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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 and share our update using the Deutschland-Ticket.
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).
- 1 What Is The Deutschland-Ticket?
- 2 The Deutschland-Ticket Sounds Great! What’s The Catch?
- 3 How To Decide If You Want To Use The Deutschland-Ticket For Your Trip To Germany
- 4 How To Buy The Deutschland-Ticket Without A German Bank Account
- 5 Is The Deutschland-Ticket Worth It For Tourists?
- 6 Deutschland-Ticket For Tourists FAQ
- 7 UPDATE: Our Experience With And Review of The Deutschland-Ticket
- 8 Next Steps For Planning Your Trip:
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.
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. UPDATE: it looks like this requirement has been removed!
- 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 in a couple months.
- 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/FlixTrain).
- Each person has to have their own ticket. There are no group tickets and no sharing.
- 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.
How To Decide If You Want To Use The Deutschland-Ticket For Your Trip To Germany
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. We decided to subscribe for 4 months even though we only need it for half of 2 of those months because it will still save us a lot of money.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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 you get can be worth the expense.
How To Buy The Deutschland-Ticket Without A German Bank Account
As of now, 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.
Update: we purchased our tickets! We used the Rheinbahn app so we could pay with a credit card and had no problems signing up for the subscription. There’s a big cancelation button in the app, so canceling our subscription should be quick and easy. Other members of our Facebook group have successfully used Wise to transfer money to pay for the ticket.
I was leaning towards using Wise and set up an account because we’re probably going to use it in the future anyway. And a member of our Facebook group said it worked well for her, which was good to hear. But ultimately, we decided to use the Rheinbahn app so we could use our credit card (we want the airline miles).
Click here to create your own Wise account so you can buy the Deutschland-Ticket.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 or within the app you used to purchase . 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 (UPDATE: it looks like this is no longer a requirement). 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. If you want to visit a town over the border, use the Deutschland-Ticket to a town on the border and then buy a ticket from that town your destination in the other country. You can buy that ticket online, through the DB Navigator app or at a train station (they’ll also be able to help you figure out which town you can travel to with the Deutschland-Ticket).
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.
UPDATE: Our Experience With And Review of The Deutschland-Ticket
We’ve been using the Deutschland-Ticket for 3 weeks now and will use it for 2+ more months. Here’s a summary of our experiences so far:
- Aaron and I each subscribed using the Rheinbahn app on our phones and a credit card before arriving in Germany.
- Once we arrived at the Frankfurt am Main airport we hopped on a regional train and went right to Cologne. I was glad we hadn’t bought tickets for a fast train because our plane was 2 hours late and we likely would have missed the train.
- We’ve used the ticket on a bunch of regional trains, local trams, busses, etc. It’s been SO nice not having to pay for each one of those things separately. We’ve saved a lot of money. Last fall, for example, we each paid about 90 Euros just for 1 month transit passes in Berlin (and it didn’t even cover all of Berlin)!
- It does take longer to get places on regional trains and we will take a fast train later this month because that journey is just too long by regional train. But otherwise, we’ve been sticking to regional trains to save some money. On a vacation, though, I’d probably take fast trains as much as possible to save time.
- Some regional trains have been crowded with standing room only. Fortunately, the only time we’ve had to stand was when we didn’t have our luggage. We’ve mostly had no problem finding seats.
- Regional trains vary throughout Germany so we’ve traveled on several different kinds with and without our luggage. Most, but not all, have luggage racks that will accommodate our carry-on size travel backpack and spinner suitcase.
- Seats on some regional trains are fairly comfortable while others are…not. Unlike older trains, windows don’t open, so when it’s hot outside the trains can get stuffy. Trains have A/C and it works better on some than on others. The ride has been pretty smooth, though – better than the older trains. Fortunately, journeys on regional trains are fairly short so we haven’t had to put up with uncomfortable seats or hot, stuffy, crowded trains for very long.
- We’ve had to change trains more frequently, which means going up and down stairs to change platforms (or waiting for the elevator) and sometimes sprinting to make our connection. German trains are no longer as reliably on time as they used to be, so we’ve missed a few connections due to train delays. So far we’ve just caught the next train and it hasn’t been a problem.
- Bathrooms are hit and miss on regional trains. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. Some regional trains haven’t had a bathroom at all.
- Our tickets have only been checked once. We simply pulled up our ticket in the app and the conductor scanned it. Super easy.
- I did have one issue with my ticket. A few days before the new month, Aaron saw that his subscription had renewed but mine hadn’t. I finally figured out that the credit card I used to pay for the subscription was the one I had to cancel just before leaving for Germany. So when the app tried to renew, my credit card didn’t work and my subscription wasn’t renewed. Once I figured this out, I updated my credit card info and was able to purchase a ticket for the next month. It was an easy fix but it was frustrating to not have gotten any notifications so I could have fixed the issue earlier.
- There’s a big cancelation button in the app so canceling our subscription should be easy when the time comes.
For us on this 3-month travel research trip, having the Deutschland-Ticket has been wonderful. It’s saved us both time and money.