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Last minute reservations in peak season

Updated: Nov 11, 2023

Can’t find tickets on a short notice? Some tips to try out- they worked for me!

Having worked in time table planning and capacity management in transport, its my passion to find out ways to find a good alternative for travelling if you do not get the preferred option! This comes often handy when you decide on rather short notice.

Copenhagen Train station
Copenhagen Train station

This is one case from July 2022, when we as a family wanted to travel by train from Basel Bad Bhf (German railway station) to Copenhagen (Denmark) and Stockholm (Sweden) on a rather short notice. Our plan was to travel up to Hamburg (ICE, direct train) stop over at night and move to Copenhagen the next day. Stay 3-4 days there and move to Stockholm. Another 3 days then travel down by as direct a train back to Basel.

Of course, Covid-19 did affect the availability and on top the holiday season meant no reservations in the trains. Hours of search on the booking sites such as those from my last post did not yield success.

Here’s an alternative plan (from the many) which worked out perfect, even while we booked on 30.06.2022 for a journey commencing on 16.07.2022. Booking time for all the reservations: somewhere between 10-15 minutes.

Enjoy the read! And do share your story if you have you tried similar options!

Before buying any tickets, I first looked for an alternative strategy to make reservations. That’s a pretty small amount lost in case you cannot find alternatives!

Leg 1:

Instead of the German railway website, I opened the Danish railway (DSB) website. And search for Basel Bad Bf (Basel German station) to the next big railway station to Hamburg enroute Copenhagen. That is Flensburg. Et voilà! Seat reserved…

Leg 2:

Hamburg is a lovely place and so we decided to stay overnight on return. Somehow, we’d heard of Flensburg but never managed to be there. This was our chance!

Leg 2: The confirmation for reservation for the Flensburg-Copenhagen leg from the DSB
Copenhagen station
Copenhagen railway station

Leg 3:

Interestingly, I had the same challenge from Copenhagen to Stockholm that no seats were available. So, I applied the strategy to look for reservations in the Swedish railway (SJ) website. And booked a return ticket between Copenhagen and Stockholm Central!

Copenhagen-Stockholm central station

Stockhelom central railway station

Leg 3: Return ticket between Copenhagen and Stockholm Central from SJ
Leg 3: Return ticket between Copenhagen and Stockholm Central from SJ

Leg 4:

And finally I booked a return train from Copenhagen to Hamburg on the DSB website. With an overnight stay at Hamburg, I found a reservation from Hamburg to Basel again!

Leg 4: Copenhagen - Höbeln

So, I could call it environment friendly travel with less hassle. And money saved. We could avoid the chaos at the airports on the holiday time. Even though the trains were pretty packed, it was fun!

I’d like to hear your opinion about such alternatives!

*This post reflects the personal opinion of the author.


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