Ads on your Mobile... Aren't You Thrilled

01 February 2011

Getting Around

While frequently thought to be used mainly by students backpacking, drifters, and new immigrants, busses are quite frequently the best option available to travel within a certain range of travel.

Range Issues

There are two ways to look at this based on your temperament as a passenger. One question to ask is whether or not one could tolerate sleeping on a bus, as this opens up savings on travel to places the intrepid sojourner would either take a train or flight to, or not consider the destination a high priority.

The other issue is to ask oneself how long a ride one can tolerate.

That Social Thing

Chances are that you will not meet the boy or girl of your dreams on a bus. You will not meet a sports or entertainment talent scout. You will, however be left alone if you don't engage with others too much.

Another matter to consider is whether or not you can tolerate the 'modesty' of the locations of most of the bus terminals that serve major cities, since they are not normally centrally located. For example, the bus terminal serving Paris is just outside the Periferique, connects to a station near the end of a Metro line, and is situated in the parking lot of a shopping center.

The Eurolines terminal in Berlin is rather close to the center of the city, and is served by transit, but is by a highway and near the city's conference center (Messe), an impersonal place to be when an event isn't taking place.

As everywhere else on earth, these things are BYOB, and BYO Eats.


Unless tickets are purchased well in advance, or time is spent waiting for discounts, taking a bus is almost always cheaper than trains and airliners. Discount cards promoted by national train operators and airlines appear to make flights and train fares cheaper, but those too have a cost, and often exclude travel during the most desirable times of year to travel. The pitfall I have found is that unless one travels almost continuously, discount cards such as those vended by Deutsche Bahn don't derive much in the way of savings. In fact the array of cards one ends up with turn into 'just another thing to keep after'.

Comparisons, Par example...:

The date of Friday, 1 October was used to illustrate the cost based on off season travel, but without deep “day of week” discounts.

Berlin to Krakow

Best deal overall: €41- on the Eurolines bus, 10 1/2 hours for both the afternoon departure or the overnight trip.

Best discounted flight or premium rail: on Deutsche Bahn's 2nd class, the fare is €55,20, but €29- with a €57- discount BahnCard Ride durations run from 9 to 13 hours

Paris to Amsterdam

Best discounted flight: returns a flight for €118,- before taxes that bounces you through London. Hell. It's only 11 hours of your life, not to mention the €20+ it costs to take transit to CDG and from Schipol.

Best price on standard rail: France's state railway operator, SNCF, shows one discounted fare of €71 for that day on the Thalys high-speed über-choo-choo, but the basic reserved 2nd class fares are in the €82.- range, and takes 5 1/2 hours to get you there in quasi-bling style.

Best deal overall: the bus or "coach" if you insist on imposing yourself, is €45.- and runs 7 hours, with 5 departures per day, including a 11 PM departure that gets you to A'dam at a little after 6 AM. Travelling on the day before runs €35.-

Munich to Vienna

Best discounted flight or premium rail: €83.50 on ÖBB, the only rail operator I know of that uses an umlaut, which I simply find special. Again here, we find deep discounts with an annual card for €99,90 (unless you're old, disabled or special in some other way) which you may never used again before it expires, with rates as low as €31.- offered.

Best deal overall: Da bus. It's €44, but only 31 euro-smackeroos each way on around trip.

Best of luck with it all.

No comments: