Senior Discounts Abroad?

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I have enjoyed an age discount in America on Amtrak trains, and most bus and metro services there.
Anyone have knowledge of discounts available in Europe, and can one obtain them when booking online?
I have today just renewed my UK senior railcard, so started wondering about discounted fares at near neighbours?
 
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LNW-GW Joint

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I gave some examples in the "Where to buy international tickets" thread (#9).

You can buy senior discounted tickets on demand/TOC web site without documentation for:
- Norway, Finland, Portugal (all 50%), Belgium (cheap off-peak returns between any 2 stations), Czechia (about 40%).
- France has some on-demand senior fares too on some TGV and TER routes (not all).
- you need a card purchased at a station for Spain (40%; you need the card number to buy discounted tickets), and most other countries.
- the card cost is cheap in Spain (€6), but relatively high in Germany, Austria, Italy, Poland and France at about €70 (making them poor value for a short visit - they are aimed at residents).
In some countries there are restrictions on which banks you can use for purchases, and email addresses/postcodes (all designed to stop visitors getting discounts).
I haven't travelled enough in CH and NL to know what's best there, but again discounts are aimed at residents.
You just show your passport on the trains as evidence of age (if requested - it rarely is).

The specific qualifying age in each country varies from 60 upwards (I assume with local pension age).
Your best bet may still be the full price Advance-type fare, but you lose flexibility.
It's a bit of a maze, but worth knowing about for some countries.
The card for Spain (Tarjeta Dorada) was very useful to me on recent trips.
A few cities also have free local travel for seniors - Prague is one.
DB is very good for long-distance cross-border advance fares (not senior), including up to 2 stopovers (eg Dusseldorf-Stockholm with overnight stops in Hamburg and Copenhagen).
All booked on a single e-ticket sent as a PDF, using DB/DSB/SJ services.
You just have to cross the DE border on a DB service.
Seat61 may have some more suggestions.
 
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DanielB

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In The Netherlands, there are no age related discounts on trains*. On buses, trams and metro services one can get a discount, but a personal OV-chipkaart is required and the discount will then be applied automatically.
The personal OV-chipkaart can be ordered online at OV-chipkaart - Apply for personal OV-chipkaart. I don't know however if it will accept a UK adress, the website does state that PayPal is a payment option for residents of Belgium, Germany or Luxembourg but I couldn't think of any reason to limit PayPal to those three countries.

*) With regards to trains the regional operators are an exception. On the routes mentioned below the train tariffs are integrated in the bus/tram/metro tariffs and work the same way with a base fare and a fixed fare for each kilometre. This means that the automatic age discount for passengers of age <12 of 65+ with a personal OV-chipkaart is applied on these routes:
- Arriva Gelderland: Apeldoorn - Zutphen, Zutphen - Winterswijk, Winterswijk - Arnhem Centraal and Arnhem Centraal - Tiel
- Breng: Arnhem Centraal - Doetinchem
- Keolis: Kampen - Zwolle, Zwolle - Enschede and Oldenzaal - Zutphen
- Arriva Vechtdallijnen: Zwolle - Emmen and Almelo - Hardenberg
- Qbuzz: Dordrecht - Geldermalsen
- Arriva Limburg: Maastricht Randwyck - Heerlen, Maastricht - Heerlen (- Aachen), Nijmegen - Roermond, Maastricht Randwyck - Roermond, Kerkrade Centrum - Sittard
- Domestic travel with the international trains Enschede - Dordtmund/Münster (DB Regio, check in with Keolis) and Arnhem Centraal - Düsseldorf Hbf (Abellio, check in with Arriva Gelderland/Breng)
 

biko

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In the Netherlands people over 60 can also buy an add-on to the general off-peak railcard (40% discount off-peak). The add-on consists of 7 days of off-peak free travel. But again not possible without a personal OV-chipkaart.
 

Wolfie

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I gave some examples in the "Where to buy international tickets" thread (#9).

You can buy senior discounted tickets on demand/TOC web site without documentation for:
- Norway, Finland, Portugal (all 50%), Belgium (cheap off-peak returns between any 2 stations), Czechia (about 40%).
- France has some on-demand senior fares too on some TGV and TER routes (not all).
- you need a card purchased at a station for Spain (40%; you need the card number to buy discounted tickets), and most other countries.
- the card cost is cheap in Spain (€6), but relatively high in Germany, Austria, Italy, Poland and France at about €70 (making them poor value for a short visit - they are aimed at residents).
In some countries there are restrictions on which banks you can use for purchases, and email addresses/postcodes (all designed to stop foreigners getting discounts).
I haven't travelled enough in CH and NL to know what's best there, but again discounts are aimed at residents.
You just show your passport on the trains as evidence of age (if requested - it rarely is).

The specific qualifying age in each country varies from 60 upwards (I assume with local pension age).
Your best bet may still be the full price Advance-type fare, but you lose flexibility.
It's a bit of a maze, but worth knowing about for some countries.
The card for Spain (Tarjeta Dorada) was very useful to me on recent trips.
A few cities also have free local travel for seniors - Prague is one.
DB is very good for long-distance cross-border advance fares (not senior), including up to 2 stopovers (eg Dusseldorf-Stockholm with overnight stops in Hamburg and Copenhagen).
All booked on a single e-ticket sent as a PDF, using DB/DSB/SJ services.
You just have to cross the DE border on a DB service.
Seat61 may have some more suggestions.
One thing that you didn't mention is that in some countries/cities age-related savings are only available to EU citizens.

Not sure that this, useful but pitched at Americans, has been previously posted.

 

neilmc

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Hungary was perhaps unique in that it offered free travel on all public transport (trains, trams, buses,etc) for all EU citizens over 65. It probably still does, but since the UK is no longer in the EU that's yet another benefit which has been casually tossed in the bin by the Brexiteers.
 

30907

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Hungary was perhaps unique in that it offered free travel on all public transport (trains, trams, buses,etc) for all EU citizens over 65. It probably still does, but since the UK is no longer in the EU that's yet another benefit which has been casually tossed in the bin by the Brexiteers.
The Slovak free travel equivalent (which is quota-controlled on fast trains) isn't EU-only, nor is the Czech offer (75% off normal fare).
RENFE in Spain is in the process of revamping the whole offer.
 

Elwyn

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Hungary was perhaps unique in that it offered free travel on all public transport (trains, trams, buses,etc) for all EU citizens over 65. It probably still does, but since the UK is no longer in the EU that's yet another benefit which has been casually tossed in the bin by the Brexiteers.
I wonder how many Brits over 65 considered the potential loss of some free public transport travel in Hungary a key issue in the Brexit debate, as you seem to suggest? Now that they have reportedly lost it, how many are concerned at this catastrophic change? Zero, I suspect. (Persuade me otherwise).

You say it was a benefit the Brexiteers “casually tossed in the bin”. I’d be inclined to think most see it as simply irrelevant. Would your visit to Hungary be heavily influenced by the availability of free/subsidised public transport for EU cits aged over 65? Really?

Seriously, how many Brits over 65 go to Hungary and of those that do how many go caring about free public transport? And of those, how many were Brexiteers? (Show your workings, as they used to say, when I was at school).
 

Harpers Tate

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Majorca - 50% discount on public trains and buses; pass issued free (5c for a photocopy of your passport, if you don't provide one yourself).
 

LNW-GW Joint

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One thing that you didn't mention is that in some countries/cities age-related savings are only available to EU citizens.
I think all the ones I mentioned are not EU-specific, though I know Hungary was (I have used it!).
It's the eastern-Europeans who seem most fussed by this, as their benefits system is often still skewed to the old regime.
I think they wanted only national discount benefits, but the EU made them stop discriminating across the EU.
But now we are out, as you say, it's irrelevant.

Most other counties behave commercially, just like our Senior Raillcard.
But the bank/address restrictions in some countries are a very sly way of penalising tourists.
I've heard that the generous discounts in Spain are from a policy of generous pension benefits for a generation badly treated by the old regime.
Something UK tourists can hardly claim to have suffered from.
And I have never tried the free local travel schemes in places like Prague, mainly because it feels like stealing from local taxpayers.
Czechs certainly don't get free senior travel in London!
 

JonasB

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In Sweden, SJ offers a 10% discount for seniors. Available to anyone over 65, just select "retired" when booking.

Skärmavbild 2021-05-23 kl. 11.03.57.png
 

peteb

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It would be useful to have a list of countries and the qualifying age for free or reduced travel: 55, 60, 65 etc.
 

coppercapped

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I wonder how many Brits over 65 considered the potential loss of some free public transport travel in Hungary a key issue in the Brexit debate, as you seem to suggest? Now that they have reportedly lost it, how many are concerned at this catastrophic change? Zero, I suspect. (Persuade me otherwise).

You say it was a benefit the Brexiteers “casually tossed in the bin”. I’d be inclined to think most see it as simply irrelevant. Would your visit to Hungary be heavily influenced by the availability of free/subsidised public transport for EU cits aged over 65? Really?

Seriously, how many Brits over 65 go to Hungary and of those that do how many go caring about free public transport? And of those, how many were Brexiteers? (Show your workings, as they used to say, when I was at school).
I and my wife go there occasionally as one of her cousins lives near Lake Balaton. We have travelled by train from there to Budapest and back, and all around Budapest by metro and tram by simply showing our passports.

So at least two...
 

davetheguard

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I seem to remember there once being a "Rail Europe Senior" railcard being available. In Britain, I think you had to already have a domestic Senior Railcard before you could buy the RES card.

As none of the other posters have mentioned it, I assume this Rail Europe Senior railcard no longer exists?
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Actually €29 in Austria.
Yes, there's a range of useful discount cards in Austria, called Vorteilscard, including for non-senior ages.
Some of the country cards also have a Railplus feature, which gives you discounts (eg 15%) on international routes and in participating countries (not all).
They seem quite common in central/eastern Europe.
 
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Very pleased with the responses! Thank you all. I imagine with most seniors getting fully vaccinated, we might be more likely to be travelling before some of the younger folk?
 

Robertj21a

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I and my wife go there occasionally as one of her cousins lives near Lake Balaton. We have travelled by train from there to Budapest and back, and all around Budapest by metro and tram by simply showing our passports.

So at least two...
Make that three!
 

Austriantrain

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Yes, there's a range of useful discount cards in Austria, called Vorteilscard, including for non-senior ages.

The 29€-Vorteilscard Senior will give you 50% on all train trips (45% if you buy at a counter) and is easily worth its money.
 

alf

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Make that three!
Make that 4.
We went in 2016,17,18 & 19.
All Hungarian Buses free as well as all trains, although we had to pay a tiny supplement, about a pound, to travel on intercity services.

On several occasions the guards thought we were from Ireland.
We did not ask why.
Slightly tempted to go again & show our “Great Britain & northern IRELAND” passports. None of the guards spoke English.

In case anyone thinks we are skinflints I suppose we are. But we spent money on Hungarian guest houses, meals & drink so we boosted the economy..And persuaded younger fare paying friends to visit.
The railways especially the two axle operated rural branches near Romania & the Ukraine are amazing.
 

dutchflyer

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IT IS only for EU in HU, as stated (though mostly the conductors keep a blind eye for poor Urkaynian grannies) and ONLY for domestic trips-the conductors are hence named MAVia as they can easily spot foreigners doing f.e. Bpest-Wien for ´free´ until border. However, fees for fast trains and the obligatory REServation on IC must be paid in full-often less as 1 GBP/2US$. Since covid most of the railbusroutes have been abolished or are limited to 1 incoveniently times return/day.
EU rules ALSO apply for the free city=urban transit from 70!! in most Polish and Czech cities-hence not trains (unless you confuse maybe metro/underground with train). In these cases show ID/passpt on controls. Its dead easy to get the DPP=Praha kupon for just 20 CzK=less as 1 eur from any DP office, except at airport-much less as even a normal single. For 60-64 its half fare , again with a kupon-bring foto. Renew kupon at 65 and again at 70.
In SK for ZSR you first need to get a free personal card-bring a foto and preferable something printed with name+address-can be made on the spot for free on all staffed stations-do not expect much /en/ though in general at minor stops. With the card you still need to get free tickets for all trips-except for the Tatra mountain trainlets. Seats on R=-fast trains must be reserved and are quota-controlled.
The SENIOR Railplus has been abolished quite a few yrs ago, there still is general RailPlus, which gives 15% OFF on INTernat trips FULL fare only, between an ever diminishing nr of countries-now mostly east-EUR only. In most cases advance tix are much cheaper as that. In the distant past some countries only accept that R+ for junior/senior-thats history now.
In AT in TIROL there is now a province only senior discount on its integrated local train+bus faresystem of 40-45%, no need there for the OeBB Railkcard.
Comical note: I read a few weeks ago for some (already forgotten which) US transit system they offer free travel for those aged 88 and above!
In Germany most discounts are only for local Verbund travel on a monthly or yearly subscription-often time limits-from 9.00 or 8.30-also apply.
In general the tripadvisor site has quite detailed info on this for most touristy towns, like Praha/Krakow/Warszawa/B-pest etc.
There IS a minor titfortat in GB for non-UK tourists: formerly the MAn/Peak Wayfarer was reduced for any senior-now only if you hold the UK senior freedomBuspass. Hoever the Derbyshire (at least untill I checked quite some time ago) still admits anyone. But that was already so before 1/1/21
 

LNW-GW Joint

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The GB senior railcard is consistent with all TOCs, but doesn't work within London* or some local/PTE fares.
And the GB senior free "bus passes" are localised to residents of England, Wales and Scotland.
Some bus/rail free passes are localised to residents within a city or region, or even to specific postcodes.
There are free senior passes for the Borderlands and Cambrian Coast lines here in North Wales, but I live in the "wrong" county for both of them!

* you can add a senior railcard to an Oyster card

It's history now, but in the past I have tried to benefit from the Hungarian free domestic (2nd class) policy on cross-border services, but it really wasn't worth it.
I can't be right that you can buy all the necessary tickets online and then discover they are not valid in combination, prompting a "fine" (bribe) to the conductor.
Either it's valid, or you shouldn't be able to buy the ticket combination.
I guess the MAV web site (and the PKP one cross-border in Poland) isn't up to that level of sophistication.
Anyway, not a problem now!

Outside rail, there are many countries which specifically price things differently for residents and tourists.
 

Bungle158

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I and my wife go there occasionally as one of her cousins lives near Lake Balaton. We have travelled by train from there to Budapest and back, and all around Budapest by metro and tram by simply showing our passports.

So at least two...
My partner and I are crumbly travellers and enjoyed the free travel available in Hungary in 2019. I have dual nationality and an EU passport, sadly my partner does not. Whilst the lack of free travel will not preclude further visits to this fascinating country, it will reduce our rides out, particularly on the Budapest transport network. Another 2
 

Capybara

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The Slovak free travel equivalent (which is quota-controlled on fast trains) isn't EU-only, nor is the Czech offer (75% off normal fare).
RENFE in Spain is in the process of revamping the whole offer.
Is that true about Slovakia? I actually considered moving to Slovakia for a period as an experiment once I became eligible for this but the window between that and leaving the EU was quite small and it never happened. Might still be an option then.
 

30907

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Yes. https://www.zssk.sk/en/zero-fare/

There was some confusion when this first came in because of the different rule for under 62s (I suspect the page hasn't been updated post Brexit).
Worth saying that for R-trains (expresses) I have found that free travel wasn't available on the day of travel, at least on the E-W main line.
 

JRT

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Rail fares in Slovakia are cheap anyway, but free for anyone 62+ with photo Railcard easily obtainable from main stations. Tickets are required for most journeys. On long-distance trains, a seat reservation of €1 is required.

Polish railways do an age-related discount without Railcard for most journeys, I forget the exact details, think it's 60+, the fare 63% of normal?
Doesn't apply to journeys totally within the Warsaw area, they have a different scheme that applies at 70+, again I don't have the exact details.
 
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