If you read my earlier post on using Google flights to get away, you’ll know that I like to find cheap travel deals and one of the best ways to do this is to have no list. Thanks to this “method” I have already booked my first trip of 2017, Malta. This will be a new country for me, my 15th. My 13th European country. Without having a specific list I still have a goal to see as many countries as possible while I can,especially those in Europe.
Something very particular about living in Europe is that we have the opportunity to visit so many countries which are relatively close. Imagine for example Brazil, which is 6 times the size of Europe, it would be so easy to never actually leave the country. In Europe, when on the continent, everything can be reached by driving. So its easy for us to rack up a long list of countries in a relatively short time frame.
One way of seeing a number of countries in a short space of time is by inter -railing. You can buy a pass which allows you to travel around one country or between a number of different countries. For a global pass prices range from €200 which allows you to travel on 5 days within 15 days, to €479 which allows you to travel everyday within a month. At the moment there is 15% off, so a good time to book!
I have yet to go inter-railing however anyone I know who has done it has loved it. While at the moment this is still quite expensive, though probably cheaper than flying between each country, there are talks of giving every EU citizen an inter-rail pass on their 18th birthday. Imagine the summer after turning 18 being given a pass to travel europe! I think its an incredible idea though do admit I’m jealous that I wont be given one! Travelling and visiting new countries is a wonderful experience, spending a summer before staring college travelling gives the opportunity to build confidence and explore the world before the stress of university kicks in.
If the inter-rail pass is outside your budget and you are older than 18 another idea is a Euro bus pass from flixbus. It’s a German company which has grown substantially over the past few years. When I first came to France for my erasmus buses were not cheap, however since the liberalisation of intercity bus routes this form of travel has become so much more affordable. Whereas before a bus from Aix en Provence to Nice was €60 return it can now be as cheap as about €20.
Flix bus operates in Germany, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Sweden, Denmark and now in Eastern Europe (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia and Croatia). These routes all launched over the past two years and there are plans for more. Its no surprise then that flixbus have come up with their own inter – rail type system and at a more affordable price. For €99 you can discover 5 cities. They have over 900 destinations so there’s a lot of choice and you have 3 months to use the pass. This is pretty good value considering the cheapest inter rail pass is €179. In general yes trains are more comfortable but I have found that flix bus are quiet nice and there’s free wifi so that’s a bonus.
This is definitely a good option if you want to discover Europe but cant stretch your budget as far as an inter rail pass.
If you want to see the extent of their routes check this out, the little green dots are overwhelming! https://www.flixbus.com/bus-routes#/map
Its worth remembering with either of these that if you travel from Ireland you can’t t start your trip there. Besides the fact that we are an island, the inter-rail pass can only be started outside the country you bought your ticket in and Flix bus doesn’t operate in Ireland.
I’m hoping to use one of these this summer so I’ll keep you up to date on my planning. If you have inter railed let me know which route you would recommend 🙂