“It’s not the destination, it’s the journey,” mused the American scholar Ralph Wado Emerson back in the 19th century. While travelling has changed beyond all recognition since Emerson’s day, his message still rings true for eager explorers of all ages.
Investigate all options
It’s doubtful Emerson would have suggested that going through all the airport rigmarole was a part of travelling to be savoured. But did you know that numerous European routes are quicker to navigate by bus or rail than by plane? London – Paris and Munich – Frankfurt being just two compiled in a list by search and booking platform Omio.
Omio (formerly GoEuro) was founded back in 2012 by a former backpacker who was determined to make life easier for wannabe travellers. It streamlines the entire travel planning process enabling users to see all their options, such as departure times, transport operators and prices, before booking their ticket on the site or via the app.
Other routes that are quicker by train than by plane are Brussels – Paris (2hr 39min faster) giving you plenty of extra time to explore the Louvre, and Madrid – Valencia (1hr 28min faster), which is almost enough time saved to watch a football match at Real Madrid’s famous Santiago Bernabéu stadium.
Read Madrid’s famous Santiago Bernabéu stadium. Photo credit: Deposit photos
So spend some time investigating all your travel options to grant yourself some added time in your destination of choice.
Look out the window
Experiencing Europe by rail and bus opens up the path for routes through the Swiss Alps, criss-crossing between Spain and France down to the Italian Riviera and trekking across Scandinavia to name but a few.
With eye-watering scenery often on display, put down your paperback or tablet and glance out the window. Rail and bus travel offers the chance to see a great deal more of a country’s natural landscape and to also become au fait with new-fangled words such as couchette and hauptbahnhof.
Copenhagen. Photo credit: Deposit Photos
Wow your friends with random travel anecdotes that will surely pepper your trip. Try taking the Deutsche Bahn service from Copenhagen to Hamburg where you can marvel at how a train rolls seamlessly onto a ferry. And no trip aboard a German train is truly enjoyed without eating a meal in the bistro complete with table service and cute table lamp.
Have cash, will travel
Back in the old days, travelling across Europe involved changing currencies with every new country you visited. And while there was a certain charm in collecting new notes and coins, figuring out how much things cost compared to your own money was a nightmare; 1,500 Italian lira for an espresso anyone?
Let’s face it, queuing at the currency exchange for Deutsch Marks and pesetas was a hassle. Now with a single European currency, card payments and mobile banking apps, you can spend your hard earned money with ease.
But that’s not to say there still isn’t a place for old fashioned notes and coins…in certain places. In Sweden, for example, cash is practically dead but in Switzerland it reigns supreme. Buy yourself some time by having some cash in your wallet as it will come in handy for paying for luggage lockers and even to use the toilet in some bus and train stations.
Got your adblocker on? Pause it on this page to use the Omio widget below and find the best deal:
var script = document.createElement(‘script’);
script.src = “//ferret.cdn-goeuro.com/ferret-affiliates.js?v=” + new Date().getTime();
Planning your trip in your own currency is made easy with Omio. Users can compare prices in 15 major currencies and in 18 languages. Omio is used by 27 million users every month to help organise their travel plans.
What our readers say
We reached out to The Local’s readers via Facebook to get your travel tips. Below is a selection of your comments.
“Travelling by train especially from Perpignan to Paris, passing through all the different regions, is an easy and cheap way to experience the French countryside and villages. Easy travel.” (Sue Chamberlain)
“For Americans, make sure your credit card has a chip and ask your bank for a PIN. Before you get on the train, make sure you are getting on the right part; German trains sometimes split in two. Then relax. European trains are far better than those in the US.” (Doug Urquhart)
“Pack light!! Enjoy traveling like a local, the lighter you travel, the easier everything is!” (Jill Greenlee)
“Country roads or regional trains in the south of Germany, Alps and southern” (Luis Schlappkohl)
“Don't get off the train at the wrong city.” (Tom Roelke)
The Local's Assistant Editor in France Evie Burrows-Taylor also conducted a Twitter poll on travel in France see the results below.
What do you think is the best way to travel around France? For example, if you found out you had to travel from Paris to Nice next week, which of the following modes of transport would you choose, and why..? Explanations as a reply, please!
— Evie Burrows-Taylor (@Eviebt) July 5, 2019
READ ALSO: The Best way to travel around France
This article was produced by The Local Creative Studio and sponsored by Omio.