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I'm trying to book a train journey in Germany for September. We are currently in May and the DB Bahn website does not allow me to reserve tickets such a long time (4 months) in advance.

So here is the question: how early can I reserve train tickets in Germany?

  • Why is this a problem only being able to book 3 months in advance? German railways are super-reliable. – smci May 19 '15 at 20:33
  • @smci the problem might be that the best (cheapest) tickets are already sold out later. Or even that you can't reserve a seat anymore. – Paŭlo Ebermann May 19 '15 at 20:50
  • @JoErNanO While Paulo is right, I think it is nice to know that it is almost always possible to buy a ticket at the last moment at the DB ticket machines (which are allowing credit cards). Because I use the railway seldom, I don't buy tickets in advance, but always one hour before departure. Yes, at least at some occassions (2 % ?) I ended up sitting on the floor, but I was traveling. Hope you don't get into a railway strike. – Thorsten S. May 19 '15 at 21:13
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    @ThorstenS: Buying a full price ticket shortly before departure can in Germany be up to 395% more expensive than a discount ticket (144€ vs 29€). Friday evening, Sunday evening and Monday morning, trains on typical 'weekend commuter' lines are usually overcrowded. It is also good to know when to book, since the cheapest discount tickets are sold out early. It is now 2:20AM and some of the discount tickets for August 19th (sales started less than 2.5 hours ago) are already sold out. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo May 20 '15 at 0:23
  • Ah I didn't know there was a pricing structure somewhat like airlines. – smci May 20 '15 at 2:48
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German railway tickets can usually be booked online 91 days in advance, see this page under "Terms and conditions" for flexible tickets. Discount offers may have different conditions:

Pre-sales deadline: From 91 days until shortly before departure

There are some exceptions however. If e.g. a timetable change is scheduled and the new timetable is not yet fixed, a booking may still not be possible less than 91 days in advance.

  • Do you have any (possibly translated) references for this? – JoErNanO May 19 '15 at 17:02
  • @JoErNanO: Sure, but I guess you could have found that faster with Google than typing the comment here? :) – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo May 19 '15 at 17:40
  • Ah see I did search on bahn.de but could not find that information. – JoErNanO May 19 '15 at 17:42
  • The period has been extended. See the answer by @chirlu – Willeke Jul 22 '18 at 9:20
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According to this resource (in German) you can book max. 3 months in advance. The online booking system internally regards that as 92 days:

Frühestmögliche Buchung

Fahrkarten können frühestens drei Monate vor dem Reisetag gekauft werden, im Onlineverkauf ist die 3-Monats-Frist mit 92 Tagen festgelegt. Hierbei wird der aktuelle Tag mitgezählt, d.h. die Buchung ist für 91 Tage in die Zukunft möglich. Es gelten Kalendertage, jeweils um Mitternacht wird ein neuer Tag zur Buchung freigegeben.
Beispiel: am 01.01.2014 sind Fahrkarten + 91 Tage bis einschließlich 02.04.2014 buchbar.

Earliest possible booking

Tickets can be bought 3 months prior to the travel date at the earliest, for online-sale this 3-month-period is defined as 92 days. However, the current day is taken into consideration, meaning that you can book 91 days in advance. A new day starts at midnight.
Example: on the 01.01.14 you can book tickets +91 days until (and including) 02.04.14 . (date format: dd.mm.yy)

So to book a trip in the beginning of September you will have to wait for approx. 2 more weeks.

For future trips please also regard that DB is usually changing the timetable every year on the second Saturday in December and you usually have to wait until mid-end October to book trips that fall in the new timetable. This is described in more detail here (in German).

Have a nice time in Germany. ;)

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Railway tickets by Deutsche Bahn can be booked up to 180 days in advance (approximately six months). However, when a timetable change is upcoming – usually in mid-December –, bookings for trains after the change may be disabled until the new timetable is finalized.

(The booking period was extended in 2016; it used to be 91 days before. Source in German.)

  • Thanks Chirlu, I had missed that change in date, as I had no need to book in Germany for a while. – Willeke Jul 22 '18 at 9:18
  • @Willeke: The question got bumped to the front page (possibly due to some spam answer that got deleted?), and I thought, “Wait, that’s out of date!” :-) – chirlu Jul 22 '18 at 9:22
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    It was no spam, it was a user who really asked what you just answered. But we do not accept questions in the answers fields so it had to go. – Willeke Jul 22 '18 at 9:23

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