22.03.2018 • Emmalee
Hey everyone! I haven't posted in a while because I've been galavanting through Europe and now I'm at home for a few weeks before starting my second semester in Germany! I thought this would be a good opportunity to talk about how I've been able to travel so much during my time in Germany.
First of all, coming from a country where it costs a fortune to even fly within the province, I wasn’t expecting to be able to travel around Europe for as little as I’ve managed to. There are extensive networks of planes, buses, trains and even a great car-sharing website (which I’ve yet to use).
I have been able to visit Switzerland, France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, and various places within Germany, all while not spending too much money.
I would first like to mention the bus company „Flixbus“. This company is well known and reputable throughout Europe. I have travelled with them to many cities and their tickets can be as little as 5 Euro for one-way. They run freqeuntly through big cities, and Freiburg also seems to be a main hub! Their busses are comfortable, always have A/C (or at least are supposed to), a washroom, and they also have snacks and beverages (including beer) for purchase. Sometimes they run late, but of course there is no way in avoiding things like waiting at boarder crossings or traffic. They are also introducing a new „Flixtrain“ which I am super excited about and look forward to trying it out!
Within Germany, Deutsche Bahn, or DB, is a great train service. They have frequent trains to basically every corner of Germany and they are comfortable and (generally) on time. I have only had one bad experience with them (a story for another time but I missed my flight to Poland because of my delayed train), but I am looking into taking care of that right now. A good thing to keep in mind is to book tickets in advance because the closer you get to the departure date, the more expensive the tickets (generally) are. I also highly recommend investing in a Bahncard or a Probe Bahncard. These are beautiful little cards which allow you to get 25 or 50% off all of the train tickets you purchase with DB. You can get a Probe Bahncard and it’s valid for 3 months and barely costs you anything – if you plan on travelling by train frequently, I highly recommend it. But keep in mind, you have to cancel it at least 6 weeks before it’s renewal, otherwise, you’ll get caught paying for a full year after that (this happened to me, oops).
Two budget airlines which I have had good experiences with so far have been Ryanair and EasyJet. EasyJet is slightly more expensive but I travelled to Amsterdam for less than $90 CAD roundtrip and the whole journey was pleasant. Ryanair has crazy cheap offers, you just have to keep checking and they have sales frequently. I have seen roundtrip flights to the UK for around $20 CAD. I still don’t understand how this is even possible but I guess ignorance is bliss. Keep in mind that you will not be receiving exquisite service, and you will have to pay for basically anything else. I have travelled with friends and I’m pretty sure they purposely seat you on opposite ends of the plane (Ryanair, not EasyJet). It seems like in the summer months the prices of flights drastically go up so definitely get some travelling in before July and August!
Rome2Rio allows you to type in 2 destinations and it gives you all of the options on how to get from point A to point B (whether it be bus, boat, plane, train etc). It seems like it’s beginning to get more updates as well so that’s a huge plus. Skyscanner searches all airlines and gives you options based on price, layovers, or time. They also have an option so that you can discover and see where you can go for the least amount of money from the airport of your choice!
I hope everyone enjoyed my tips! So far I have trips booked to the Netherlands, Croatia and Slovenia for second semester. We’ll see where else I end up!