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Train ticket and móvil questions

Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2016; Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre/Muxia 2017; Aragones 2018; Suso/Yuso, Meseta 2019
After spending the past year and a half mourning the untimely passing of the beautiful Empress Kate (see my avatar), My Walking Partner cum Master of Distractions suddenly announces that he has purchased tickets to Spain for a fall Camino. My mind springs into overdrive since everything Camino has been in the far background; loose 10 lbs, buy new hiking pants, how to buy train tickets, research SIM cards. Oops (insert benign palabrota), I forgot the details of how to buy a train ticket from Madrid to Zaragosa! Small things change every year, so my specific questions are needing the most current information! 1. To buy a RENFE ticket online from the US, should I use the RENFE or another website? Pay with credit card or PayPal? 2. how to order a Vodafone or Orange SIM card, have it sent to me in the US and activate it upon arriving in Madrid? 3. Móvil: I remember that after 28 days of use, one had to pay the monthly fee (top up/recargar) at any number of convenient places. I was given a phone number to call to "renovar beneficios". At appears that all of that can now be accomplished online. Yes, how? Happy planning my dear Camino family!
 
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Easel

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francese Summer 2018
Camino Porteguese Coastal 2020
Train tickets - Rome2Rio.com. Remember, Renfe doesn't post their actual schedules until 30-60 days prior to the date of travel.

SIM cards - Check with your current carrier, you may already have text & mobil data coverage. I'v traveled with both Sprint and then T-Mobile (before the merger) and had sufficient coverage. Most any hotel, hostel, alberque you stay at or bar you visit will have WIFI coverage (to some extent).
 

SioCamino

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2015, CPo 2016, VDLP[Sev-Các] 2017, VDLP[Các-Sal] 2018
I've not used the Rome2rio site but in the past booked my renfe tickets through the Rail Europe app /website. I found it useful as generally could get an e-ticket on my phone and didn't have problems with paying using a non-spanish (though euro) credit card. I assume the same would apply to US cards.
For general info and tips on trains in Europe (actually everywhere!!) i find the website seat61.com invaluable.
Hope this is of help
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Here is Seat61.com relevant information.
This site is the genius of Mark Smith, who has been providing great and accurate train information for many years. If youtravelby train, save this site! .and ...I have no personal interest in this website.

Buy train tickets for Spain: See the train travel in Spain page...

  • All Spanish long-distance trains and even many regional trains require seat reservation and have variable pricing, so yes, trains can 'sell out' although although outside busy periods it's easy to buy tickets at the station on the day of travel if you want.
  • Renfe (Spanish national railways) has airline-style fares, so tickets will be much more expensive bought on the day, much cheaper booked in advance with a cheap Promo or Promo+ fare. So pre-book if possible.
  • How to buy tickets...
    The easiest way to buy Spanish train tickets is online at www.raileurope.com or www.thetrainline.com. These connect directly to Renfe's ticketing system to sell Renfe's cheap fares with Renfe's print-your-own tickets, but in plain English without any of Renfe's confusing translations or credit card rejection problems. There's a small booking fee, but it's worth it.
    Babies & infants: Although infants under 4 go free, for journeys on any Renfe mainline long-distance train wholly within Spain, you'll need to obtain a free infant ticket at a Renfe ticket office before boarding, see the advice here.
  • You can also book Spanish trains online in US$ in plain English with no payment problems at www.petrabax.com, a US-based agency that also links to the Renfe ticketing system, so has the same trains and cheap prices, although they add a small mark-up. It issues the same print-at-home tickets as renfe.com, so anyone from any country worldwide can use it, including the United States, Canada & Australia.​
  • Alternatively, you can of course buy tickets direct from Spanish Railways at www.renfe.com with no booking fee, but it has more than its fair share of quirks, so please read my advice on using Renfe.com. The quirks include some odd English translations and a reputation for rejecting a significant proportion of overseas credit cards with various error messages. Although I have to say it has always worked OK with my credit card and now accepts PayPal.
  • NEW FROM 10 MAY 2021: Barcelona to Madrid by lo-cost Ouigo train. Spanish railways are being opened up to competition, and from 10 May 2021, open-access operator Ouigo (www.ouigo.com, a subsidiary of SNCF French Railways) will operate up to 10 trains per day between Barcelona Sants & Madrid Atocha, competing with the AVE trains run by state-owned operator Renfe. These Spanish Ouigo trains are a version of France's double-deck 300 km/h TGV Duplex Ouigo trains, but unlike the French Ouigo trains they have two classes (standard with seats arranged 2+2 across the car width and XL with larger seats arranged 2+1 across the car width) and there will be a cafe-bar. Fares start at just €9, check times & buy tickets at www.ouigo.com. Be warned that this lo-cost operation has airline-style baggage limits and extra fees for large bags, so check carefully when booking. Both Ouigo & Renfe trains are bookable (with small booking fee) at www.raileurope.com.​
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2016; Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre/Muxia 2017; Aragones 2018; Suso/Yuso, Meseta 2019
Thank you @Marbe2, The sources for buying train tickets online is exactly what I was looking for! I have used these sites at least 4 times in the past, I just do not remember which one/s! I must be getting old!
 
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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
After spending the past year and a half mourning the untimely passing of the beautiful Empress Kate (see my avatar), My Walking Partner cum Master of Distractions suddenly announces that he has purchased tickets to Spain for a fall Camino. My mind springs into overdrive since everything Camino has been in the far background; loose 10 lbs, buy new hiking pants, how to buy train tickets, research SIM cards. Oops (insert benign palabrota), I forgot the details of how to buy a train ticket from Madrid to Zaragosa! Small things change every year, so my specific questions are needing the most current information! 1. To buy a RENFE ticket online from the US, should I use the RENFE or another website? Pay with credit card or PayPal? 2. how to order a Vodafone or Orange SIM card, have it sent to me in the US and activate it upon arriving in Madrid? 3. Móvil: I remember that after 28 days of use, one had to pay the monthly fee (top up/recargar) at any number of convenient places. I was given a phone number to call to "renovar beneficios". At appears that all of that can now be accomplished online. Yes, how? Happy planning my dear Camino family!
As someone said you may have coverage for your cell phone and internet through your service that you have at home. Or you can add it. That can be very expensive. If you can wait until you get to Spain you can buy a plan that is month to month. Vodafone has the most locations followed closely by Orange. The plans change from time to time. I use Orange because they have a plan that works better for me. I have been paying (I think in 2019) it was $20 Euros. I got 80 minutes of mobile time but 15 gigs of Internet. Vodafone has always had the reverse from my experience, more minutes less internet. I used the minutes the most in 2019 because I walked in winter and realized pretty quickly the apps and Gronze were only about 60% accurate when it came to albergues being open. So I found myself calling almost every day to make sure an albergue was open. You get a new Spanish number but only my wife would call me through our internet landline in Mexico. I spoke to my kids and often my wife on Wattsapp. My kids didn't even change my number in their phones and they were still able to contact me.
When I arrive in Sevilla I will go directly to Orange to get my SIM card after I arrive then I will go to my hotel.
It is really easy to recharge your card if you can speak some Spanish. If not you can go to a Vodafone or Orange office along the way. They both have offices in most decent size towns. A few times I have had to recharge early because of where I was. I walk long Caminos, I will do the whole Via De La Plata and on to Muxia this time which will be close to 1100K and I have never had to recharge more than twice.
 

CalgaryLynn

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Train tickets - Rome2Rio.com. Remember, Renfe doesn't post their actual schedules until 30-60 days prior to the date of travel.

SIM cards - Check with your current carrier, you may already have text & mobil data coverage. I'v traveled with both Sprint and then T-Mobile (before the merger) and had sufficient coverage. Most any hotel, hostel, alberque you stay at or bar you visit will have WIFI coverage (to some extent).
Thank you for that. I thought the site was down because I was trying to book so far ahead.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I've used the Renfe app to buy train tickets. I used PayPal because I had trouble with it accepting my credit card.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Train tickets - Rome2Rio.com. Remember, Renfe doesn't post their actual schedules until 30-60 days prior to the date of travel.

SIM cards - Check with your current carrier, you may already have text & mobil data coverage. I'v traveled with both Sprint and then T-Mobile (before the merger) and had sufficient coverage. Most any hotel, hostel, alberque you stay at or bar you visit will have WIFI coverage (to some extent).

30-60 days to reserve on Renfe...... Read seat61.com
  • When does booking open? In theory, tickets should go on sale 60 days ahead for all trains other than AVE trains which should open 90 days ahead. However, this isn't exact - Renfe loads dates in large blocks as and when it feels like it, often significantly less than 60 days and often loading some trains before others. If you go online and don't see the complete train service which you're expecting to see, and it's more than a month to go before departure, the chances are that all trains are not yet loaded. Renfe is particularly lax in opening bookings for dates after the timetable changes at midnight on the 2nd Saturday in June and 2nd Saturday in December when the booking horizon can shrink to as little as 30 days.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
Agree entirely that seat61.com is the ‘go to’ site for everything train related.

I’ve used ‘Rail Europe’ many times for simple English-language access to RENFE bookings. It was formerly known as Loco2
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
30-60 days to reserve on Renfe...... Read seat61.com
  • When does booking open? In theory, tickets should go on sale 60 days ahead for all trains other than AVE trains which should open 90 days ahead. However, this isn't exact - Renfe loads dates in large blocks as and when it feels like it, often significantly less than 60 days and often loading some trains before others. If you go online and don't see the complete train service which you're expecting to see, and it's more than a month to go before departure, the chances are that all trains are not yet loaded. Renfe is particularly lax in opening bookings for dates after the timetable changes at midnight on the 2nd Saturday in June and 2nd Saturday in December when the booking horizon can shrink to as little as 30 days.

I came across this information on seat61.com starting this summer in refernce to changes in Renfe’s seating.

Classes change starting summer 2021: Standard & Comfort...

  • Now it's going to change yet again! In Summer 2021 Renfe will rename Turista Standard class (2nd class) and will rename Turista Plus & Preferente Comfort class (1st class). They'll introduce a new fares structure at the same time. More details will be added here when known.
 

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