How To Know Whether You Should Take A Plane, Train Or Bus Around Europe

transportation around europe

Unsplash/Josh Nezon

With budget airlines, first-class trains and luxe coach buses, you’re going to get around Europe easier than ever. But with those options come choices. Too many choices, some might say, for simple trip planning. So here’s how to know whether you should take a plane, train or bus between destinations on your next Euro trip.

Take a plane if…

transportation around europe

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Budget is not an issue. If you’re going all the way across a continent or between continents, a flight is probably the way to go. But there’s one condition: You have to be willing to pay. It costs more to travel fast.

Take a train if…

transportation around europe

Unsplash/Claudio Schwartz

The route is less than five hours long. Let’s do some math here (yes, math) in order to maximize your time. If you need to get to the airport two hours before an international flight, even a one-hour flight will end up being at least a three-hour journey. And that’s not including getting to the airport and catching a ride once your flight has landed and you’ve picked up your luggage from the baggage claim. If you can get there on land in less than five hours, stick with the train.

Take a bus if…

transportation around europe

Unsplash/Annie Spratt

Time is not a priority and you’re on a budget. Let’s be real — no one wants to take the long-distance bus. Buses are not glamorous, no matter how many televisions they add to the aisle and how cushy they try to make the seats. But you can’t beat a bus when it comes to the price and, if you take an overnight bus, you might not even mind the long ride.

Your first step…

transportation around europe

Unsplash/John Schnobrich

Our favorite first step in trip planning is checking Rome to Rio for a rough estimate of price ranges for each mode of transportation. The website breaks down your options. Let’s say you want to go from Munich, Germany to Florence, Italy. Rome to Rio will tell you that your price range for a flight will be from $80 to $270, while a train will be $50 to $180 and a bus will be $35 to $60. The site also estimates how much time it will take using each transportation method. So for the Munich-to-Florence example, you’d know a plane would be about five hours, a train would be eight and a bus might take up to 10. Then you can take that info and start researching specific flights, trains or buses, depending on your budget and flexibility of timing, and make your pick from there.


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