do you think it's better to travel round Europe by yourself on the railways or to use Busabout? The reason I would consider using them is that it is more than likely I will be travelling by myself and it will be easy to meet people this way. However it means the places you travel to are restricted and I think they concentrate more on western Europe, France, spain etc so you have to do Eastern Europe by yourself anyway.
But would it be worth travelling with them for a few weeks just to get started?
Interested to know what anyone else thinks and if they have used busabout.
Busabout is restrictive in that many services are only daily, or some even 2 or 3 a week, and that there aren't many options for getting away from the beaten track as they have a relatively small network, and mainly in Westen Europe. You have to plan much more carefully, and chances of meeting any locals (excepting bus drivers) are near nil.
However, it will be full of other backpackers - from my admittedly small experience, mainly Americans, with a splattering of Canadians, Ozzie's and Kiwi's and little else - so meeting similar people won't be a problem.
I would always suggest Rail for several reasons (especially flexibility, but also the variety of people you meet, meeting locals and other travellers not just other mainly English speaking backpackers, scenery, options, size of network, comfort/facilities etc), but depending on what your aim for the trip actually is, Busabout can be a good option.
I have met a few people traveling with Busabout. They seemed to like it very much becuase they could sightsee and be alone when they wanted to but also could easily meet up with other travelers.
Another thing about Busabout is that it brings you directly to a hostal. They said that the hostals are usually nice and decently priced there only complaint was that in some cities they were outside the town but being dropped off directly at a hostal usually saves a lot of time (and energy) in looking for one.
Finally they said busabout usually ends up being cheaper when you are traveling for a long period of time or the longer you travel the cheaper it is.
In short I would have to say use the rail networks - mainly because with Busabout you spend a long long day driving between stops and because of the limited number of routes you end up travelling with the same group of people. Rail lets you meet a much wider group of people and you will get the chance to see some beautiful scenery or travel during the night if you prefer.
If you are looking to meet other backpackers you will have plenty of opportunities if you decide to stay at a Hostel or similar. I've used both rail and busabout and I explain my opinions about each a bit more here: http://www.bladjes.com/soup/314
Most of all take care and have fun!