5 Budget Friendly Ways To Get Around Europe

Planning a trip to Europe? You’ve got options beyond the traditional rail-pass.

Here are some practical, budget-minded tips about where to book planes, trains, boats, buses and automobiles when visiting the Old Continent.

Take to the Skies

You’ve probably heard of them by now; budget friendly flights are all the rage in Europe and offer some of the best deals when it comes to country-hopping.

If you book ahead or hit a sale, some flights can be down-right cheap. Even when paying full-price, most tickets on budget airlines are comparable to a slower seat on a long-distance train.

Taking a plane saves time, as Easyjet will get you from London to Lisbon in two and a half hours for about €100.00.

Vueling Airlines is a hip and innovative newcomer that flies mostly to Mediterranean destinations and to Paris. There are no boring in-flight magazines on Vueling – all passengers get a copy of Rolling Stone.

Ryan Air takes the cake for rock-bottom ticket prices, but their out-of-the-way terminals make flying with them a bit of a hassle.

Got Time? Take A Bus!

While seen as somewhat less prestigious than air or train travel, there are buses motoring to and from all European points of interest.

Slow? Yep. Budget friendly? Very. Comfortable? Well, more or less.

Most buses, like industry leader Eurolines, have large cushy seats and make frequent pit-stops. If it’s a long trip the bus will pull over for lunch and dinner.

One drawback to bus travel is that it’s a very slow ride. At one point on a bus trip I took to Toulouse, I recall looking out the window and watching a bicyclist pass us and ride off, disappearing over the horizon.

When on the bus, take it easy and make sure to pack a couple good books.

Rent Your Own Set of Wheels

In some cases it’s necessary to have an International Driver’s License to rent a car in Europe. You can get an IDL easily enough in your home country before departing.

To rent a car, you must be at least 25 years old and have a credit card. If you can tick all the boxes, then you’re ready to explore the back roads of the European countryside.

For the confident traveler, renting a car can be one of the best ways to see parts of Europe that you’d never get a chance to experience otherwise. Some regional companies such as Pepe Cars (Spain and Italy) only allow travel within the pick-up country, but in turn offer great deals.

Other larger international names such as Avis or Europcar, give you the freedom to pick up in one country and drop off in another for a slightly higher price.

Take To The Sea

If traveling around the Mediterranean is in your travel itinerary, going by boat is an option.

From Barcelona to the infamous islands of Ibiza and Mallorca, board Barcos Balearia for a nine and a half hour boat ride to the Spanish Islands. It’s not quick, but it offers a different sort if scenery and is fairly inexpensive. For jumping the Med. from Spain to Italy, try Girmaldi Ferries .

From Italy to Greece and around, try Minoan Lines.

EuroRail: The Old Standby

Of course, there’s always the train. While there are many options for travel around Europe these days, the train remains a favorite among many travelers and locals.

There’s something luxurious about having a glass of red in the dinner car and watching the world go by at 120 miles per hour. Plus, many parts of Europe have a fast train service that makes any trip quick and easy.

In the end, why not try a bit of everything if your schedule and wallet allow?

Start in London and grab the Eurostar to Paris, then hop on a Vueling flight from Paris to Barcelona. Board a Minoan Line vessel and set sail to Greece and Italy. All this can be done with a bit of planning and a sense of adventure.

With so many options, travel in Europe is easier than ever before.

Regina WB was born with a severe case of wanderlust. She studied English and photography in her native Portland, Oregon and later began her career in Guatemala; which she continues today in Barcelona, Spain as a freelancer for several publications. Visit her website Regwb.com

Do you have any of your own transportation tips? Share in the comments!

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  • Pingback: Planes, Trains, Automobiles, Buses And Boats: Getting Around Europe On A Backpacker’s Budget - Backpackers.com

  • http://noambit.blogspot.com Christopher Michael

    Great suggestions! Germanwings.com is another lower budget airling over seas that I’ve always found to be a tad nicer than the others in terms of service.

  • http://the-dream-trip.blogspot.com Stormy


    I have just noticed that you have a link on stopping Jet Lag. I must say I don’t really rely on it, and even less as the person who advertises it makes you pay for the book. From my point of view, the best page you can go to to minimize jet lag is http://www.bodyclock.com. You put the time difference, the time your normally wake up, and it gives you a routine that you can follow during 2 days based on looking for bright light or avoiding light.

    At same time, you will find a good article in Helium, where some general tips are given and also it is explained the method that they use in bodyclock. You can find it here: http://www.helium.com/tm/697375/copying-topic-still-around

    I hope I have been helpful and you all enjoy reading those good information!

    Best Wishes

  • Morten


    Thanks for the tips.
    If you plan on flying, another way to find cheap tickets is with a search engine. Mobissimo, kayak and Momondo is some of the best on the web. If you are planning to travel in Europe I would use Momondo.com, because they have the widest search on low-budget airlines in Europe.

    Hope this will help..

    Best regards

  • http://www.paradisetrips.net john lozada

    I always thought Europe is the most expensive place to go to. Yet, there are actually ways to enjoy the continent without compromising budget.

  • Jose

    Vueling is a good choice to go to a Spanish destination; however, the price will be low only if you are one of the first persons to book the flight. Inside Spain the train is much cheaper than the European average, so this might be good to know. When I go back to Barcelona, I always prefer Ryanair or EasyJet. If you take Ryanair, please mind that the airport is 1h away from Barcelona and that the bus to/from the city costs 21 € roundtrip. There are interesting infos about Barcelona in bcnbook.com

  • Giancarlo Zardo

    You forgot to mention the lost art of hitch-hiking! And it's not only a free way of travel, but a way to meet new people and live more adventures too!

    • Virusvaleria

      Giancarlo, hitch hicking isn’t the best thing to do while travelling

      • Desmond

         It sure is. Nothing can beat hitchhiking and the accompanying travel experience. Approach it with caution and you’ll be glad you did. I have been a hitch-hiker for the past 15 years and never had the slightest of a bad experience. From bullock-carts to fork-lifts, I have hitch-hiked from Asia to America…an experience only few get to live. Some people were so nice, they even offered me food. Ah…and one lady actually hosted me at her beach apt. 10 feet away from the ocean. Just know what you are doing, trust your instincts and you ll be safe. For women, things get complicated…though I have met women who hitch-hike all alone…but I found them to be very experienced and of a different breed. They knew what they were doing and had exceptional instincts as a traveler.  

  • dulnaka kasun

    wish u good luck buddy

  • Jason Campbell

    rideshare.co.uk is another great tool to use for getting around Europe on a budget.  It’s a rideshare website for all of Europe, most times cheaper than buses.

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