Transportation alone constitutes more than half of anyone’s travel expenses to Europe. My explanation in this entry is oriented on how to travel cheap, safe and secure while getting to where you want to go. For those who want to travel luxuriously, this entry might be of little value.
Getting out from Russia
- Valid passport
- Immigration card
- Reentry visa (the green thing Deanery gives us)
- E-Ticket (printed – for your reference)
- Credit card, ATM card and cash (they’ll ask you about this at immigration and customs – if you don’t have any, they suspect you want to work in Europe or something)
Aeroflot – it’s a very convenient flight, it takes you wherever you want to go in Europe (no transit required for most destinations). But their price is ridiculously expensive, except when there’s a special promotion. So, most people are anxiously waiting for this promotion to come. The cheapest destinations are always the German cities (Berlin, Hamburg, Hannover, Munich, Frankfurt, Duesseldorf) and some Eastern European cities. The timing is quite flexible.
AirBerlin – this flight travels from Moscow Domodedovo to anywhere in Europe, but you have to transit for a couple of hours in one of the German cities first (sometimes Vienna), then you proceed to the next destination. The price is not bad at all, almost the same like Aeroflot on its special promotion at most times (even NOW!). The timing is quite flexible.
KD Avia – very cheap flight, transit in Kaliningrad. The timing is not flexible and it’s always late.
Air Baltic – another cheap flight, but you have to transit in one Riga or Vilnius. Timing not flexible.
S7 – expensive, except when there is special promotion. Goes to fewer European cities compared to Aeroflot. Used by Nizhnians and Volgogradians to get back to their respective cities after traveling Europe.
Germanwings – transit in German cities like AirBerlin, but less flexible. The prices are almost the same like AirBerlin.
Transportation within Europe
Private – if you are traveling 4 people, traveling in one country only (e.g. Spain only or Italy only) and have international driving license, RENT A CAR! It’s seriously cheaper than trains, and much more flexible too! Some countries have cheaper petrol price than the other – so go check that out. Traveling in rental car provides more flexibility and security. You can try hitchhiking, but that totally goes against the spirit of flexibility and security.
Bus – it is a cheap means of transportation, best for intercity travels provided that those cities are quite near to each other (e.g. Nuremberg to Prague). Take a flight if the cities are far apart (e.g. Prague to Paris), the price is cheaper than the bus – unless you don’t mind the leg cramps, back pain and sleeplessness.
(a) Intercity train – intercity trains are different in each country, but the principle is the same; it gets you from one city to another. It’s a very convenient mode of traveling, especially if you want to go to smaller towns. In Switzerland, I used Swiss Youth Pass and I can travel on any Intercity trains in Switzerland. In Bavaria, Germany, there was this one-day ticket for €27 for 5 people traveling on any train within Bavaria region.
(b) Night train – another type of intercity train, but travels at night and arrives the next day in the morning or afternoon. With this night train, you save the trouble of finding accommodation on one night and saves your time by traveling while sleeping. Best used for cities which are 6-12 hours apart, e.g. Milan to Paris. If it is Milan to Florence, no need to take the night train. Take the 3-hour evening train and sleep in Florence instead… Don’t be so cheap laaa…
(c) Eurail and all that – it has a fixed price, a fixed number of days you want to travel within a fixed number of countries. It is flexible in sense of the choice of destination you wish to go in any time of the day. But it is much cheaper if you already decide which city to go next and buy a one-way ticket.
Flights – cheap flights are abundant in Europe, though it may be decreasing in number due to recession. The price is as cheap as traveling by a bus, only it’s faster. Want to go to Geneva from Paris? Take Easyjet! It’s fast, convenient and cheap.
(a) RyanAir – travel within UK and Ireland is getting easier with RyanAir. The air company is Ireland-based, its market extends to mainland Europe. The price is the cheapest compared to other cheap flights, but some of its timing and airport locations are not convenient for passengers e.g. in Frankfurt, RyanAir lands in Frankfurt Hahn airport instead of the world-renown Frankfurt Main… Frankfurt Hahn is located 120km from the city of Frankfurt! Check-in luggage is going to be charged, so it’s not that cheap anyway 🙂
(b) AirBerlin, TUIfly, Germanwings – to name a few of the Germany-based cheap airlines. Should you decide to transit in Germany and want to go elsewhere from Germany, these are the flights for you. Buy TUIfly tickets on Tuesdays, their flights are cheaper on that day.
(c) Others – check out using whichbudget.com