So, you've made it to Europe - now what? If you're trying to hop around to different cities, or even countries, you might be wondering how's the best way to do that.
Throughout my travels i've pretty much done it all: flights, trains, buses, renting cars, renting scooters, biking, hitchhiking, walking...
and my personal favorite: ride sharing!
It depends what you are looking for during your journey.
Begin by asking yourself what's most important to you:
Cost, Convenience, Safety, Time, Adventure, Stress Free, Relaxing?
Each of us have our own ideal way to travel.
Of course i'm a walking enthusiast, personally, there's nothing more satisfying than seeing a new city by foot.... but when you're lugging around all your belongings and are traveling long distances, it's just not the answer.
flights are good when you are trying to get from point A to point B and FAST. But remember they are costly (usually), might charge extra for luggage, and you have to also get transportation to the airports (which are usually about 30 minutes from the major cities) which is extra money and time spent. Also they are usually not refundable and require concrete planning ahead of time.
trains are scenic, fast, and convenient in the sense the train stations are usually located in the city center and are easily accessed! They offer beautiful views of the country side and I find them very enjoyable. You can book them prior or the day of without issue. Unfortunately, they are the most expensive. Train rides cost upwards of $50, and I have spent over $100 on trains in just one day.
buses are similar to trains in the sense their pick up and stops are conveniently located. But they are not very time efficient. Charter busses are great and cheap, but not the safest for luggage, which is usually stored under the bus - especially when the bus is making multiple stops and people are getting on and off.
Car rental might be the best option if you are traveling with a group! That way you can split the cost. It may seem very cheap at first but once they add the required insurance for each country you are in, it does add up. Remember you will be driving in unfamiliar land with rules you might not be aware of. This could be dangerous, or could land you with bills and fines to pay on top of the car rental. Also you risk having to pay repairs if the car gets scratched, damaged, or crashed in any way.
Renting scooters and biking is fun, but lets be honest: not for long distances. Save this plan for the local adventures if you're not one for walking.
and Hitch Hiking, old school thumb out and cardboard sign is fun. and very cheap.
Convenient? hmmm.... Conveniently cheap, yes.
Fast? not necessarily.... the chances of you getting picked up and taken straight to your end destination on the first round is very slim. You'll most likely have to get dropped off, and picked up at different points throughout longer journeys.
Easy? depends who you are, where you're going, what you look like, and where you are starting from!
i'll give it one thing: it's definitely adventurous.
and, then, we have: ride sharing!!!
stress free: yes
Ok, so I was told about this app "BlaBlaCar" and I have been using it since!
It's an easy to use app for smart phones that lets you search for rides and shows you all upcoming rides scheduled (rides as soon as tomorrow to weeks in advance!). Surprisingly, every time i've gone to look for a ride there has been multiple rides offered every day.
You can then click on the drivers profile and see their photo, read their bio, read their reviews, see how many rides they've given, see their rating, AND how long they've been a member of the community!
So you've found someone you trust?
Sweet. It's easy to book - all you do is send a request on the app and the driver has 24 hours to approve the request. Then you can message each other on the app or via text or call and arrange everything!
But, here's why it really won me over!
Usually the people are quite flexible with where they are doing the pick up. Meeting at major city points that are easy to find like shopping centers, grocery stores, or train stations. I've had drivers that have actually picked me up where I was staying in the city so I literally didn't have to go anywhere - just wait for them to arrive!
and even better, every ride has dropped me off at my end location!
How easy and convenient is that?
The reviews give great safety comfort. And, the fact that this is all done through an app makes it reliable and stress free.
Another benefit is that you can cancel your ride up to 24 hours before the departure and get a FULL refund! AMAZING! If you do it less and 24 hours, you still get half of your money back. Which is a nice fall back for people who tend to have loose plans (like me..... always..... )
No extra luggage / weight fees, no airport lines, no booking far in advance!
It's a fun way to meet people who will be doing the drive anyways and most of the time just want to drive people so they aren't bored.
It's been good conversation, easy going, and stress free.
You also don't have to worry about paying all the highway and freeway tolls which is every fucking route in Europe..... (if you know me, you know I absolutely HATE toll roads and will REFUSE to drive on them if I am paying)
Ride sharing has easily become my favorite way to travel!
For what I am looking for in a journey, it gives me the best of everything.
If you've had any fun experiences or would like to share a story with me - email me on my contact page! I'd love to hear others experiences.