wherein DF travels to Deutschland for the 2006 world cup to follow the US men's national soccer team

Sunday, May 14, 2006

WC travel: Weltmeister-pass v. German railpass

Yesterday, I was just about to purchase a "Weltmeister-pass" for traveling around by train at the WC. But given the exorbitant price tag (349 euros for a second-class pass), I decided to shop around a bit for alternatives. Voila, there is one: a good old German railpass, the kind that has been around for ages, still exists and is as valid as ever. More importantly, it's far less expensive by almost any measure.

Take my example: I'll be based in Berlin and plan to take three round trips by train to visit other cities, either for games or to see friends. That will cost a mere $250 using the Germany railpass ($200 base price for four one-way trips, plus $25 for each of two additional trips). By contrast, the Weltmeister-pass would be valid for the same trips but would run a hefty $450 (using the current euro/dollar exchange rate). The moral of the story: the DB is crafty, and it pays to shop around.

Of course, the WM-pass is good for travel throughout the WC, so if you're going to be doing a lot of traveling, then it may work for you. But the threshold for this is pretty high. The point at which the WM-pass becomes a good or better value than the Germany railpass is where you're going to be traveling on each of fourteen days. Considering that the WC is about a month long, this would mean traveling every other day to make it worth your dime (and that presumes hefty voyages that cost more than $25 per as well--otherwise you'd be better off buying individual train tickets).


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