Finally ready to take that long awaited European trip you've been planning for years? Well, once you finally make your way across whatever ocean or continent you have to cross to get to Europe, it gets much easier and more affordable. One of the best things about visiting this continent is that you can experience so many different cultures in such a small space and there are many options for affordably traveling around Europe whether it's by car, bus, train, or plane.
Flying around Europe can be crazy cheap with prices you won't see anywhere else, especially not in North America. Budget airlines are something all travelers should take advantage of. Some of the most common and popular low cost airlines are Ryanair, Wizz Air, Vueling, and easyJet, though there are plenty more. One of the best ways to get deals is to visit these company's direct websites to find offers for various destinations. Keeping an open itinerary is ideal for this. You can also visit kayak.com/explore to find the best deals from a particular departure city. This can be a great way to plan out your trip. One very important tip when flying with budget airlines is to prepare in advance, because their policies can be stricter and fees abound. It is quite common to have to print your own boarding pass in advance, or you'll be charged heavily upon arrival at the airport. One carry-on bag is usually included, but checking a bag could cost you more. Be sure to review each airline's policies in advance so you're aware of the requirements.
Another great option for not only cost-effective travel around Europe, but eco-friendly as well is car sharing. Bla Bla Car is a popular car sharing service in Europe that's used in 13 countries including France, Italy, Spain, Poland, and Portugal. Just search the website for a driver taking your route, book your seat, and pay an agreed upon price. Both the driver and passenger are left reviews for added security. This is an incredibly efficient and convenient way to get around when traveling.
By far one of the best things about traveling around Europe is being able to utilize one the best developed railway infrastructures in the world. Connecting big metropolis cities and small villages, crossing mountain ranges and riding along coastlines makes traveling by train in Europe an experience in itself. Though it's generally quite affordable, there are ways to get the maximum value for your dollar or euro. GoEuro is a newer option to find not only cheap train tickets, but also buses and flights to compare the best mode of transportation, and is currently operating in seven countries. Ouigo is a newer option for rail travel in France and offers a budget-airline-like service for several French destinations. Otherwise you'll generally have to visit each country's separate site for prices, as there is no unified rail network, but rather different national railway systems. Also, being flexible with morning and late night trains will save you money. This is also true for high speed trains which are more expensive than standard trains, but prices drop during off-peak hours.
Traveling by bus can be one of the most affordable options in Europe, though perhaps not as comfortable or easily done as train travel. Still, it's a good option to consider and there are plenty of budget bus companies to choose from. Some of the most popular companies include Megabus, Eurolines, and the newer iDBUS, all offering competitive prices for an array of destinations.
Once you've arrived at your destination, transportation expenses can still add up as you navigate around the city. Local transportation, including light-rail, metro, and buses, is the best way to explore the city and offer a taste of what its like to be a local. Look into multi-day city passes for the best savings if you know you'll be using public transportation often. Most of the heavily visited cities around Europe will offer some sort of unlimited transportation pass good for anywhere from 1 to 7 days. Shuttle buses are also a good option when traveling to and from the airport versus opting for a taxi.
Whats your tip to save money on transportation when traveling?
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Auston grew up in Phoenix before escaping to Chicago in 2008. After 4 years working as an engineer, he sold his belongings and embarked on a round-the-world trip. After traveling non-stop for a year, he finally settled in Spain with his husband where he now calls home. When he's not traveling or writing guides about events, festivals or the best LGBT destinations, he enjoys the long sunny days and nightlife of Madrid. Read Auston's blog at Two Bad Tourists, or follow him on Google Plus, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram.
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