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imaginarytruths
Traveller
2 comments

Posted 3 months ago

I have a Eurail-based hiking trip coming up and I'm trying to figure out whether a paper or mobile pass will be better for me. I'll definitely be using the pass in Norway, Switzerland (and other parts of the Alps), the High Tatras (Slovakia/Poland), the Pyrenees (France/Spain), Romania, Bulgaria, and Montenegro. I've done this sort of thing in the past with a three-month continuous paper pass, and it's gone pretty well. However, the pass was held together with tape by the end and had several pages of additional trip lines attached. Also, it can be nerve-wracking when the conductors and I don't speak a common language and they walk away with the pass and don't come back for 30 minutes, which happened a lot in some countries..

So I was thinking that a mobile pass might be less stress. However, I've read about conductors in some countries not having the equipment to read the qr codes on the phones. In that case I'd have to pay the fare and try to get a refund later, which would be much more stressful.

Does anyone have experience traveling on a mobile pass in countries like Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, etc.? Not just international routes but local trains as well.

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Flo
Traveller
10615 comments

replied 3 months ago

Hi!

I have always travelled with the classic paper pass and never had any issues.
Where and why did it happen that conductors walked away with the pass?

As long as the mobile pass has its numerous issues that are reported here and there (and the paper pass is available) I would never think of using the mobile pass.

Flo

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imaginarytruths
Traveller
2 comments

replied 3 months ago

Hi Flo, thanks for the response. I will probably go with a paper pass.

In past years I have had the conductor walk off with my pass in Serbia, Bulgaria, and maybe one or two other Eastern European countries. I think most of the time it is because the conductor is unfamiliar with the pass and wants to ask a more experienced conductor about it. But because of the language barrier I'm never sure.

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nltrainer
Traveller
1057 comments

replied 3 months ago

A pass is prety USeless in exactly these countries-BG, RS, Black mountains, RO-as local fares tend to be much cheaper and hence conductors are not that familair with these things and maybe have to ask superiors about ´what is this´?
Depending on your age and willingness to dive into local language info, even in Pl and SK local tickets might be much better value. In SK many categories can get free train travel in local trains.
BTW- as this mobile pass is even newer and hence much more unfamilair, expect in THESe countries even more troubles-often they lack the machines to be able to read the codes (which as such is not needed-but try to explain that to them!

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imaginarytruths
Traveller
2 comments

replied 3 months ago

I know the pass in not a good value in southeastern Europe, but my hiking trips also include places where the pass provides excellent value (Norway, crossing Germany overnight on ICEs, Switzerland, Austria, etc.) I could get much better rates in those countries by buying months in advance, but that doesn't work with hiking trips. If it's raining for the next three days over my planned route in Tyrol, I like the freedom of being able to go to the High Tatras or Slovenia or Romania instead.

And yeah, the two of you have convinced me that sticking with a paper pass- even if the pass is being held together by tape at the end- is the way to go.