We all know that the Eurail is one of the most convenient ways to travel around Europe, but it can also cost a pretty penny (er, euro). But for the young and adventurous (or even young at heart) there’s another option: Busabout, or more specifically, Busabout Explorer, which expanded on the "hop-on, hop-off" city tour bus model to create network covering 30 cities in ten European countries.
The cool part: Busabout has its own tour guides that travel with passengers on every bus. So before arriving at each city, they can tell you everything you need to know about that destination, as well as answer questions and give recommendations on where to stay, eat, etc. Once you arrive at your city, the exploration part is up to you, so you’re never being dragged on any boring, stereotypical tours. The guides also have an extensive selection of the best accommodations in every city of hostels, budget hotels, and camping villages, all based on Busabout passenger recommendations, so it takes the guesswork out of finding a decent (and affordable) place to stay.
Neat technology: Every Busabout guide carries a handheld computer that has a seat- and bed-booking system. This means that travelers never need to search a city for a cheap Internet café to book the next part of their trip. Every passenger also gets a Busabout Travel Pass, a card which holds your personal details, a full itinerary and other useful information, and is swiped through the handheld computer so that someone in the world knows where you are (worrisome parents, perhaps?).
The best part: Trip options are split into loops, the Northern Loop (like Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, and Munich), Southern Loop (think Venice, Rome, Florence, and Nice), and Western Loop (to Paris, Nice, Avignon, Barcelona, Madrid, Bordeaux, and beyond). Travelers can stay for as many days as they like in each city, and the Busabout buses stop in every city once every two days, making travel easy. Busabout also encourages sustainable tourism, and is part of The Leading Travel Companies of the World Conservation Foundation (which is always a plus in our books).
The pretty penny: Loop passes start at $639 for one loop. The Flexitrip pass costs $549 for six stops along any of the three loops, plus $59 for each additional "hop."
- Nat Geo Expeditions