ticket without penalty and buy another ticket right away with your Bahn50 using your discount. This is something you wouldn’t be able to do with the Bahn25.
        I chose the Bahn25 because we nearly always bought tickets way in advance and I could get a partner card for my husband for only a few euros more, and then we both had a Bahn25. It sounds like in your situation, though, the Bahn50 might be better, and it really isn’t much more expensive for you than the 25. Hope that helps :).

  28. Hi

    I plan to book DB ticket from Schiphol Airport to Cologne by making stop over at Utrecht for 2 hours.Question : If my flight delay and i miss the first leg of ticket to Utrecht , my second leg from Utrecht to Cologne is still usable? or the ticket will be unusable anymore?

    Thank you 🙂

    • Hi Chai,
      That depends on whether you booked a saver fare or a full (standard) fare ticket. If you book a full fare ticket and miss your train, you can take another one the same day, provided it still goes to your scheduled destinations (first to Utrecht, then to Cologne). If you book a saver fare ticket and miss your train to Utrecht, you will need to buy a new ticket from Schipol to Utrecht. If you make it to Utrecht in time to reach your connecting train from there to Cologne, that leg is still usable. I hope that helps 🙂

  29. Hi,

    I wish to book train tickets from Frankfurt Airport to Dusseldorf in early June as the saver fares right now are excellent at EUR 57 for 3 adults in the direct ICE trains. However, I do not want to make a seat reservation right now as I believe this is non refundable if there is a change done. If I make the seat reservation later on a date close to the travel date, would I be able to print the seat numbers that I reserved?

    • Hi Sidath,
      Thanks for your question. Unfortunately, I don’t have any experience booking a ticket without a reservation and then booking a reservation later. Better to check directly with Deutsche Bahn or go without seat reservations. Since the journey is very short, unless you have a good reason for wanting a reservation, the seat reservation fare isn’t really worth it IMHO.
      Safe travels!

      • Thanks a lot for your reply. Will check with DB to see if this can be done. The reason is we’ll be after a 13 hour flight from Sri Lanka and as it is a Sunday we don’t really want to go standing in case all the seats are taken up.

  30. Thanks so much for this great website! I have been on the website for hours, trying to purchase 2 tickets for Thursday, May 12, 2016 from Gdansk to Berlin on the high speed train departing at 7:36, making 0 stops, arriving Berlin Hbf 13:43. I am open to either 1st or 2nd class, hopefully getting a “saver” ticket.

    I seem to have no problem completing all the screens online; howver, immediately following the screen asking the type of seat, I get a screen saying:

    “Dear Customer,
    No more seats are available on this train, for which a reservation is compulsory.
    Andere Verbindung wähle.”

    I have tried booking these seats on another day for April travel, just to see if I can succeed, but I get the same message at the end.

    Can you please advise how I can book these two tickets?

    I would appreciate any advice!

    • Hi Ginny,
      I thought that message was rather strange, especially considering your departure is still quite a ways out. I did some digging, and it turns out that the train you are trying to book is an EIC or Express InterCity. Sometimes these trains that run between countries and require mandatory reservations are only available to book directly with DB either in person at a station or over the phone. I received the same message when trying to book the trains you mentioned. I also received this message with any train between Gdansk and Berlin Hbf with the little seat reservation “incl.” icon.

      If your plans are flexible and you’d like to take a different train that day, I was able to make it to the payment screen with the itinerary departing at 8:21am from Gdansk with 1 stop in Poznan. Unfortunately, no saver tickets are left :(.

      One other thing you could try is booking the tickets through Poland’s train website ( I looked there for you, and they offer the same train you want. The price is about 129 PLN, about $33! You should be able to create a login and pay by credit card. Note that their website is down for maintenance between 1130pm and 1am their time. If that fails, contact DB by phone or in person and hopefully they can assist you with your booking.

      Hope that helps :). Enjoy your trip!

      • thanks so much for your help! I wasn’t aware that I could book international trips at intercity. So I just created a login, and put in my original EIC itinerary, but the price I get for 2nd class for 2 tickets is 459 PLN. YIKES. Much higher than what you got. Any ideas??

      • To follow up — I called today and ordered the tickets over the phone. It was easy, and the same price as I was able to get the saver first class price, which was about the same as I could get using intercity or polrail. I am very grateful to you for your assistance!

  31. Just an update — after I posted the above, I continued to try. I thought I had success and got through all the screens including the payment and final approval review, but once I clicked that I approved all the details and was ready to buy, I again got the same message: ““Dear Customer,
    No more seats are available on this train, for which a reservation is compulsory.
    Andere Verbindung wähle.” 😦

  32. What a great thread this is!
    We have booked 1st class tickets via from Berlin to Prague for the end of the month for 2 adults and a baby. The ticket only states 2 adults, so hopefully it will still be ok as I definitely put her age details in. My question is regarding the seat allocations. I paid an extra €4.50 to get her a seat, so three in total. I didn’t put any carriage/zone restrictions, but then when the ticket was issued it doesn’t give me any details. Does this just mean that we can choose any seats within 1st class when we board the train or will I be issued with seat information before we leave? I saw an earlier post about there being travel information above the seats. As we only speak ‘tourist’ German, so I don’t want the stress of getting caught out in someone else’s seat and having to move everything. Thank you!

    • Hi Mel,
      I’m so very glad you are finding this post helpful :). Our train tickets never showed how many kids we had since we traveled with them, and accompanied children are free until 16 or something crazy like that. If you paid for seat assignments, your ticket should show that. Does it say anything on your ticket under Reservierung? It should say something like 3 Sitzplätze (since you bought 3 seats) and then numbers after Wg. and Pl. If you did NOT pay for seats, then yes, you can choose any seats in the first class “Wagons” that are not reserved. There’s a small screen above the seats on ICE trains that indicates whether that seat is reserved or free. You can ask the DB personnel or fellow passengers if you aren’t sure about the language. I hope that helps :).
      Enjoy your trip!

      • Thank you so much! Yes it does say 3 Sitzplatz & has numbers after Wg & PI – totally makes sense now! We will arrive (hopefully) with some time to spare so should be able to work out where we are & I’ll just ask the station staff if we get muddled. I have a few weeks to scrub up on my German 🙂

      • Great! “Wg” numbers are posted on the outside of the train car. When you get to the train station in Berlin, look for large posters in glass cases that show the different trains. Find your train number (for example, ICE 123 departing at 10am). It will show you where first and second class are located on your train. Find your “Wg” number. Then look to the top of the poster for letters (A, B, C, D, etc.). These letters correspond to letter signs located at different points along the platform. This way, you can go stand under the letter that is closest to your “Wg” and board as quickly as possible. The only thing to watch for is sometimes the trains are reversed! If you can’t read the German marquee signs at the station that would tell you this, just ask a nearby attendant if the train is reversed today or if it is in the regular order. It sounds confusing, but it is a very orderly system :).

  33. Hey there, thanks for such an amazingly helpful thread 🙂

    I was wondering if you have any knowledge about senior discounts for the train system in Germany. I am an american living in Berlin and my parents will visit for two weeks. I’d like to take them to Prague via DB Train. They are 64 and 65, the website has some info about 60+ discounts, but I couldn’t understand fully. It seemed as though there was only a senior discount for a yearly travel card? Which wouldn’t help as we only need round trip tickets from Berlin to Prague and back. Is this correct, or do you know any other senior discount options?

    Thank you so much again for your prompt comment responses and helpful website 🙂


    • Hi Becca,
      Glad you stopped by! I haven’t had any experience personally trying to get a senior discount for a fellow traveler, but it is my understanding that the only discount Deutsche Bahn offers for seniors is on a Bahn 50 card. For your situation, it wouldn’t make sense to get a Bahn card for your parents just to go to Prague and back. Your best bet for a discount would be to try and get Sparpreis (Saver) tickets as far in advance as you can. I have heard that some of the German states have discounts for seniors on public transport, so you could look into that for the Berlin area. I hope that helps :). Enjoy your parents’ visit and trip to Prague!

  34. Hello! Thanks for the great website and this very information thread. I have a question I hope you can answer: I’m going to take the train from Berlin to Amsterdam and back. My travel dates are Oct. 30 (Berlin-Amersteram) and Nov. 5 (Amsterdam-Berlin). The first trip is fine. But the Nov. 5 trains through 3 p.m. all have the same message:

    IC 149: Amsterdam Centraal->Amersfoort: Construction work. The train is cancelled between Amsterdam Centraal and Amersfoort. Please check your itinerary again shortly before departure.
    IC 149: Amsterdam Centraal->Amersfoort: Construction work. The stops Amsterdam Centraal and Hilversum are omitted. Please check your itinerary again shortly before departure.

    Yet I seem to be able to book the train I want. So confused. Any idea what this means? I’d really appreciate any help. Thanks!

    • Hi Willie,
      Great question. I booked a ticket from Freiburg to Ljubljana for a date in July, and I had this same message (but for different train stations, obviously). I ended up canceling the ticket and booking an overnight train instead, so I never did find out what it meant. Sorry! I can’t imagine that they would sell you a ticket that would not be possible to use, though. Perhaps there is some kind of replacement service (bus or bahn) between the two stations? I’m afraid for this one, you’ll have to contact Deutsche Bahn directly. I wish I could help you further! If you want to leave a comment after you talk with Deutsche Bahn to let us know what the construction message meant, that would be very helpful. Enjoy your trip!

      • Thanks so much for your reply! I didn’t have to contact Deutsche Bahn after all. I checked again today and the travel alert had magically disappeared. I did notice that there were no direct trains to Berlin around the times I had looked at before, so I’m guessing they did some rerouting. Anyway, problem solved. Thanks again.

  35. Hello there! What a great post. Congratulations!!
    I hope it’s still active because I have a couple of questions for DB services (since it’s the first time I’ll travel by train in Germany).

    I would like to book an on-line ticket via DB on-line platform from Berlin Hbf to Weimar. So, here are my questions:
    – I want to book a Flexpreis ticket (in case of a long flight delay, since I am flying to Berlin the same day). During the booking process do I have to determine a specific departure time, regardless of when I arrive at the station to travel? (Because the on-line platform asks you to choose the departure time even in Flexpreis tickets.) Is this option of some importance?

    – If I make my search using Weimar as the final destination of my journey the result page informs me that I have to change trains in Erfurt Hbf. Furthermore, in the page with the final ticket details (before paying) Weimar appears as the final destination. My question in that case is: Does the final ticket price that appears corresponds to the first trip between Berlin Hbf and Erfurt Hbf? I assume that the ticket is not valid for the second leg of my trip between Erfurt Hbf and Weimar and I will have to buy a new ticket for a regional train. Have Ι understood correctly? And are there auto-machines that sell tickets for regional trains?

    – I would also like to reserve a seat for my trip, however I would like to ask you (if it happens to know) if this is possible when you buy a Flexpreis ticket. I may choose a certain number for a seat in the train that departs in 16:28, but what happens with the reserved seat if I miss that train and take the next one that departs in 17:00? Will I still have a seat reserved in that case and will the number of the seat be the same at the next train?

    – I will pay the ticket using a debit card. Do I need to have it with me during my journey as a proof (or any other proof document) for the inspector?

    Thank you so much in advance for your time. 🙂
    Keep up the good work!

    • Hi Catherine,
      Sorry for the delay in answering. I hope you have found the answers to your questions. If not, here goes :).
      – You should be able to take any train on the same day that begins at your starting point and ends at your destination. However, I have not personally tried taking an earlier train than the one listed on my ticket. I would choose the earliest train you could possibly take. If you are late and miss that one, just take another one (provided, again, it’s on the same day).
      -When I did a dummy search for Berlin Hbf to Weimar, it gave me several options. I wasn’t sure which Weimar you meant, so I selected Hauptbahnhof, Weimar (Thür). At least one of those trains has a connection through Erfurt, so hopefully we are on the same page. As long as your ticket shows your final destination as Weimar, then your ticket covers Berlin Hbf-Erfurt AND Erfurt-Weimar. If it only says Berlin Hbf-Erfurt, then that is all you have paid for and would have to purchase another ticket for Erfurt-Weimar. True, they may be different products (Berlin Hbf-Erfurt is on an ICE train and Erfurt-Weimar is on a Regional Train, RB), but they are both covered as long as your final destination reads Weimar. I hope that makes sense.
      -As for the question of a reserved seat, it is my understanding that you are reserving a seat for the train listed on your ticket. Since you have a Flexpreis ticket, you are permitted to take another train on the same day to your same destination. However, if you take a different train, you will lose your seat reservation.
      -You will need some proof of identity to present with your ticket. Often, this is the debit card used for the transaction for travelers who do not have a BahnCard. The DB website will tell you what you need to present with your ticket depending on your method of payment.
      I hope that helps, and again, sorry I was not able to reply sooner. Enjoy your trip! 🙂

  36. Hi, thank you very much for your information. I am new to the Europe train system and we travelled to Brussel from Paris. We enjoyed the trip and now my kids wanted to visit Munich from Paris. I understand ice Hahn is free for kids under 16. In that case how do I buy the tickets?. Do I have to buy 2 tickets (parents) and reserve 2 tickets for kids?. Just did not understand how to explain kids are traveling with parents to get the free travel?. I would be thankful if you can send me a reply.

    • Hello Brenda,
      Usually children travel free on DB trains when traveling with their parents inside of Germany. You may have to pay for your children’s tickets outside of Germany or when traveling on another kind of train (TGV from Paris, for example). Include them when making your booking. The website will display the fare due for your children, if any. If you do not need to pay for them, your ticket will just show the number of adults that have paid. For seat reservations with children who are traveling “free,” be sure to indicate the total number of seats you need to reserve when selecting seats. I hope this helps :).

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