It’s back to school season, which means a lot of people are jetting off to spend their semester abroad. Unless this is your first time visiting the blog, you know I loved my study abroad experience, and I constantly preach about its benefits. However, before heading out I was totally lost. I spent countless hours reading blog posts and articles about how to be prepared, and I still felt like I wasn’t ready.
If you are about to embark on your semester in Europe (or you are already there!), one of the biggest worries you may have is how to get around. I’ve written before about planning out trips, but the first step is figuring out the best ways to travel Europe!
- Trains are not the cheapest option. A lot of people ask me, “Oh, did you just take the train everywhere?” NO! Taking something like the Eurail is a great option only if you are backpacking for a set period of time. If you are spending an entire semester abroad and will be traveling throughout your time, getting a multi-month pass that covers all of Europe can cost you over $1,000, and may not even work for every country.
- RyanAir is not the only budget airline. RyanAir gets a lot of publicity, but there are countless other options! Airlines like EasyJet, Vueling, or Transavia often have great deals and sales, and many fly in and out of major airports (RyanAir is cheap because they only fly into small, regional airports). Do a lot of research to find the best deal! I took a lot of early-morning flights because they were cheaper and allowed us to arrive early and spend an entire day exploring a new city. Flying is almost always cheaper than taking the train, and if the airport is close enough, it saves you a lot of time.
- Overnight buses. They’re not fun and they’re not really comfortable, but they are a super cheap and easy way to see more cities in one weekend! We were able to see multiple cities by taking an overnight bus- it saved us from spending money on a hostel and allowed us to travel without wasting daylight. Yes, they’re tiring and you don’t get a lot of sleep, but it’s fun to wake up in a new city! Speaking of buses…
- Megabus. Megabus is not just for college students coming home for Thanksgiving on a budget. If you want to visit a city that is too close to fly but too far to take a train, Megabus is a solid option. I hopped on the 3 hour bus ride to Brussels for less than $10, and it saved me time, money, and the hassle of trying to get through the airport for such a short flight.
- Boats. Ok, this really only applies to a few countries, but taking a boat can often be an easier way to get around. We took a boat to several small islands in Greece, one of which cost us $1 for two people!
My personal favorite is flying, but it isn’t always the cheapest or most convenient. The biggest piece of advice I consistently give is to do your research. Find the cheapest and easiest way to get where you want to go, pack your bag, and head on out!