Transport tips for cheap travel around Europe

Once you’ve booked your flights and made sure you’ve got a great deal, here are a few tips to ensure that you carry on saving money and time on your holiday transport.

InterRail pass  not just for students!
If you’re thinking of travelling around Europe by train then why not consider an InterRail pass? These tickets start from £210 for over 60s, and can be a huge money-saver if you’re looking to travel long distances within a country, or you are crossing between two or more countries. This is especially true in the more expensive western European nations such as France and Germany, where train travel can be a considerable expense.

Even better, purchasing this pass gives you two free trips within your home country (the UK), allowing you to get to and from the airport, ferry or Eurostar terminal. Just be sure to book in advance, as tickets depend on availability and there can sometimes be an additional charge.

There’s plenty of information on either the InterRail website or the forever helpful Seat61.com, which offers invaluable advice on train and bus travel across Europe and beyond.

Train passes for a single country
Some countries offer train passes just for travel within their borders. For example, it is possible for a non-Spanish resident to buy a pass for travel throughout Spain, where you can select a certain number of trips in a month. This allows you to book a seat on every train, without having to pay any additional fees, with prices starting from €195 for four trips in a month. This could be a worthwhile investment if you’re planning on travelling across the country.

Travel within a city – includes savings on attractions
Anyone who has travelled to London in the last 10 years will appreciate the usefulness of an Oyster card, where a small upfront payment can save you several pounds on each journey within the capital whether by tube, bus or even tram, more than paying for itself in a day or two.

The good news is that other European cities have followed suit and offer similar passes with discounted fares. Countless cities have such schemes, for example, Berlin’s WelcomeCard offers unlimited travel for 48 hours for just €20.

Some schemes also include deals to give you savings on popular attractions within the city. The Lisboa Card costs €19 and is valid for 24 hours, giving you unlimited travel throughout Lisbon as well as free entry to some of the city’s best museums, such as the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, priority access to avoid queuing and even discounts on tours.

Visitors to Prague can purchase a Litacka card for around £1.60, which can then be topped up like an Oyster card to access cheaper fares. Cardholders can also receive discounts of up to 50% on many major museums and galleries, including the City of Prague Museum, so it’s great value, and it’s well worth grabbing one of these if you’re heading to the Czech capital.

Websites for planning your transport
There are also lots of handy websites that are useful when planning your trip before you go, and for using when you’re on holiday. Rome2Rio is particularly good – even if you’re not actually going to Rome or Rio! – because it calculates the price and time it takes to reach a location using all modes of transport including taxis, buses and trains. This gives you all the information you need to make your decision and ensure you pay the correct amount.