Buses and trains can be a great way to travel for multiple reasons. They can be cheaper. They can help you get to see the landscape. They can help you get to know the locals. They can provide cultural experiences and adventures that you never thought you would have.
Buses are everywhere in the world. And while trains aren't everywhere, they are in many places, too. Between these two options, it's almost always possible to find a much more affordable travel style if you're traveling on a budget as a backpacker or engaging in some long term travel.
If you're traveling in Europe, Omio (formerly GoEuro) is a great website to check out and compare the prices of trains and buses between not just major cities, but smaller towns as well. BusBud is another fantastic resource. On these websites you can figure out the logistics of traveling between places to maximize your budget and schedule.
BusAbout is a convenient way to get around, too. This hybrid tour and bus company offers a hop-on-hop-off system of buses that go all over Europe. You can make your trip flexible and affordable with their system.
Are Eurail Passes worth the price? That's a hard question to answer, as it entirely depends on where you're going and how often you want to travel. If you're hopping through new cities in Europe every 2 or 3 days, yes, it's worth it. But if you're traveling slower, it's actually better to book the tickets one at a time. You can see Eurail Pass prices here to decide for yourself.
Or, if you're island hopping through the Greek Isles or other Mediteranean countries, check out Direct Ferries so that you can take the slow and scenic route. Here you'll find very affordable prices along with plenty of opportunities to see the land and understand how the locals move around. We also have an entire guide to booking Greek Island Ferries here.
In Asia, a similar resource is 12go.asia which has comparisons of trains and buses between destinations. As many countries in Asia are not as developed or organized as in Europe, this website is invaluable to travelers looking for an efficient and inexpensive means of transport between cities. BusBud also has plenty of options in Asia, too.
In the United States, many bus lines zip between major cities. Two affordable bus options are Greyhound and Flixbus, although many companies can be found providing affordable transportation between major cities. BusBud is a great resource to compare all of the companies for a specific route. Amtrak has a monopoly on long-distance rail travel, although passenger trains in the U.S. are not nearly as frequent or efficient as elsewhere in the world.
In South America, BusBud is a great resource for finding inexpensive and efficient routes between destinations, both large and small. Many bus routes travel across international borders, too, which makes it a great way to get around if you're on a long-term trip on a budget.
Likewise, in Africa, BusBud also provides plenty of affordable routes in multiple countries.
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