Train travel tips for Christmas

Coming safely to the family: This is probably a central need for most people at Christmas. Many use the train to travel home - and are there longer with people. This is how you reduce the risk

Despite the tough shutdown, many people are likely to take the train through half of Germany at Christmas to visit their families. Deutsche Bahn uses special trains around the holidays and, according to its own information, creates 50,000 additional seats in order to equalize travel.

Anyone who goes into self-isolation before Christmas will be in a confined space for a long time on the train journey home for a long time among many people. With a few tips, the risk of a corona infection can be significantly reduced.

Obey the mask requirement

The mouth and nose must be covered on the trains. The Deutsche Bahn wants to control the mask requirement around Christmas. If a passenger refuses to wear a mask, an exclusion from transport must be pronounced, according to the company. The Federal Police implement this "in critical situations". In other words: The officers get stubborn mask refusers from the train.

And in case the utensil has actually been forgotten: Disposable masks are available for 1.50 euros in the on-board bistro. Otherwise: wash your hands regularly and use disinfectants.

Avoid peak hours

Not everyone is flexible. But if you have the opportunity, you should travel a few days before Christmas Eve and not the day before. "We observe that booking behavior has changed significantly in the last few weeks - nine out of ten ticket purchases are only made a few days before the journey," explains a spokeswoman for the railway. Therefore, forecasts are difficult. "In the past few years, December 23rd was one of the busiest days of the year."

Use utilization indicator

When looking for a less frequented train connection, the train's occupancy display helps. From an anticipated occupancy of more than half of the seat capacity, the travel connections are particularly highlighted in the timetable information, according to Deutsche Bahn. "If the occupancy rate is even higher, we will block the booking of the affected travel connections," emphasized the spokeswoman.

The occupancy display is available for long-distance trains for each individual journey section between two stations, as Deutsche Bahn explains. It will be updated regularly until departure. On board train attendants help with the distribution of passengers.

Reserve a seat

In general, only a maximum of 60 percent of all seats are released for a reservation. Deutsche Bahn recommends the contactless online booking of tickets on bahn.de or in the DB Navigator app - in long-distance transport including a reservation.

However, there is no obligation to make a reservation. Passengers with a flex-price ticket are therefore still allowed to travel, so they have to add them. The Pro Bahn passenger association still considers the occupancy display to be useful as a rough guide.

Switch to the Intercity

According to Deutsche Bahn, IC trains are often less busy. In order to find this in the electronic travel information, travelers uncheck "Prefer fast connection".

Change the class

The 1st class of the Deutsche Bahn offers more space and more distance to fellow passengers, the seat distances are larger. In addition, there are also individual seats due to the configuration of the rows of seats. Last but not least, one can speculate that there are fewer passengers in 1st class than in 2nd class, because the ticket sometimes costs significantly more. But there is no guarantee for this.