What is nice about Europe is that it is pretty easy to get from one country to another without blowing your bank account. I’ve road planes, trains, busses, boats and taxis to get around while traveling in Europe, and always do some serious research to find the cheapest forms of transportation when doing so. For anyone looking to save some money, here are my top five cheapest modes of transportation that I prefer to use.
Please note: the following is my personal and honest opinion and is based on my personal experience(s). None of the companies below asked me to write about them and I am not attempting to endorse them in any way. If you have any other preferences or good/bad experiences, feel free to let me know in the comments below! 🙂
1.) Ryan Air
If you have not heard of Ryan Air, you are so very welcome. This is always my number one go to when it comes to traveling around in Europe. It is the cheapest airfare you will find and is perfect for hopping from country to country.
The cheapest flights I have ever found was round trip from the East Midlands in England to Stockholm, Sweden for £20 round trip! The most expensive flight I have ever booked was from London, England to Dublin, Ireland for £60.
Now, keep in mind that the airplanes that the company owns are very small and can be a bit shaky. So, if you are not a fan of flying, I would not recommend it. But if you are a fan of saving money and looking to backpack Europe sometime soon, then this would be the company to use!
Besides how cheap Megabus is, what I love the most is that you can find them in almost every European country, and they offer many overnights rides. (They are also becoming more and more prominent in the USA.) Thus, you can save money by not having to overnight in a hostel/hotel. The further in advanced you book does not necessarily determine the price you are offered. However, the majority of the time it may be cheaper to book in advance.
What I do not like about Megabus is there never seems to be any signs pointing you in the direction of the bus pick-up/drop off points. Their loading stations always give me anxiety because it never feels like you are in the right place. For example, in Florence, Italy we were dropped off under a bridge with no signs letting us know where we were or that we were even at a Megabus stop. In Leicester, England, the pick-up point was in front of a random grocery store, with not even a hint as to if you were in the right place or not. And don’t even get me started on where the bus collects you in Venice, Italy…
All that aside, it’s cheap and will get you where you want to go. Pro tip: Bring a jacket onboard with you! I’ve spent some very cold sleepless nights on overnight busses that lack heat.
3.) Trains & Busses via Wanderu
First off, I’m sure you have heard all about the EuroRail systems, and if not, then you should defiantly do some research to find what the best plan would be for you when it comes to buying a euro-pass.
However, buying a Euro-pass is something I have never done because I wasn’t traveling during the right times/days, or it just worked out cheaper for me in the long run to book individual trains and busses. So I would suggest doing some math on what would work better for you.
To find the best individual train/bus deals, I use Wanderu.
What is nice about this site, is that you can plug in your point A and point B, and the dates you need to travel, and it will compare several train/bus companies for you, and offer a variety of times. It does the search for you and gives you the cheapest options. I’ve booked many trains via Wanderu and even use it in other countries other than just the Europeans ones. Just note, the earlier you book/search, the more likely you are to get a cheaper deal. If you are booking late, be sure to compare this sites price, with the prices that the actual train stations offer.
4.) The Underground
The reason I feel as though I need to mention the undergrounds (i.e. the subway systems) is because so many people just hop in a taxi, not realizing how far the underground trains can/will actually take you. Skip the taxi and try and learn the subway systems. Trust me, as a country girl, I am the worst when it comes to figuring out how the lines and rails and stops all work. Just take ten minutes to learn or ask for help and save yourself €30, and the extra traffic time, via taxi cab.
The downside about the rails is that you really only find them in bigger, sometimes more modern, cities. However, if you are hitting Paris, London, Milan, Rome, ect… all the big ones that are high on most bucket lists… then you should have no problem saving money this way.
Also, don’t be afraid to attempt the other public transportations, such as the city busses.
5.) Skyscanner OR Student Universe
The most expensive transportation you will book, will most likely be your flights to and from your country. I always use Skyscanner to find great prices on these flights. It’s another site that compares many different flight options and spits out the cheapest ones available. I always use this site first. BUT, keep in mind that you should also still look around because no site is perfect.
Another great option for international flights is Student Universe. Of course, you need to be a student or between the ages of 20-27 in order to make a free online account and get discounted flights. Once again, don’t only use this site. Look around!
I hope that this helps you find cheap transportation for your Euro-trip. It defiantly did for mine. Once again, let me know your favorite or your crazy stories about any of the ones I mentioned. Or if you have other preferences, feel free to share!