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How to Buy the Deutschland-Ticket For Your Trip to Germany Without a German Bank Account

Thinking about buying the new 49€ Deutschland-Ticket to use during your trip to Germany? Read this guide first!

In this article we first give you the information you need to decide whether this ticket will work for your trip. Then we show you how to buy it if you don’t have a German bank account. Finally, we answer commonly asked questions about the Deutschland-Ticket.

Stuttgart train

We’ve gotten a lot of questions about this new ticket, and we’re planning to use it ourselves on our upcoming trip to Germany. But using it isn’t as easy as simply going to a ticket machine after you step off the plane and then hopping on a train.

If you want to use the Deutschland-Ticket it’s important to understand the limitations of this ticket, plan ahead so you can don’t miss the deadline to purchase the ticket for your trip, and have a plan for purchasing if you don’t have a German bank account (or one with an IBAN number).

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What Is The Deutschland-Ticket?

The Deutschland-Ticket is a new subscription-based ticket that allows you to use regional and local trains, as well as public transportation, throughout all of Germany for a fixed monthly fee of 49€.

So instead of buying day (or week) passes to ride trams, busses, S-bahns, and U-bahns in each city you visit, plus regional train tickets or point-to-point tickets for day trips or when traveling to a new city, you simply use the Deutschland-Ticket for everything, anywhere in Germany.

Depending on the specifics of your trip, it could save you a lot of money. It could, however, also be more hassle than you want to deal with. Keep reading to evaluate whether this ticket will work for you.

Munich regional train

The Deutschland-Ticket Sounds Great! What’s The Catch?

It’s important to remember that this ticket is not geared towards tourists. Here’s what most important for tourists to know about the ticket:

  • It’s by subscription only. You can’t buy it at a ticket machine.
  • The ticket is valid for each calendar month (e.g., September, October, November – not for any 30 consecutive days).
  • You must purchase the ticket before the 20th of the month to use it during the following month. So if you’re traveling in July, you have to purchase your ticket by June 20th.
  • You must unsubscribe before the 9th of the month. I’ve also heard from a member of our Facebook group that actually have to cancel 6 weeks in advance. I’ll update on our experience after we’ve canceled our subscription.
  • You have to have a German bank account (or one with an IBAN) so payment can be automatically transfered out of your bank account. That said, there are workarounds for this so keep reading.
  • While it’s possible to purchase the ticket in Germany at a train station, due to the points above, tourists will want to purchase the ticket online before their trip.
  • You can only use the ticket on local and regional public transportation. No fast trains (ICE/IC/EC).
  • Each person has to have their own ticket. There are no group tickets.
  • The ticket will be in an app on your phone so you need to have constant internet access while in Germany so you can show your ticket if asked to.
  • You can’t use the ticket outside of Germany.

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How To Decide If You Want To Use The Deutschland-Ticket For Your Trip To Germany

  1. Make a list of when and for how long you’ll use regional trains and local public transportation (bus, tram, etc) on your trip. Add up the price to purchase each one separately.
  2. If you’re still figuring out which trains you want to take to get from one city to another (or for day trips), do this research before you purchase the Deutschland-Ticket! Regional trains are great for some trips but they can be significantly slower than ICE/IC/EC trains, so don’t simply plan to just use regional trains on your trip. Use the Deutsche Bahn website to look at all options for each leg of your trip, and then decide which legs you want to use the fast trains for vs. the slower trains.
  3. Look at the calendar and see how many months you’ll need to subscribe. If you’re spending 10 days in Germany with 7 in June and 3 in July, you’ll need to subscribe for June and July in order to use the ticket throughout your trip.
  4. Consider how many people you’re traveling with. Will each person have a phone with continuous internet that can house the ticket in the relevant app? Note: children under 6 can travel free of charge. Everyone 6 and older needs to have their own Deutschland-Ticket.
  5. Explore other ticket options that might be easier to purchase, especially if traveling with others. There are a lot of ticket options that could work just as well, if not better, for your trip (like using regional day tickets).
  6. If the flexibility of having one ticket is what’s tempting about the Deutschland-Ticket but you’ve realized that you want to take several fast trains (ICE/IC/EC), consider a German Rail Pass. I don’t always recommend these passes but in some cases the flexibility can be worth the expense.
regional train

How To Buy The Deutschland-Ticket Without A German Bank Account

If you try to purchase the Deutschland-Ticket via the Deutsche Bahn, you’ll be asked for an IBAN so that the monthly fee can be automatically transfered out of your account. The problem is that for those of us without a German bank account (why did I ever close my German bank account?!!), it’s unlikely that our bank accounts have an IBAN. That said, depending on which country you live in, yours might have one, so do check.

Here are 2 workarounds:

1. Create a WISE account. You’ll then be able to sign up for the ticket through the Deutsche Bahn and have the monthly subscription fee deducted from your home bank account via Wise. Click here to set up your own Wise account.

2. Purchase the ticket through a local public transportation system’s app that allows purchases via credit card or PayPal, such as Rheinbahn. Since the ticket is valid all over Germany, it doesn’t matter which local transportation system you purchase it from. I’ve heard that Rhinebahn’s app allows you to pay with credit card or PayPal.

Note – since I haven’t yet purchased our tickets it’s unclear to me whether you’ll need to list a German address when setting up your subscription and if you can use a hotel or Airbnb address. I’ll update this guide once we’ve gone through the process ourselves.

How We’re Going To Buy The Deutschland-Ticket

I’ve been looking into these options for purchasing our tickets and I’m leaning towards using Wise.

A member of our Facebook group said it worked well for her, which was good to hear! And I’m thinking that having a Wise account could be helpful in general. I’ve started setting up my Wise account and will update here after we purchase our Deutschland-Tickets.

Click here to create your own Wise account so you can buy the Deutschland-Ticket!

U-bahn in Hamburg

Is The Deutschland-Ticket Worth It For Tourists?

Maybe! But also maybe not.

If your entire trip is within 1 calendar month, you plan to frequently use regional trains and public transportation, you have continuous internet access on your phone, you can purchase the ticket in time to use on your trip, and you’re sure you’ll remember to unsubscribe in time, it could be a great deal for you.

Here are 2 scenarios to consider:

Scenario 1: Two people traveling together for 2 weeks in July visiting Munich and Nürnberg with several day trips. They’re traveling exclusively by train and will use public transit or regional trains almost every day. They plan to take public transit to and from the airport. They also each have a cell phone with continuous connectivity (either through their service provider or a SIM card)

In this case, the Deutschland-Ticket is most likely the best choice.

Scenario 2: A family of 5 (with 3 teens) is traveling for 10 days with 7 days in July and 3 days in August. They’re traveling to Berlin, Cologne, and Munich with one day trip to Neuschwanstein castle via a guided tour. They’ve booked airport transfers to and from the airport, plan to take the ICE between cities, and will primarily concentrate their sightseeing to each city’s downtown area.

In this case, the Deutschland-Ticket is most likely NOT the best choice.

If you realize that the Deutschland-Ticket not going to be a good ticket for your trip, here are a few other tickets to consider:

  1. German Rail Pass – if you’re looking for flexibility, want to take fast trains, want the option to take any train and be able to stop and explore a city for a few hours on your way to your next destination (e.g., stop in Nürnberg for a couple hours while traveling from Berlin to Munich), and don’t want to spend time researching and purchasing individual train tickets, getting a rail pass can be a good choice. It’ll likely cost more than buying individual cheap train tickets but you’ll have a lot more flexibility, which is sometimes priceless! And you can get discounts on rail passes. For example, if two people are traveling together, you can save money with a TwinPass.
  2. Regional day tickets (e.g. the Bavaria Ticket) – these are great for day trips! You can only use them on regional transportation, and if traveling on a weekday you can’t use it until after 9am, but they’re inexpensive, especially if multiple people travel together. You can purchase the ticket ahead of time or on the day of travel at a ticket machine or in the app.
  3. Individual train tickets – if you’re only taking the train a couple times on your trip, you might just want to buy individual tickets. If you book far enough in advance you can score great prices on fast trains. Do note that these cheap tickets are for train-specific travel so while you save money, you do lose flexibility.
  4. Local public transit passes – if you plan to frequently use city busses, trams, S-bahns or U-bahns, you can buy day, week or even month passes. Take a look at how often you’ll actually use public transit because you might find that you actually only need to buy a couple individual tickets.
s-bahn in germany

Deutschland-Ticket For Tourists FAQ

How Much Does The Deutschland-Ticket Cost?

Only 49€ a month! It’s a great deal and could work for you if you’ll be using public transportation and local trains in Germany.

What Types Of Public Transportation Can I Use With The Deutschland-Ticket? Can I Use The Deutschland-Ticket For Long-Distance Trains?

The key here is local and regional. So you can use city and regional busses, trams, U-bahns, S-bahns, and regional trains. You cannot use the Deutschland-Ticket on long-distance trains (ICE/IC/EC), private trains or busses, historic or touristic transportation or FlixBus/FlixTrain.

Are There Any Restrictions On The Use Of The Deutschland-Ticket?

Yes! Here’s what’s most important for travelers to Germany:

  • You can’t use this ticket on long-distance trains (Fernverkehr). So no ICE, IC or EC trains. You also can’t use it on any tourist or historic transportation, FlixBus or FlixTrain or private trains or busses.
  • This ticket is only available as a subscription. So you can’t spontaneously buy it from a ticket machine once you’re in Germany and then hop on the train.
  • You have to purchase the subscription before the 20th of the month to use the following month. So you have to plan ahead to ensure you have the ticket before leaving for Germany.
  • You have to cancel your subscription before the 9th of the month so you don’t pay for the next month.
  • The ticket is valid for each calendar month, not 30 days from the date of purchase.
  • Each person 6 years and older needs to have their own subscription.

How Do I Subscribe To The Deutschland-Ticket? Is It Possible To Cancel Or Change My Subscription?

You can subscribe and cancel your subscription online. If you have a German bank account (or one with an IBAN) you can subscribe via the Deutsche Bahn website (if you don’t, keep reading).

You can subscribe in person in Germany at a train station but only if you have a German bank account/IBAN. And you still have to purchase by the 20th of the month to use the following month. So the majority of travelers will want to subscribe before landing in Germany.

How Can I Buy The Deutschland-Ticket If I Don’t Have A German Bank Account?

At present, you can create a Wise account and use that to have each month’s payment transfered from your personal bank account. If you use Wise, you can purchase your ticket via Deutche Bahn.

Another option is to purchase the ticket through a local public transportation system’s app that allows purchases via credit card or PayPal, such as Rheinbahn. Since the ticket is valid all over Germany, it doesn’t matter where you purchase it.

Can I Use The Deutschland-Ticket For Travel Outside Of Germany?

Nope. The Deutschland-Ticket is only valid within Germany.

Is The Deutschland-Ticket Valid For One Day Or Multiple Days?

It’s only valid for one calendar month at a time (e.g., June, July, August – not 30 consecutive days from when you purchase) If you only need it for a couple days in one month, you’ll need to subscribe for the entire month. If you need 7 days in one month and 3 days in the following month, you’ll need to subscribe for both months.

Can I Travel With The Deutschland-Ticket On Weekends And Holidays?

Yes! There are no restrictions as to when you can use the ticket during the week or on a day.

Are There Any Discounts Or Special Offers Available For Families Or Groups?

No. At present, each person 6 and over must have their own ticket, and there are no discounts for buying multiple tickets.

Next Steps:

We’ve gathered some of our essential travel guides, websites, and other information to help you plan the best vacation! We use these resources ourselves and share them to save you money, time, and stress so you can focus on enjoying and making the most out of your time in Germany.

GERMANY TRAVEL BUNDLE: Our Ultimate Germany Travel Bundle gives you the best tools, up-to-date tips, and expert insights to easily and efficiently tackle the travel planning process. You’ll get our custom Trip Planning Map, which shows you the best sights, hotels, castles, and more – because seeing where things are in relation to each other makes trip planning SO much easier! You also get our Trip Planning Spreadsheet, City Cheatsheets, How-to Videos, Germany Trip Planning Guide, and Trip Planning Spreadsheet!

BOOKING FLIGHTS: To find the the best flights deals, we recommend checking Kayak, Skyscanner, Expedia, Travelocity. These websites are also great for getting rental cars.

ACCOMMODATIONS: We recommend using since they have widest range of accommodations available from hostels, boutique hotels, luxury chains, aparthotels, at the best prices. For vacation homes, we suggest checking VRBO. We also have accommodation guides on different destinations (Hamburg, Cologne, Munich, Stuttgart, and more to come!) in our website.

TRAINS & BUSES: For point-to-point or regional train tickets (great for day trips or groups) within Germany, or tickets originating in Germany to other European destinations, we recommend buying them on the Deutsche Bahn (German Rail System) website. If you want to buy a rail pass for Germany (or elsewhere in Europe), buy them on Rail Europe. For buses, FlixBus offers tickets for routes within Germany and to other European countries. FlixBus is often cheaper than trains but can take longer.

TRAVEL CREDIT CARD: One of the best ways to make travel to Germany more affordable is by booking free flights. Using the points accrued with our Chase Ink credit card (and a few others), we haven’t had to pay for flights to Europe in the past 10 years!

TICKETS AND TOURS: We always recommend exploring a new city for the first time with a Hop On Hop Off Bus tour (ride it all the way around for the entire 1.5-2 hour tour). Here is our guide on the best Hop On Hop Off Bus tours for different German cities. For guided walking tours, day trips, private tours, and skip-the-line tickets, Get Your Guide is our go to!

WHAT TO PACK: Not sure what to bring to Germany? Check out our 2-week minimalist packing guide for tips on traveling light, and our Germany packing list for our must-pack items. Bonus: check out our guides on finding the best travel purse and best travel scarf with a hidden security pocket.

TRAVEL CONSULT: If you feel like you need more help and guidance beyond these resources, book a travel consult with us! We offer personal live sessions where we’ll help you with things like planning your itinerary, showing you how to book train or skip-the-line tickets, and answer any other questions you have about traveling to Germany.