Wheels and rails over wings – alternatives for flying

For me the word travelling brings an image of a plane to my mind. Maybe because travelling from Finland, where I’m from, usually happens by plane. But after moving to Switzerland, I have realized there are other ways of getting to holidays.
If you are not literally travelling overseas, there are good alternatives for flying. Most of the time, these means of transportation are also cheaper than going by plane.


If I’m travelling anywhere within a 400 km radius, my absolute favourite is Flixbus.
For those of you who haven’t heard about Flixbus, it is a German bus company that has recently expanded to most countries in Central Europe. You might have seen them around in the highways or city centers as the buses are bright green and orange and are hard to miss. There are several reasons why I like Flixbus:

  1. Although the prices seem to have gone up a bit in the past few years, it is still a very cheap way of travelling. For example, I regularly travel from Zurich to Munich and if I’m lucky, I can get round trip tickets for around 30 euros. For your reference, train tickets for this route would normally cost over 100 euros. Also worth to mention here is that the bus ride from Zurich to Munich is less than 4 hours and the same trip with the train can be almost 5.
  2. The bus stations are usually in the city centers so instead of having to go to the outskirts of the city – where the airports usually are – you will depart and arrive right in the heart of the city. This will save you transfer time and money since airport transportation is not needed.
  3. All the buses have WiFi so you will be able to stay connected during the journey.
  4. You are able to cancel your ticket until very last minute, and you will be refunded the ticket price, apart from the booking fee of 5€. You will then receive a voucher code in your email, which you can use within the next 12 months to book another bus trip.

As mentioned, Flixbus has expanded greatly in the past few years and you can now get to pretty much anywhere in Central and Southern Europe with their buses. Just look at all the green in map below!

There are also other bus companies in Europe that offer similar services than Flixbus, especially in the countries that Flixbus is not operating yet. In case Flixbus is not in your country yet, check out if there are any equivalents in your region.


I’m sure most of you have heard about the term Interrail, maybe some of you have even done an Interrail trip.

In short, Interrail is a company offering travel tours by train. You leave from one place, tour as many cities and countries as you want with your own pace and return to the point of origin with just one train pass.

There are over 30 participating countries in the Interrail network. You can find the list of the countries and the operating railway companies here. There are also several different travel pass options for you to choose from. Please note that Interrail is only available for European residents so if you are from outside Europe planning to do a tour in Europe, please visit Eurail.

When starting to plan your Interrail trip, I would suggest first listing the countries and cities that you would like to visit and how long you would like to be en route. This will also give you an idea of what type of pass you need.

If you are under 27 you are eligible for the youth ticket discounts. There are also special offers in some countries that Interrail travellers can benefit from, such as discounts for ferries or special trains, sightseeing tours and hostels that are definitely worth checking out.

Bus vs. train

So, when should you take bus and when is train a better option? In general, travelling by bus is the best option for a single  destination. The Interrail passes start from 3 days within one month up to unlimited travel for 2 months, so if you have more than 3 destinations you are planning on, Interrail might be a better option, given that it offers a wider variety of routes and destinations.


Another interesting concept for getting around in Europe for a good price is BlaBlaCar. BlaBlaCar is a carpooling service where you can input your itinerary details and search if anyone is offering carpooling for the selected criteria. These car rides can end up being significantly cheaper than bus or train rides and for the same price you also get travel companion. If you are planning a car ride and would like some company, you can also enter your route in BlaBlaCar and find passengers.


Header image from Flixbus
Route map Flixbus
Train image by Daniel Abadia on Unsplash

Lotta Keski-Mäenpää

Travelling made cheap and easy

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