With cheap bus fares that are inspired by sharp completion between operators, catching the bus to Europe is an excellent and low cost way to get round the continent. For some time it has been possible to travel to Europe on Eurolines which is operated by National Express, but more recently both the Stagecoach operated Megabus and the SNCF operated iDBUS coach services have rolled out services to major European cities such as Paris, Lille, Brussels and Amsterdam with seriously low fares.
If you think that travelling long distances by bus really isn’t for you, then you might be surprised at how comfortable and safe modern coaches are. For instance the iDBUS offers individual air conditioning, reclining seats, seat belts and toilets. Driven by specially trained long distance coach drivers, the safety record is impeccable.
Of course you do need to be prepared for long distances. The journey time between London and Paris if between 8.5 and 9 hours depending on the time of day, but you do arrive right in the heart of the city and you can choose to travel overnight and arrive in time for petit dejeuner and croissants and coffee.
If you are reluctant to spend 9 hours sitting on a coach, that is apart from the time that you spend on the ferry crossing from Dover to Calais, which nicely breaks up the journey, consider the alternatives. Driving used to be a popular way but nowadays it is very expensive just in terms of petrol, and if you are heading for say Paris, then driving in the city can be a nightmare.
Flying used to be fun, but with all the security checks, the frequent delays, luggage restrictions and the cattle crates of the no-frills budget airlines, it has lost every bit of its erstwhile glamour. Travelling to and negotiating Heathrow for a cheap and not very cheerful flight to Charles de Gaulle airport cannot be anybody’s idea of pleasure; far better to catch the bus.
Alternatively you can take the train. Eurostar is very comfortable and convenient and it too takes you right into the important cities that it serves. It is also very fast, probably the fastest way to get there. However it is rather expensive, and can be very expensive indeed if you are looking for any degree of flexibility with your journeys.
Busing to Europe admittedly is not for everyone; it is likely to appeal to younger people, though many older people also use the service. It is great for families looking for a cheap European holiday, and there are often promotional deals that include free tickets when more than three people travel together. It is certainly the cheapest way of continental bus travel.
For more information on iDBUS bus fares visit www.idbus.co.uk
This is a guest post by Claire Chat a new Londoner, travel passionate and animal lover. She blogs about Pets and Travelling in Europe. If you want Claire to write you specific content, you can find email her here or contact her on Twitter (Claire_Chat).