Should I Travel by Train, Bus or Plane in Europe?

The answer to the question: Is it convenient to travel by train, bus or plane in Europe?

It is not a definitive answer but rather one that will depend on your trip and preferences.

It is easy to comment on things like:

“It is cheaper to travel by bus”.

“the plane is faster”.

or “the train is more convenient”.

when you don’t really have a complete picture of the situation.

This article is not intended to give you an absolute answer.

Whether it is convenient to use the train, bus or plane to travel around Europe.

But I will try to put all the cards on the table.

So that you can make a better decision about what is  best for you.

In the words of mere mortals, the first part will focus on the pros and cons of traveling by train, plane or bus in Europe.

And the second part will be on the topic of money and how much each option really costs.

It is understood? OK lets start.

It is Convenient to Travel by Train, Bus or Plane in Europe – Pros and Cons

Before you even want to start planning the type of transportation you are going to use.

It is necessary to determine the places you plan to visit.

This point is key because it will largely define the transport that suits you.

For example, if you want to travel in Europe for two weeks.

Visit different cities that are very far from each other.

Then without a doubt, the best thing for you will be the plane.

On the other hand, if you know what cities or places you plan to visit and you have more time to travel.

Between one and two months, then perhaps what suits you best is the bus.

But if you have no idea what places to visit or plan to visit small towns far from the main European capitals.

Then for you it will be the train, since it allows you to have flexibility.

Do you understand why there is no absolute answer as to whether it is better to travel by train, bus or plane in Europe?

Pros and Cons of Traveling by Train in Europe

Pros of traveling by train in Europe

  • It reaches any point in Europe. If you have plans to tour small towns in the middle of the mountains or in the middle of nowhere.
  • chances are the only way to get there is by train.
  • Europe was built by and to use trains and small towns.
  • That does not have access to buses, much fewer planes.
  • Punctuality. Somewhere I read (I forgot where but based on my experience I can say that it is true)
  • That trains have average punctuality of 90%, while airplanes are only 68% to 78%.
  • In all the trips I have made a decision.
  • I can remember several times that a plane has been delayed or canceled.
  • But the only time I remember a delayed train was in India.
  • Europe prides itself on its rail system and its timeliness, which brings me to the next point.
  • Replacement simplicity. If you have lost or had a flight canceled.
  • You have had to go through the tedium of having to change it or being assigned to a new one.
  • On trains this does not happen.
  • If you miss a train or it is canceled.
  • Finding and being assigned a new one is very simple.
  • It will most likely be almost immediately, especially in main destinations where one departs every hour.
  • To sleep you can have a bed. Have you been trying to sleep on a bus?
  • Even those with “more room” to lie down are really small and uncomfortable.
  • The sleeper trains are spacious and comfortable.
  • In my case, I am more than 1.9 meters tall and every additional centimeter of sleeping or sitting space is vital.
  • You don’t have to worry about city traffic.
  • If you get a hotel nearby you only have to walk one or two blocks to get on your train.
  • Forget planning the trip to the airport or bus station.
  • The views of the trains are spectacular.
  • At least in Europe, most of the views you will have out the train window are amazing.
  • Roads do not always run with this luck and airplanes.
  • Unless you have a window, you will be lucky to see something interesting.
  • Food. On the trains, you can take all the food you want and have a decent table to eat.
  • When I have traveled as a couple by train.
  • One person puts the food on a table and the other person puts the iPad to watch a movie. Quite convenient.
  • You can walk. If you get tired of sitting you can stop to stretch your legs.
  • Walk the whole train or just stop to look out the windows between the cars.
  • Without having to hinder or prevent the view of the person sitting next to you.

Cons of Traveling by Train in Europe

  • Heavy luggage. If you are one of the people. Who ultimately cannot pack lightly.
  • Then you will have to be careful with the trains. Moving by train is wonderful.
  • But it is not entirely friendly with passengers. Who bring a lot of luggage because you will literally have to take care of it.
  • On the train there are special compartments to put the big suitcases.
  • But once again, it is you who get on and off those suitcases on the train.
  • Unlike the plane that goes to the counter, you register it and that’s it.
  • It is worse when you have little time to change trains.
  • I have known several stories of travelers who have lost the train or the suitcase in these changes.
  • Socially uncomfortable. If you are not an extremely sociable person.
  • Then the train can be quite a challenge for you trying to avoid awkward looks.
  • In most cases, passengers are sitting facing each other, which makes those uncomfortable looks unavoidable.
  • The best way to avoid these situations is to fall asleep, read or see out the window.
  • Food is expensive and bad. If you are unlucky enough not to have packed enough food.
  • Then, you will have to pay for something to eat that will probably taste bad and cost a lot.

Pros and Cons of Traveling by Plane in Europe

Pros of Traveling by Plane in Europe

  • It covers great distances in a short time. This is perhaps the main advantage of airplanes.
  • You can trace a route through Europe taking into account destinations.
  • They are very far from each other and still be able to travel.
  • Through them without much difficulty by making transfers by plane.
  • You can carry a lot of luggage with little problem. By little problem, I mean that you only get to the airport, check-in and voila.
  • You collect your luggage at the final destination compared to the trains.
  • Where you have to take care of all the handling of your own luggage.
  • Some aircraft deals are very good. If you are constantly monitoring flight offers.
  • You can find flights VERY cheap.
  • that even adding 3 extra suitcases the price is still a bargain.

Cons of Traveling by Plane in Europe

  • Airports are located far from the city center. Regardless of whether you use a low-cost airline or not.
  • The airport is most likely located on the outskirts of the city.
  • Major airports have a certain advantage in being well connected by public transport to the city center.
  • But small airports do not suffer the same fate.
  • The hours are not the most convenient. If you plan to fly using low cost airlines.
  • You had better prepare to have flights at 6 in the morning or at 10 at night.
  • Quite inconvenient times to leave or reach any destination.
  • The “cheap” lines may not be as cheap. If you add the price of the airport transfer plus the costs that you do not realize that exist.
  • Until you are paying.
  • The low-cost lines may not be so low cost when compared to other transportation options.

Pros and Cons of Traveling by Bus in Europe

Pros of traveling by bus in Europe

  • Cheaper than the plane or the train. This is the main advantage of buses.
  • In general, it will always be the cheapest form of transportation that exists.
  • You can buy the ticket on the spot. Another great advantage is that unlike buying a plane or train tickets.
  • Bus prices do not vary if you buy them a day or a month before.
  • There are stops for food, drinks and going to a decent bathroom. Buses in Europe make regular stops at special rest areas.
  • Where you can buy food at a good price in addition to having access to a decent bathroom.

Cons of traveling by bus in Europe

  • Very few international routes or for small towns. In Europe, the use of trains is so widespread and common.
  • That buses are not so well positioned and do not have routes to international destinations or small towns.
  • Information is scarce or in the local language. For the same reason that tourists hardly use buses to move around Europe.
  • The information that exists on the internet or other places is very little.
  • The stations are not always in the center. The European cities were not designed for the use of automobiles, much less for buses.
  • So the stations are slightly removed from the center.
  • Not as distant as airports but rarely as central as train stations.
  • Sometimes there are no toilets.  Most European buses do not have toilets. So the issue of regular stops.
  • So if you have an emergency it is better to notify the driver to make a stop.
  • Travel times are longer. If you plan to travel long distances. Then the bus is not recommended.
  • Since in general, its travel times are longer.
  • For the simple fact that it has to avoid the traffic of the cities or roads.
  • This already significantly increases its time.
  • Seat discomfort. Low-cost airlines and buses have one thing in common, a tiny space between their seats.
  • The only difference is that you probably spend less time on an airplane than on a bus.
  • If you are a tall person, the bus is undoubtedly the worst option for your trip.

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