3.10.2014

how to save money on european transportation

I've been to Europe twice now, each time trying to fit in as many countries as humanly possible. The only downside of hopping between countries is the cost of transportation can really add up. But, i'm going to share with you a few different things to consider to keep your transportation costs low.



1. Don't just stick to train travel.

Europe has plenty of budget airlines and/ or bus services that end up costing less than the train would. I once found a flight from Rome to Barcelona for $.01. I'm not kidding. The penny flight turned out to cost more around $50 with taxes and baggage fees, but even at $50, I wasn't complaining. One of the best sites i've found for comparing train, flights, and bus travel in Europe is GoEuro. Unfortunately, it is only optimized in three countries so far, but judging by the name, they definitely seem to have much bigger ambitions.  I only wish I had known about GoEuro sooner!

2. Don't take taxis.

This is generally my rule of thumb whenever I travel (unless i'm terribly late for a flight). Taxis are so expensive and limiting. By taking local transportation like buses or subways, you save a lot more money and get to experience the city like a local.

3. Try alternative rental car services.

Seattle has had an influx of little white and blue smart cars called Car2Go.  Brian and I recently became members when we were visiting Austin because we thought it would be a great way to see the city without having to pay rental car prices. The amazing thing about Car2Go is it is expanding in Europe. Right now they are in Munich, Vienna, and Berlin. Basically with Car2Go you pay a one time $35 initiation fee and then pay $.41 cents a minute. That's it. You can  pick up cars closest to you  or reserve them on your phone,  then you drive to your destination,  and just leave your car. You don't even have to pay for parking or gas. It is pretty much amazing.

4. Sleeper trains are the best.

One of my favorite things about Europe are the sleeper trains. Not only do you save a night in a hotel room, you also get to wake up in a new place. We took an overnight train from Switzerland to Paris and it was lovely to be able to walk around, eat in the meal cart, and watch the scenery fly by.

5. Consider open jaw flights.

An open jaw flight allows you to select a stop over for as few or as many days as you would like. I particularly love open jaw flights because the price doesn't drastically increase, but you are able to squeeze in another location. I use this little travel hack almost every time I travel. Just look for an option on your booking site that lets you select "multiple cities."

What tricks do you have for saving money in Europe?

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