Sunday, August 21, 2011

Budget Europe: Getting Around European Countries

If you're planning to backpack around several European countries, the cheap options you have for travel are:

1. Eurail (train pass for international travelers)
2. Cheap flights (easyjet or ryanair)
3. Bus

Taking the bus is usually the last thing in mind for most backpackers, but it was the simplest option for me.

Why didn't I take the train?

photo by Alvin Corpuz

Unless you get the global pass, their options are quite limiting: 3-5 countries at a time. I needed the flexibility to be able to cross from one country to another, just in case I changed my mind and wanted to travel to more countries.

You need to book at least a month in advance. Since I didn't have that much time, it was definitely out.

Why didn't I fly?

Unless you book away advance (several months ahead) or get their promotional fares, the only flights left can be very expensive.

They can be strict when it comes to baggages, and if you do not follow their rules, you may wind up paying more for it. They only allow a certain amount of weight in your baggage allowance and one piece of baggage. Even a tiny purse will not make it through because to them, that's another piece of item. And you have to pay for it.

Why take the bus?

Eurolines has a Pass which allows you unlimited travel to 43 cities for 15 or 30 days. 

The catch?
You can only use it for INTERNATIONAL trips. So even if they have several destinations in one country, you can only use it for trips to different countries (e.g. You can not travel between Rome to Milan). As of this writing, the only exception is Barcelona-Madrid

You cannot use it for the same destination or route twice. e.g. if you have taken the Amsterdam-Frankfurt, you cannot travel the same route again or do it the other way around (Frankfurt-Amsterdam).


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