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By road or by rail?

Travel Forums Europe By road or by rail?

1. Posted by shadey66 (Budding Member 4 posts) 11y

I'm heading round Europe this summer (early June 'til September, cash permitting) and plan to drive myself (and, currently, alone). I've always assumed that because it is a camper van I will save more money on accomodation than I will lose on fuel and maintaining the engine.

However, as the months roll by I'm wondering whether this is untrue.

Because of my itinerary (v. roughly clockwise starting from the low countries, thru Scandinavia, St. Petersburg, Ukraine, former Yugo., Italy and France), which I know from experience is bound to change, I haven't even attempted to budget the trip.

Have you done a similar trip before? Would a couple of month rail-passes work out cheaper when coupled with hostels? Also, even if my way's more expensive, is the extra freedom worth paying for?

Ta for looking and ANY feedback is welcomed.

John

2. Posted by ukmassage (Inactive 1052 posts) 11y

if draving alone you will get tired - using public transport might be more convenient for you

3. Posted by shadey66 (Budding Member 4 posts) 11y

Thanks, I'm not worried about the driving tho as I won't be covering any big distances, I reckon my van will give me about 250 miles in a day before she dies. Plus, with three months to do the loop, I shouldn't have to rush.

4. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 11y

Again, i'd recomend public transport, and as it's about a 4mth taking it easy trip, and including chunks of EE, i would probably say that buying as you go is the way. There are a few places that might be worth a rail pass (a scandipass for example, due to the flexibility you have and distances involved), but for your sort of itinerary i'd say that a standard Interrail pass may not be worth it.

One comment about vehicles - check the Russian and Ukraine regulations in particular VERY carefully. It may be that the paperwork/effort/cost of those alone would double your costs or worse, especially if they insist on a carnet. Bear in mind the standard visa regulations mean you have to have an invitation for accomodation anyway, and whilst you can avoid using this accom, if you turn up at the border in a coamper van, questions will likely be asked. Also, your insurance may not cover them, which will force you to buy at the borders, and road crossings into Russia can take a long time, especially if you aren't.

5. Posted by ukmassage (Inactive 1052 posts) 11y

Quoting shadey66

Thanks, I'm not worried about the driving tho as I won't be covering any big distances, I reckon my van will give me about 250 miles in a day before she dies. Plus, with three months to do the loop, I shouldn't have to rush.

think what might happen if you van breaks down and you won't be able to fix it for several days ...

6. Posted by shadey66 (Budding Member 4 posts) 11y

Ha, yes, I've given that quite a bit of thought but I'm an okay amateur mechanic and I've always got by when it has happened in this country. My overriding concern is the way the discounted rail tickets work; Are InterRail/EuroDomino tickets the way forward or would it be best to purchase single journey tickets in certain (cheaper) countries with the occasional national pass in others?? Has anybody who has used these found that they didn't get their money's worth at all, or, in certain regions?

I've found it very hard to find local train ticket prices for the nations I mentioned above. Any suggestions as to where these can be viewed?

Thanks again.

John

7. Posted by goescorted (Budding Member 5 posts) 11y

Hello John,

Have you tried www.eurail.com ? I think they also have links to all the national railway companies?
www.nsb.no ( norwegian railroad)
www.sj.se ( swedish railroad)
They are both available in english I think. At least it is some information.

Erik
GoEscorted.com