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Busabout Long Way Round tour

I wanted to compare costs for travelling around in Europe by bus and rail. While I don't have a firm itinerary yet, for the purposes of this comparison let's assume that it will be close to the route shown in the map above.

I took this route map from Busabout's 'Long Way Round' itinerary page. Busabout's bus tours definitely seems expensive to me. What if I did this same / similar route on Eurolines' network instead, using a Eurolines pass? Will that be any cheaper than using an Interrail Global Pass instead?

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3 Answers 3

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The Eurolines pass will definitely be cheaper than the Interrail Global Pass. Even more so if you travel in the lower season. Moreover, with an Interrail Pass you are more than likely to incur additional costs, such as compulsory seat reservation on several trains or extra fees for the use of high-speed trains or other "special" trains. (However, there might still be advantages of train travel, over bus travel, as regards comfort and networks, but that's not the topic here ... ).

A pass is very nice as it gives you some flexibility. However, if you want to optimize or rather minimize the travel costs, you should try to book the different legs separately. Of course, you need to settle down your itinerary in advance. This means that you have to plan your itinerary, including places and dates, well in advance. If you plan and book ahead, this might be cheaper than traveling on a pass. This is even more true if you are among the less young people (26+). But as you can see, this means giving up some freedom and spontaneity.

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If you decide against a pass:

I did Dresden to Prague last August: By train: 32 Euros, by bus: 16 Euros. Prague to Vienna was cheaper by bus too. Further east trains are getting cheaper but in Central and Western Europe buses tend to be cheaper than standard fares for trains. At least in Germany you can get good deals if you are using slow trains.

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As a general rule, bus is cheaper than train in Europe.

Watch only two things:

  • At least in France, some bus lines are operated by SNCF, the french railway company. In that case the fee is exactly the same as train (actually you buy a train ticket).

  • Eurolines, which is the most obvious choice for international travel, may or may not be able to run domestic routes. Go to their website for detailed information.

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The same now applies to Germany; German railway operates a "train" connection between Nuremberg and Prague where the vehicle is actually a bus on a highway. –  O. R. Mapper Jul 15 at 15:34

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