Saving series: How to save money on transport
This article is part 1 of my series on saving money on travel.
Depending on where you’ll travel and how long you’ll stay, transport is most likely to be one of your biggest travel expenses. And unfortunately nothing is going magically transport you to your destination for free (except hitchhiking, actually, that will). Don’t let transportation costs stop you though. With these tips you’ll arrive with a full wallet to your destination.
My favourite hobby is sorting out tickets for trips that I’m probably never going to take. I abuse Skyscanner on a daily basis. I don’t dare count how many precious hours I’m throwing away per year. But all is not lost, because I have gained a lot of valuable information, which i’ll share in an article specifically devoted to this.
Driving is probably my favourite way of transport: nothing tops a good road trip. It’s easy, quick and once you drive with multiple people, you can share the petrol costs, so the costs won’t be too much. Despite the liberties of your own schedule, there are always the parking and petrol costs though.
– Road toll
In some European countries they ask for road tax to drive there. Think of Spain, France and Portugal. And this will only increase, since Germany is also planning to let tourists pay for driving their roads. I think I paid about sixty euros from the French / Belgian border to the Côte d’Azur. In my opinion toll is one of the worst ways to spend your money: the road is already there. It always feels like I’m emptying my wallet above the sink. Where it is possible, choose a local road to save money, rather than the highway. The disadvantage is that it will take longer to get to your destination. The plus side is seeing more of the country.
There are plenty of websites and apps like Toogethr or Blabla car where you can share a ride with other people. I haven’t tried it myself but I have seen a single ride to Copenhagen for €35. Score!
I love the bus. Sitting on a soft chair, rocking slightly back and forth, looking out a huge window nibbling on snacks, while I’m transported to my location. And you can really go anywhere. With bus companies like Megabus, Eurolines and ID-bus, you can go to Paris, London or Berlin for as little as €10 sometimes. But the companies even drive as far as the Czech Republic, Hungary and Morocco sometimes. Protip? Go overnight. You can save a night out and make the most of your available travel hours.
The Thalys isn’t very expensive. For €70, you have a return ticket to Paris from Amsterdam. Not as cheap as a bus, but still. I prefer the CityNightLine. It runs at night (dude), so you have both accommodation and transport in one. Very advantageous. They drive to locations where you usually fly to (Copenhagen, Moscow, Prague). If you book in time, you can score a return ticket to Copenhagen for € 60. Two nights + return transport = cheap.
No, I would never take a bicycle holiday. I was quite frankly thrilled when I moved to a city where there is a tram stop in front of my door (very fancy for a village girl), so I didn’t have to ride my bike everywhere. But often on trips you can rent a bicycle for one euro or a handful of euros. I’ve don’t do it often, because most cities are easy to walk (and: free), but I did rent one in San Fransisco and cycled the Golden Gate Bridge.
City cards often cover your public transport. Whether they are economical for you, you’ll have to calculate yourself. Otherwise, it’s almost always cheaper to buy metro tickets packets instead of individual tickets. Usually you’ll get one free ticket on a package of ten. Or check if there are two day-tickets, that would also be useful sometimes. Whether this is beneficial for you, really depends on the price of tickets (which are different everywhere), how much you want to see, how much you plan doing by foot and how much by metro. On an average trip, I usually make three to four subway trips a day. This often comes down to five euros: do the math. And in some cities, like London, it’s cheaper to get a temporary public transport card. Do the research and save moolah! :)
Yep. My favourite way. No crusade like Santiago de Compostela, but just walking. Strolling through neighbourhoods with meandering streets that are carefully folded around old houses. Peeking inside a locals life. It’s a great way to be active, explore your destination and it’s totally free.