Germany is a country rich in sights with an extensive rail network that makes it easy to see them all. Yet with many travellers, cost can be the most prohibitive thing. If you are going to be doing a lot of train travel in Germany and are on a budget, it may be worth your while to purchase a BahnCard.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Passport-sized photograph
- Credit card or Euro
Choose your BahnCard, depending upon the amount of travelling you plan on doing. The BahnCard 25 and BahnCard 50 are discount cards good for 25 and 50 per cent off your train fare, respectively. The BahnCard 100 is a fixed-fee card good for one year's worth of "free" travel. All three cards are available in first or second class options.
Find out whether you are eligible for a city ticket. This allows you free use of public transportation to and from the train station in some German cities, provided your train trip is more than 100km.
Order online at bahn.de. The site provides an English order form for non-German speakers. Input the first day you want the card to be valid. You will need to upload a photo of yourself to be printed on the card for identification purposes.
Visit any Deustche Bahn office or authorised agent and purchase your card there if you are already in Germany. Bring a passport-sized photo of yourself. Your BahnCard will be mailed to your address. Until then, you will receive a temporary BahnCard.
Know that the BahnCard is a subscription service that will automatically renew each year. If you do not intend on using your BahnCard for any longer than a year, cancel in writing to avoid unwanted charges.
Tips and warnings
- The full discount does not apply to travel outside of Germany. However, your BahnCard will get you 25 per cent off the foreign part of train travel in 29 countries.
- If you are only going to be spending a short time in Germany, consider getting a Eurail pass instead. This may afford you larger savings in the long run, particularly if you plan on making side trips to other countries.
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