What are the best ticketing hacks

Cheap train tickets: How to save

If you want to travel by train, you will quickly find yourself in the tariff jungle of Deutsche Bahn tickets. So that you can keep track of things, here are the most important tips on how to get cheap train tickets. You will be amazed at the savings potential!

Savings price promotions

If you book as early as possible, you can save a lot of money with low-cost rail fares. It is important that you are fast, especially on popular routes, because the saver price tickets are only available in limited numbers. If the quota is used up, you have to pay the regular price. With the saver prices you are bound to trains and times on ICE / IC / EC trains. A change is only possible for a surcharge.

Savings price from 19 euros

For distances of less than 250 kilometers and so-called “daytime locations”, i.e. for journeys in the morning and in the evening, the train offers this special price. It applies to a single journey. As long as the offer is available, it can be booked online, at machines or at the Deutsche Bahn ticket counter. If you are traveling with children under the age of 15, you can take them with you for free. All you have to do is enter the children on the ticket when booking.

The 19 euro saver price is only valid on ICE trains as well as IC / EC and IC buses. You can also use the saver ticket for ÖBB Nightjet trains.

Savings price from 29 euros

With the saver price from 29 euros, you can travel long-distance in 2nd class with Deutsche Bahn. For example, you can travel from Munich to Hamburg for 29 euros. The cheap tickets are only available as long as the quota is sufficient. You have the option of booking € 29 saver tickets online 180 days in advance. Otherwise, the saver prices are also available from the ticket machines, at DB counters or in partner travel agencies. The prices always apply to a single journey. A train connection applies to ICE / EC or IC trains. There are no train connections for regional trains and local transport. Here you have a free choice.

With this savings offer from Deutsche Bahn, two travelers pay from 48 euros. With a saver fare ticket from 29 euros you can take up to four travelers with you for 19 euros each. You can take your children under 15 with you free of charge if they are entered on the ticket.

Bahncard holders save twice

You can save 25 percent on the ticket price with the saver prices from 29 euros if you have a Bahncard 25 or Bahncard 50.

Saver fare finder tricks

You can use the Deutsche Bahn's saver fare finder online to find low-cost saver fares. This search engine helps you to find savings prices as quickly and easily as possible. It is advisable to book as early as possible so that the desired routes can be booked at a budget price.

More tricks for the saver price finder

  • Minimally longer connections
    If you remove the check mark in the search mask for "prefer fast connections", you can find minimally slower connections via branch lines and thus save additional money.
  • Book a long-distance train
    If there are no or only a few long-distance trains on the route you want, you can use a trick to get saver prices: book a long-distance train for a short section and then a regional train. Activate exactly these types of trains in the selection field. In this way, the saver price function is activated because of the partial use of long-distance trains, even though you travel most of the route with a regional train.
  • Alternative train stations
    Check whether alternative destination or departure stations are possible. For example, a trip to Berlin-Südkreuz can be cheaper than to Berlin Central Station.
  • Monday to Wednesday
    It is best to use Monday to Wednesday as travel days. According to a test by Stiftung Warentest, there were, for example, up to 70 percent 19 euro tickets for the checked connections on these days.

Select a later destination

Strictly speaking, this is also a budget price finder trick - but because this trick can often reduce the price significantly, we will present it separately: Choose a later travel destination on the same route.

If you travel close to the border, for example to Freiburg, Frankfurt / Oder, Stuttgart or Munich, it can be worthwhile to look for train stations in neighboring countries close to the border. There are often cheap allotments for long-haul routes. Of course, you do not have to travel to the selected train station.

For example with the Sparpreis Europa: If the train continues to the desired destination station abroad - for example to Denmark, France or Italy - this inexpensive ticket for 19.90 euros can be a bargain.

Special quotas through third-party providers

You can buy tickets for Deutsche Bahn not only from the official Deutsche Bahn issuing offices, but also from third-party providers or other railway companies and service providers. Some of these are leftover spaces that are sold cheaply via other portals or special special quotas provided by rail partners.

  • LTur saver price (to offer)
    The tour operator LTur sells remaining contingents of train tickets at low prices online on a special website. If you want to book cheap train rides there, you should be as flexible as possible in order to get cheap tickets.
  • Lufthansa Express Rail & Fly (to offer)
    The German airline offers a large number of flight connections from Frankfurt. As a cooperation partner of Deutsche Bahn, Lufthansa therefore offers train connections as "feeder flights" to Frankfurt. The interesting thing about it: These discounted tickets do not necessarily have to be purchased from Lufthansa together with a flight ticket, but are also available for pure train journeys from this provider.
  • ÖBB (to offer)
    The Austrian Federal Railways regularly receives a contingent of cheap tickets for domestic German train routes. If you are looking for cheap train tickets for the Deutsche Bahn, you can also refer to the ÖBB website.
  • Voyages-SNCF (to offer)
    The French Railways SNCF maintains its own portal for rail travel within Europe. With this provider you can book the classic TGV routes as well as the Thalys express train. In addition, the portal also offers the option of buying cheap tickets for trips within Germany with the ICE or other long-distance trains. The website is offered in German. You don't have to speak French to take advantage of the great prices.

Bahncard

With the Bahncard, Deutsche Bahn has been offering a real classic for many years, with which you can save significantly when buying tickets. Depending on the type of Bahncard, you can save 25 percent or 50 percent on the selected ticket. An annual fee for the Bahncard is due for this. Even if you use the train occasionally, the Bahncard 25 will usually pay for itself and you will save twice, for example in combination with the saver prices.

These Bahncards are currently available from Deutsche Bahn (as of May 2017):

  1. Sample Bahncard
    With this Bahncard you can benefit from reduced prices when purchasing tickets for three months. The trial Bahncard is significantly cheaper than the full purchase of the conventional Bahncard. You can buy the Probebahncard 25 for only 19 euros and benefit from a 25 percent discount on ticket purchases for three months. The Probebahncard 50 costs 79 euros for 2nd class and offers a 50 percent discount for three months when buying a train ticket. The Probebahncard is a subscription to the correct Bahncard if you do not cancel in time. If you do not want to continue using the Bahncard and only want to benefit from discounts for three months, it is best to cancel the Bahncard immediately after purchasing it.
  2. Bahncard 25
    The Bahncard 25 costs 62 euros per year for 2nd class and 125 euros for 1st class. This saves you 25 percent when buying train tickets at the flex price and the saver price. The card is valid for both long-distance journeys and local transport. If you wish, you can purchase Bahncards for partners at a lower price. The card subscription is valid for one year.
  3. My Bahncard 25
    This Bahncard 25 is suitable for rail customers under the age of 27. It offers the same conditions as the conventional Bahncard. But at 39 euros for 2nd class and 81 euros per year it is significantly cheaper than the regular Bahncard 25.
  4. Youth Bahncard 25
    If you have children between the ages of six and 18, this Bahncard is worth it. For just ten euros per year, you benefit from a 25 percent discount on all 1st and 2nd class train tickets.
  5. Bahncard 50
    You can get the Bahncard 50 for 255 euros a year. This gives you a 50 percent discount on the flex price for all local and long-distance train tickets operated by Deutsche Bahn. You will receive a 25 percent discount on the saver price. The subscription also lasts for a year.
  6. Bahncard 50 and 25 Business
    Companies have the option of paying their employees this Bahncard for company trips. This means that the same discounts are possible as with conventional train cards.
  7. My Bahncard 50
    This Bahncard is suitable for users up to the age of 27. It offers the same conditions as the regular Bahncard 50 and costs only 69 euros per year for 2nd class and 252 euros for 1st class.

You can find out whether a Bahncard is worthwhile for you by calculating the savings potential against the price of the Bahncard. As soon as you have saved more than 69 euros with a Bahncard 25 compared to the regular purchase, for example, the card has already paid for itself.

Country tickets

With the regional train tickets you can use regional trains within a federal state for a day as much as you want. You can take up to four people with you on your journeys. Prices and conditions can vary from state to state.

For example, the Baden-Württemberg ticket costs 23 euros for one person and five euros for each passenger. The Bayern ticket costs 25 euros plus six euros per passenger. For the “SchönerTagTicket NRW” you have to pay a flat rate of 44 euros for up to five people; the ticket costs 30 euros for a single person.

Other tickets of this type

If you have some time to travel, it can Have a nice weekend ticket worth it for you. You pay 40 euros and can choose to use local rail transport on Saturday or Sunday. You can take up to four people with you, who pay four euros each. Local transport includes all connections made with regional trains, the IRE and the RE.

With the Across the country ticket there is another alternative. It is valid from Monday to Sunday. This means that you can make as many journeys as you like on an operating day between 9 a.m. and 3 a.m. With this ticket you can use all DB local trains. The ticket costs 44 euros. You can take up to four fellow travelers with you. You then have to pay a surcharge of eight euros for each additional person.

Buy a ticket online

If you buy the ticket online, you can use the ticket for the journey to the train station.

Use group discounts

Group tickets can often be cheaper than individual tickets. The so-called "Sparpreis Gruppe" tickets are available for groups of six people or more and can be purchased online up to 6 months before the journey. For example, up to 30 people can go on a cheap weekend trip at ticket prices starting at 19 euros per traveler.

If you want to buy the tickets at the counter, you have to plan ahead: the ticket is available up to 12 months before the trip.

Do not reserve a seat

Does it have to be a reserved seat? This is not included in the 2nd class tickets and costs an additional fee. This money can be saved, especially if it can be foreseen that the booked train will not be overcrowded.

Check passenger option

Check carefully whether the ticket you have booked may allow free passengers. This can be possible especially on weekends and evenings, for example with the VBB environmental card or the VBN monthly ticket. This saves you having to book another ticket.

More tips for saving

  • children: Your own children up to the age of 15 are free with many tickets and trips. Always check these savings options in advance.
  • Ticket promotions: Sometimes discounters offer cheap train tickets. With these campaigns, there is usually a lot of potential for savings.

Rail travel is not always profitable

Basically, with regard to environmental protection, it almost always makes more sense to take the train. However, if you look at the costs, you are sometimes less advised to take the train for trips booked at very short notice. In addition, when traveling with several people on one train ticket, it can be more expensive than taking the car.

Possible alternatives to the train

  1. Cheap airlines
    There are unusual flight combinations with fork flights that make air travel within Germany cheaper. Those who ignore the carbon footprint, like to research prices, bring a lot of travel time and flexibility and want to save compared to the train ticket can sometimes get to their destination cheaper with low-cost airlines.
  2. Carpooling
    Carpooling is the classic for long-distance journeys within Germany, especially for younger people. If you have no problem riding with strangers and sharing the journey with other strangers, you can get from A to B very cheaply with carpooling.
  3. Long-distance buses
    The long-distance bus network in Germany has grown significantly in recent years. Various providers allow you to travel within Germany for very little money.