And can I just say: "哪里买票？"? This is what I used when I was in China and everyone seemed to easily understand. Is this shorter sentence incorrect or non-native sounding? How do native speakers ask this kind of question?
买票: is all about the act of purchasing a ticket. 买到票: is about where a ticket can be successfully purchased.
But the two are often used interchangeably.
“哪里买票”(1) sounds perfectly native to me.
The difference between these two sentences lies in: (1) doesn't address the likely scenario where you can't get a ticket even if you tried to buy one.
Whereas “哪里可以买到票”(2) clearly states “Where (can I) buy and get a ticket?”
When you add "到" into the sentence, it shows that you need to find a place that can guarantee that you can buy a ticket, thus shows that you are in a hurry.
I see some nuances when I use those sentences/phrases.
I would use these sentences '哪里买票'，'在哪里买票'， or '请问, 在哪里买票', when I try to ask where the ticket office(售票处) is. Most likely, I would use '请问, 在哪里买票' because that sounds more polite than the other twos. Those sentences can be paraphrased as (请问)买票的地方在哪里， and they are usually used when you arrive a site(say a station), but you are not sure exactly where the ticket office is located in there.
I would use 哪里可以买票 and 哪里可以买到票, when I am not sure where I should go to get tickets(train station, Internet or any other places). The latter connotes that you are asking for a place where can surely get tickets, the former is just to ask where you can buy tickets but unsure if you can get tickets successfully.
买票= buy ticket
买到票 = buy and get ticket
In this context, these two phrases are both acceptable.
哪里买票 = where can I buy ticket? (tell me somewhere I can try, but you don't have to be 100% sure that I can get the ticket, maybe they sold out, or they are not selling the ticket now, but they were before)
哪里可以买到票 = where can I buy ticket? (you are 100% sure that I can buy a ticket there - but still there might be something happened that I could not get the ticket)
There are some differences between them.you may use “买票”when you are close to the place where you can get tickets and “买到票” is opposite