Travelling Economically: Cheap Modes of Transport in Europe
In my last post, I shared with you strategies for saving money on flights from North America to Europe. If you're anything like me, once you've arrived at your location, you're still up for saving any money that you can. Any leftover money can always be used for the fun little extras, or can even go back into the travel fund, at the end of the trip.
Traveling through Europe for the first time, honestly, I had no idea what types of transportation I should be taking. I used the most popular and well known ways to travel, but realized after the fact, that by doing this, I unnecessarily spent a whole lot of extra money.
Despite my discovery that I could fly from Scotland to Paris for about $56 CAD, I had absolutely no idea what to do with that knowledge, and chose to fly through an airline that allowed me to book a route right to my final destination. I spent about $450 CAD with this choice, which resulted in two flights and eventually a train that left from - guess where? - Paris. Oops!
I'm sure you've heard it once, twice or maybe even a hundred times, but the saying goes "the locals always know best." Because this is so true, my best recommendation is to travel like the locals. Whether it's the best places to eat, the cheapest places to shop or the most practical ways to get around, the locals know it all. Now living in Europe, I have compiled for you, some of the best ways that I have discovered, to travel like a local.
What better way to see a place, than with the flexibility to go exactly where you want to go, when you want to go?! It allows you to maximize the time you have on your trip, eliminating your wait for transport. There are a few companies that I want to suggest to look into for car rentals. The first one is called Europcar, and if you've been to Europe before, you may have even seen it around. It services 7 different countries, but if it doesn't provide for the one that you are travelling to, go ahead and check out another popular rental company called Rental Cars, which provides rentals to a wide variety of locations all over Europe.
This is the most important mode of transportation that you need to know about.. It covers all sorts of travel methods, and does a search and price comparison between each. GoEuro is also a phone app, which makes searching considerably more easy and portable. Whether you are already in Europe or are thinking of going at some point, definitely give it a download and see how it works.
Basically, trains go everywhere in Europe. EVERYWHERE. Because it is much more popular to take a train in Europe, than it is in North America, trains run more frequently and often offer better pricing.
Here are 2 types of train lines that you should check into when you want to book:
SNCF This is the most popular train line. It seems to go all over Europe, to both big and small towns. It can be a bit pricey, depending on where you are going, but if you are flexible on your departure times, you can often save money traveling at off peak hours.
OUIGO (For France Locations) This is the cheapest train option. It usually only goes to and from big cities. Always check this train line first, to see if it makes a stop at your destination, because those extra few minutes of checking could save you a whole lot of money.
Flexibus I don't know if you have heard of Megabus in North America, but I used to use it all the time, when I traveled back and forth from Canada to the United States, for University. This is the exact same bus line, but the name has changed in Europe. Because it is a bus line, it sometimes takes a bit longer to get to your destination, but for the most part, it is CHEAP. Quite often, the longer in advance you book it, the less expensive it can be. If you are traveling in the UK, you will want to use the Megabus website.
Local Bus Transport Every decent sized city or district should have its own bus and metro (subway) company. They are very handy for getting from place to place within that region. To pay per trip in my city, it's about 1.60 Euros. The transport company for my district is called Transpole, but you can easily search to find out what the name of your local transportation will be. Transpole even has it's own app, which provides details on bus departure times, the quickest routes to take and so much more. Remember to check if your arrival city has an app as well, as it will make things more convenient for you.
Blablacar This is the CHEAPEST option of them all. Blablacar is basically a ride share or carpool program, where you can search for destinations that people are already going to, with their own personal car. It is very, very inexpensive and it can be a great way to travel. It's very safe, as all drivers have all been approved and their personal identification is on record. Also, each driver receives reviews by those who have traveled with them before, and you can view their ratings before you book. All payments are done online and directly though the company. The downside to this, is that although people often travel to your destination, you typically won't know for sure, more than a few weeks in advance. This option is wonderful for anyone who is planning a sporadic trip, or who is comfortable waiting until only a few weeks before their trip, to confirm their transportation.
So, that's it! These are all super easy ways to travel in Europe, and now you are no longer left in the dark, to figure it out on your own. If you found this helpful, be sure to bookmark, share or pin this post, so that you can easily access it, and share it with your friends.