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The best way to get around?

Travel Forums Europe The best way to get around?

1. Posted by laoskijgah (Full Member 41 posts) 12y

Does anyone know the best value for money way to get around Europe? I'm traveling during winter so busabout is not an option. Are Eurail passes value for money or are you better off booking trains as you go?

2. Posted by bluewaav (Inactive 627 posts) 12y

Hey Loz,

I can guarantee you one thing- ABSOLUTEY do not book trains as you go!!!!! That was the mistake I made that cost me hundreds of dollars. I regetted it, trust me! A Eurrail pass will more than pay for itself, don't worry. When you first see the price, you might bulk, but it is worth it.

If you still don't want to travel by train, you can look into Eurolines. It is the European continental bus that takes you from city to city, station to staion, in Europe. (I would say it is the European equivalent to the Greyhound, but I checked your profile and found out you're Austrailian so you may not have the Greyhound down under.) Anyway, I believe you can get passes and it does run year-round.

Good luck! Have a great trip!

Peace,
Steph

3. Posted by mim (Travel Guru 1276 posts) 12y

sounds like you need to speak to Gelli, he's the authority on this type of travel.

But I would say trains or if you're with a few other people, rent a car!

mim

4. Posted by applegirl (Full Member 144 posts) 12y

Loz, don't know where you want to go but I use Ryanair (ryanair.com) which is a low cost no-frills airline, they're great as long as you don't want to change the destination or date (it's expensive to change anything on the ticket) go to their website and have a look, I have got a return ticket from London to Sweden for as little as £30.

5. Posted by coldwarspy (Travel Guru 1108 posts) 12y

Hi,
it depends where u travel.
I mostly travel Eastern Euro where there is NO Eurrail pass (unless things have changed since 2001-2002)... so point-to-point trains and buses is all you can do.

The few times I back-packed West Euro were small regions like Portugal/Spain where buses are far more convenient and cheaper.

6. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 12y

Hi Loz,

Sorry, been away a bit of late and only just come across your post. (Mim – Wow! Praise indeed. Thanks (i think). Not entirely sure how I’ve come across as any sort of authority on anything, but I’ll see what I can do).

Unfortunately, there's no easy answer to your question so this will be a long one.

In my view, basically there is no right or wrong way. What works out cheaper for somebody will work out more expensive for other people. Essentially, it comes down to the sort of itinerary you are hoping to cover. The following are all relevant:

- total time period
- Frequency of travel (are you going to be traveling every day, couple of days or once a week)
- Distance of travel (mainly short journeys within local areas or long international journeys)
- Areas of travel (e.g. as Jeff says, Eastern Europe plus Spain and Portugal are generally much cheaper than an itinerary which is based in france/Germany). Are you planning on covering the whole of Europe or just certain regions (or even certain cities?)

Different countries also have different characteristics – some areas have very poor rail or bus links so the other mode is worth using.

Applegirl’s cheap airline suggestion also works depending on the area. The Cheap airline business is growing rapidly, but it is only now beginning to really expand away from the British market. There are literally thousands of cheap flights from dozens of airports in the UK to places in Western Europe. Coverage to eastern Europe is still very poor, and in many cases it’s still as cheap to fly traditional operators rather than the new budget lines. Whilst there are a growing number of continental budget airlines, the coverage is still relatively small, so flights via London (in particular) may be an option. In addition, be aware that many of the budget airlines use fairly obscure out of the way airports (with less public transport connections which may require costly transfers), and also don’t include taxes.

As Steph says, Eurolines are the major international coach operator (and you can buy passes), but away from core routes CAN be as costly as trains, can take significantly longer and are also not as frequent or with as many options. However for some journeys, they (and the myriad of other national/int’l operators) work out significantly cheaper.

I would disagree with Steph’s assertion that you shouldn’t book trains as you go – in Eastern Europe and for mainly shorter distances/localized areas or infrequent travel it can work out better than a pass. If you are booking a few days in advance &/or time your travels well, you can also qualify for any number of localized discounts/regional tickets/special offers. For example, every Sat in 04 in Italy, a single between ANY 2 Intercity stations is only 15euros or any 2 Eurostar-Italia stations only 30euros subject to compulsary (but free) reservation.

If you coordinate most of your travel with offers like this you can save a fair amount of money over a pass, although involves a lot of work/pre planning to get the best offers which may not be worth the hassle (and also takes away allot of flexibility).

Basically, It all depends upon your itinerary – if you send me/reply with an approximate idea of your plans (length of time, places you want to hit), I can have a look and see if you are likely to be better off with a pass, buy as you go, coach, air or whatever.

Home some of that helps, but kind of doubt it!
Rich