Buy the cheap Deutschland-Ticket (D-Ticket / Germany Ticket) for unlimited local public transportation (train, metro, tram, and bus) travel in Germany for €49 per month but foreigners should consider the cancel rules before buying online.
The Deutschland-Ticket allows for unlimited travel on local public transportation in Germany for only €49 per calendar month. Despite the name, it is an annual season ticket that must be bought online and canceled in time to prevent the recurrent monthly charge of the subscription. It is valid for travel on all local public transportation trains (IRE, RE, RB, S, and U-Bahn), metros, buses, trams, and ferries throughout Germany. Buying it from Hamburg (HVV) is probably the easiest, simplest, and less frustrating option for foreign travelers — at HVV it is easy to buy, use, and cancel the subscription in English.
What is the €49 Deutschland-Ticket for Cheap Travel in Germany?
The Deutschland-Ticket, available for travel on almost all local trains, metros, and buses in all of Germany, has been in operation since 1 May 2023. Anyone, including foreigners and without being a resident in Germany, may buy it but it is not a standard railway ticket, so take note of the special conditions that apply.
The main conditions to consider, which are explained in more detail below, include:
- The Deutschland-Ticket is an Abonnement, i.e. a season ticket subscription. Buyers sign up for a year but may cancel at any time (note date limits!).
- The Deutschland-Ticket is valid for a calendar month.
- Non-German residents and foreigners must basically buy it online as a mobile phone ticket. It is never sold at vending machines.
- The ticket is valid throughout Germany irrespective of where it was bought.
- Only children under six travel for free. Older children, dogs, and bicycles need separate tickets as prescribed by the various operators.
- It is only available in second class and only on regional public transportation, i.e. local trains (IRE, RE, RB, S, U-Bahn), municipal buses, trams, metros, and some ferries.
The official name is the Deutschland-Ticket (Germany Ticket) and it is sometimes abbreviated to D-Ticket. It is frequently referred to as the €49-Ticket — something the transportation authorities try to discourage to avoid the political fall-out when a “49-euro ticket” suddenly cost €59 or €69 in the future.
How and Where Foreigners May Buy the Deutschland-Ticket for Travel in Germany
The Deutschland-Ticket is an abonnement or season ticket subscription primarily aimed at commuters. As a result, it comes potentially with a large amount of bureaucracy and complications. Anyone may buy the Deutschland-Ticket but non-residents may find the process complex and should note that monthly payments continue automatically if not canceled in time. As it is aimed at German commuters, information in English may be limited.
The Deutscland-Ticket is available from Deutsche Bahn (somewhat hidden under regional offers) or from any of the various regional public transportation associations in Germany. However, each has its own complicated process with most requiring authorization to directly charge the buyer’s bank account (Lastschriftverfahren).
The best place to buy the Deutschland-Ticket for foreigners (and probably Germans too!) is through the Hamburg transportation association – HVV. Download the HVV Switch app and simply buy the Deutschland-Ticket paying with a credit card or Paypal — no need to give bank details here. The app uses perfect English and cancelation is as simple as clicking “cancel”. (Furthermore, it is easy to simply close the account and delete the HVV app after traveling if so desired.)
Wherever the Germany Ticket was bought, it will generally appear in the app of the relevant association (and may often be added to the Deutsche Bahn DB Navigator app too). The ticket has a QR code for inspectors to scan, dates of validity, and the name of the bearer (photo ID may be asked for but is rarely done).
How to Cancel the Deutschland-Ticket Abonnement Subscription
When buying the Germany Ticket, buyers automatically subscribed to an annual season ticket with 12 monthly payments of €49. Fortunately, canceling the ticket again is usually easier than the original buying process. In the HVV app simply click the Cancel / Termination option. For others, the cancellation option may be harder to find but the process should simply be to request cancelation, and confirmation (sometimes by email, sometimes in the app) should follow very quickly.
More problematic is the cancellation date. Most seemed to have agreed that cancellation should be before the 10th of the current month to prevent automatic renewal but it is generally sensible to do it as soon as possible.
It is possible to cancel the ticket subscription even before using the actual ticket. For example, buy the Germany Ticket to start on the first of the travel month and cancel it on the second day even if travel will occur for example only from the 10th to the 20th. The ticket remains valid until the end of the cancelation month.
How to Use the Deutschland-Ticket on Public Transportation
With a Deutschland-Ticket, travelers may freely board any local transportation (Nahverkehr) which generally includes all regional and urban trains (with abbreviations IRE, RE, RB, S, or U), regional and city buses, trams, metros, and a few ferries. Private trains and buses operated on behalf of local transportation authorities are also included. (Basically, any local train where standard Deutsche Banh tickets are accepted and buses using tickets of local transportation associations.)
As the D-Ticket is valid for all of Germany, it is no longer necessary to try and figure out in every city how, where, and which public transportation ticket to buy.
The Deutschland Ticket is valid for a calendar month — not for 30 days, four weeks, etc. Some associations may give credit if a ticket is only subscribed to during the running month but then cancellation is usually only possible at the end of the full calendar month. Study the specific association’s rules carefully before trying to use such an option.
Travel is only allowed in second class. Buying an upgrade to use first class on specific journeys is often possible.
The Germany-Ticket is only valid for the person in whose name it was issued — photo identification may be asked for (but is very rarely done). Children under six travel for free. Older children, dogs, and bicycles generally require their own tickets (but some regions have exceptions).
Simply board the train or tram — German stations have no ticket barriers and there is no need to scan the ticket before (or after) boarding. In cities, most buses may be entered freely too, although some require that tickets be shown to the driver.
Ticket inspections are fairly rare on urban transportation in Germany but being caught without a valid ticket is expensive — expect to be fined €60 or more.
Travel on long-distance trains such as the Inter-City (IC / EC), ICE, and private Flix trains is not covered and requires separate tickets.
Is the Deutschland-Ticket Good Value for Cheap Travel in Germany?
The Deutschland-Ticket can be spectacularly good value for traveling in Germany, even if combining it with regular long-distance tickets to cover intercity journeys — booking a few days in advance offers huge savings on intercity trains.
A regular 24-hour day ticket for travel on public transportation in major German cities such as Berlin or Munich costs around €10 per day. A Länderticket for traveling in a federal state is around €25 per day and only allows travel after 9 am.
Families and groups may enjoy savings with other tickets, e.g. own children traveling for free, but it only takes a few days of travel before individual Germany-Tickets offer the better travel deal.