By Kelsi Nelson
Traveling in Germany can be financially intimidating considering the costly railway tickets. While the Deutsche Bahn (DB) is reliable, a thirty-minute journey can at times cost over €20. Before you commit to paying the full price for a train ticket to your next destination, you can try searching for a cheaper journey through a couple different methods of transport; the most recommended being intercity coach services and rideshare apps.
Intercity coach services, such as Flixbus and Hellö, are the most favored services when traveling between major cities – not only in Germany, but also through nineteen other countries in Europe. While the route may take a bit longer, you can find a ticket at a fraction of price you would pay for the train. A quick search finds that a ticket from Munich to Nuremberg costs €19 for an hour journey, while a bus costs €5 while taking only one extra hour. If time is not a crucial factor in your travels, one can see the opportunity to undoubtedly save some cash. If you have kids and looking for a low cost investment, then check out The Children’s ISA.
Another plus to using Flixbus is that it is the first to test E-Buses within a long-distance travel network! So while you’re traveling cheap, you can feel good about helping to save the environment! Read more on Flixbus going green here.
Another growing method of transportation that can save you money is ridesharing. The most popular app for this in Germany is Blablacar, which you can access on your computer or download to your mobile device. Blablacar allows you to select your departure location and future destination, and browse drivers that are planning the same route. The app displays the time of departure and approximate time of arrival, the price of the trip, the number of seats in the car, and information about the driver, including reviews from previous passengers. Blablacar is exceptionally helpful budget-wise when traveling to and from a non-major city. For example, a ticket on the DB from Augsburg to Munich costs €14, while a rideshare using Blablacar costs only €4 and takes the same amount of time. As for traveling between major cities, Blablacar has the possibility of saving you a lot of time thanks to sections of the Autobahn that have no speed limit. If you are brave, you can make it from Cologne to Munich in three and a half hours instead of the six it would take by bus!
Before you feel overwhelmed by the amount of research you have to do in order to find the cheapest options, don’t worry – there’s an app for that, too. GoEuro gives you immediate comparisons of train, bus, plane, and rideshare prices. While it’s a quick and easy way to get an idea of which method of transportation is best for you, it is recommended that you afterwards check the prices on the actual website of your chosen method to confirm that is indeed your cheapest and most desirable option. For example, some Blablacar trips are featured on GoEuro, but it is easier to navigate and find the ideal ride through the website or app itself.
About the Author
Kelsi earned her Bachelor’s degree in Horn Performance from the University of California, Los Angeles in June 2016, and has been backpacking through Europe for the past six months. She has managed to travel for an extended period by working at hostels and farms, and finding the cheapest forms of transportation.