When choosing what mode of transport you are going to take of course cost is your first concern. There are also other factors to take into consideration when you’re getting from A to B.
Walking and public transport are the best ways to save money when travelling. Taxi fares add up fast especially when going to and from airports. Always search your airport of arrival and they should give options for transport into the city center.
Smart phones are a great tool to have while travelling. If you are going to walk from a train station to find your hostel, make sure you use WIFI before you leave to map the route. That way you can use your location services to follow the trail to your hostel even when you are offline. Even when you are catching a bus you can use your locations while en route to see when you have to get off. Just keep your eye on that moving blue dot and you will see when you are getting close to your destination. Using the locations tool will not charge you as long as you keep your data roaming turned off.
Even better, check out the free APP ‘Maps.Me’ that allows you to use offline mapping and even plan routes and get directions without wifi!
BlaBlaCar is a ride sharing service used widely across Europe. Find your local BlaBlaCar website because each country you ride in will have its own. Create an account and search for users who are driving to your destination. Competitive pricing makes this a great option and you can even seen reviews of the driver to make sure that the person you’re riding with is safe and reliable.
This is almost always the most cost effective way when traveling distances longer than 7 hours. Although you may be squirming in your seat with your head vibrating against the window all night it will save you paying for a nights accommodation. An eye mask and earplugs can go a long way but if that doesn’t help, just sleep it off on the beach when you arrive at your destination. Remember that the air conditioning on overnight transport can get chilly so bring warm clothes and an extra jumper to roll up for a pillow if you don’t have one. Always be prepared with a food and drink stash because you never know when you will have opportunities to make pit stops.
In some cases if you’re trying to cover a lot of ground at once or if you find a crazy cheap fare, flying may be the best option. Budget airlines like Ryanair and Easy Jet can provide really low fares if your dates of travel are flexible. Search for the best price within a whole month and you may find one flight that is unbelievably cheaper than the rest. The Sky Scanner website can also be a great tool for finding cheap airfares. However, if you can plan your trip so that you don’t have to jump from place to place with flights it usually means that you will have more opportunities to get to know the country you are visiting. With other modes of transport you get a view out the window of the cities that you pass by and you also have the freedom to jump on and off as you go. You never know where you may end up! Flying often means that you can miss out on some of the fun along the way. The Gap Map’s itineraries are designed to help you travel with budget transport and only flying when necessary.
Many Gap Mappers who are traveling around Europe consider the Eurail Pass. A pass which is prepaid and allows you to board trains to help you travel between almost all of the conutries in Europe. Whether the cost of this is good value or not really depends on a number of factors. Click here for the Eurail details.
This is usually the quickest way to get around especially in places like Europe that have so many train lines servicing pretty much every country. With regular time tables it is usually quite easy to turn up on the day and decide where you want to go. However, sometimes long distance trains can be expensive. In some cases you are offered a discount if you book in advanced online. Always make sure you read the fine print about whether you need to show a hard copy of your ticket or if you can show it on your smart phone. A country can have more than one train company so make sure you check which one is the cheapest. Often times there can be more than one train going to your destination at different speeds. Don’t be tricked into buying a fast train ticket for double the price if you would be happy to take the slow train and save big bucks. When at the station always take note of your train number. It’s just like your flight number at an airport. It will help you be sure that you’re getting on the right train at the right time.
Bussabout is a tour company that allows you to travel around certain areas of Europe by bus with an all inclusive ticket which allows you to hop on and off a certain amount of times within a fixed period depending on how much money you spend. The plus side is that you can make a lot of friends with other travellers on your bus and it is not the same as an organised tour because you have the freedom to choose where and when you want to hop on and off the bus. The down side is that the Bussabout routes only cover certain destinations and there are only a limited amount of departures each day. It also may not be great value for money when compared to the bus companies below.
There are companies such as Eurolines and Ouibus (formally known as ID bus) that can offer cheap bus fares. This can be especially convenient with over night travel when you are covering large distances. If trains are looking expensive it’s always a good idea to check the options for bus routes.