Best transportation method to travel around Europe on a budget (White Paper)
Travelling can be expensive but if you’re limited to a budget travelling around Europe may seem impossible. I began to doubt myself whether if I could achieve my dreams of travelling to Europe. I knew I didn’t want to travel to Europe unless I could visit all of the cities that I wanted too. However, there were so many questions that were running through my mind. Will I have enough money to last throughout my trip? How am I going to travel to multiple cities within Europe? Will I have enough time to visit all of the cities that I want too? With all of these questions roaming through my mind, I knew I needed to research what were the cheapest options of travelling across Europe. It started with identifying the various transportations methods, which included trains, planes, and busses.
One of the most popular methods of travelling around Europe is utilizing the high-speed trains. Europe is connected “ with more than 225,000 miles of track[s] in today’s European railway networkcovered [sic] by Eurail’s stakeholders. European rail travel offers a safe, fast and reliable alternative to airplanes and cars” (PR Newswire, 2011). If you’re planning on travelling to numerous destinations in different countries within Europe, you might want to consider the numerous passes Eurail offers. A few of the passes offered are the “… Eurail Select and Global, BritRail, France Rail Pass and Swiss Travel passes” (raileurope.ca, 2016). Rail passes can range in price dependent upon your travel needs. From personal experience, these passes are worth the investment if you are travelling during the high season. As I was evaluating the transportation methods of travelling from London to Paris, a single train ticket was priced at £300 in July. If you’re planning on booking all of the tickets before you leave home, I would add up the costs to see if a single train ticket is cheaper than purchasing a pass.
As trains are a popular transportation method of travelling around Europe, airplane tickets
can be cheaper than a train ticket especially if you’re travelling a long distance. There are numerous budget airlines such as Vueling, Ryanair, Wizz Air, and EasyJet. These airlines offer great deals if you purchase a ticket in advance. Airfares are dependent upon the budget airlines and month in which you’re travelling but “ budget airlines typically offer flights for about $50 to $250″ (Rick Steves Special to the S, 2014). However, low-priced airfares may seem appealing at first but if your luggage is overweight or your luggage isn’t within the airlines carry-on size, these additional fees will add up and flying may not be the best option for you.
There are numerous hidden fees by booking with a budget airline such as Ryanair. However, “ with most budget airlines, bag fees paid at the airport are also significantly higher compared with paying in advance” (Tips To Avoid Sneaky Budget Carrier Charges In Europe, 2013). If you arrive at the airport and your luggage does not meet the carry-on restrictions, it will cost between “£25 – £50” to check your luggage at the airport (ryanair.com, 2016). If you are unsure if your bag will meet these requirements or if you have additional luggage, purchase the checked baggage option online, as it’s significantly cheaper. By purchasing the checked baggage option in advance the cost varies from “£10 – £40” (ryanair.com, 2016).
As flying can be the quickest and cheapest transportation alternative to taking the train, another option you may want to consider is taking the bus. There are numerous bus companies that I encountered during my trips such as, Oui Bus, MegaBus, FlixBus and Polski Bus. In my experience I found these busses to be more comfortable than taking a plane or a train. It was also the cheapest transportation method compared to taking a plane or a train. For example, I took a bus from London to Paris with the company Oui Bus. The bus ticket was priced at £24. Now if I compared my cancelled flight from London to Paris, which was priced at £83.99 booked four days before travel or a train ticket priced at £300, the prices are significantly different. The cheapest option would be to travel by bus; however, the travel time is significantly longer as well. The duration of the bus ride from London to Paris took approximately nine hours.
Even though taking the bus would increase your time spent travelling to each destination, it is significantly a cheaper alternative. I would also state that it was the most comfortable alternative as they were less crowded and there was significantly more legroom. Most busses even offered free Wi-Fi and USB charging outlets. These onboard services made the long duration of the bus ride more enjoyable.
To compare prices between trains and busses, I used the app “Go Euro”. I found the prices to be cheaper than using the app “Rome2Rio”. I would also suggest using other search engines such as SkyScanner, Google Flights, Expedia, Kayak to compare prices of airfares between the budget airlines. Don’t forget to go on the airline’s website as well.
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