Traveling Europe on a budget isn’t always easy, but overland travel makes it a lot easier on the wallet. Flying may be easier, and trains may be more romantic, but there’s something to be said for buses. In fact, there are seven reasons you should consider bus travel for getting around Europe.
It’s more comfortable
Yes, flying is quick and with all the budget airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet in Europe, it doesn’t even have to break the bank. But who wants to cram into a plane seat for even one or two hours? The average seat on a long distance bus is sure to be larger, and even better, you have no risk of securing that dreaded middle seat. It’s also not that uncommon for buses in Europe to depart without being fully booked. Read: You have a better chance at getting a full row to yourself on a bus than you do on a plane.
It’s more convenient
There are several other perks bus travel has over flights. With no security line, you have less waiting to do and you don’t have to worry about any liquid requirements. Just pack your bag and go. Getting your bag back after you’ve reached your destination takes minutes, not an hour. Gadget geeks will also be happier on a bus, as most have free WiFi and power points at every seat.
You can be spontaneous
With bus travel, there’s rarely a need to book your seat far in advance. You can simply roll up to the terminal and hop on the next departure. This is particularly true of Eastern Europe where online booking engines aren’t as robust. Try doing that on a flight! Even if there are seats available, you’ll probably end up paying through the nose.
It’s more scenic
Like trains, buses reward their passengers with beautiful views. Traveling overland doesn’t just save money. It shows you more of the country you’re visiting. You might pass through villages you’ve never heard of in France, swoon over snow-capped mountains in northern Italy, or discover locally-favored beaches in Croatia.
You’ll arrive closer to the city
Airports are typically located a ways from the city center. You’ll inevitably have to seek out a taxi, shuttle bus, or public transport option to get to your hotel. That’s more time and more money. Bus terminals are often much closer to the city center. In Europe, you’re unlikely to be dropped farther than five kilometers from your accommodations. You may still have to get yourself a taxi or local bus from the main station, but the ride will be shorter and less expensive.
It’s less expensive
So far, most of the perks we’ve mentioned also apply to train travel. But one area trains can never come out on top is cost. Companies like Flixbus and Eurolines cover almost the whole continent with fares as low as 10 euro. Booking overnight buses can help you save further by rolling together your transportation and accommodation prices in one.
People are nicer
Imagine settling in for your flight and having the person sitting in front of you turn around and ask whether it was okay for them to recline their seat. What a fantasy, right? Lucky you, this isn’t as uncommon on buses as it is on planes. People traveling overland tend to be more considerate of their fellow passengers. Of course, there are many kind flyers and you could wind up with a nightmarish seat mate on the bus, but overall, you’ll probably get along better with folks on the bus.