Busabout hop-on hop-off VS regular coach travel around Europe

I’ve currently taking part on the Busabout hop-on hop-off bus service around Europe. I have a small break back home in Scotland right now, but by enlarge I’ll be travelling with Busabout on this service for the rest of the summer. I’ve so far travelled from Madrid to Paris on the buses, stopping for 3 days in San Sebastian in between, and I think I’m already a convert to this style of travel as opposed to traditional coach services in Europe. Here’s why…

It makes meeting other backpackers easy

If you book a traditional coach in Europe there’s no reason why you can’t strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you, but by enlarge people get on the bus and don’t talk to anyone unless it’s the person you happen to be travelling with. What I really loved about Busabout’s hop-on hop-off service was that it was designed to make it easy to meet and converse with other people on the bus. Everyone on that bus is there for similar reasons. They’re all there to travel Europe, they’re all predominantly 18 – 30 year old backpackers, they’re all mostly people on career breaks, gap year trips, or on holiday from uni. The guides encourage you to talk to one another, there is Busabout meet ups once you arrive in a destination for people who want to go out, and in general the fact that everyone is a backpacker means that they’re geared more to strike up a conversation. On a traditional coach service not everyone is a backpacker. On Busabout pretty much everyone does fit that mould, and backpackers expect other backpackers to talk to them, go out at night together, and are just by enlarge friendly people.

A combination between a guided tour and independent travel

This was the main reason I immediately connected with the Busabout hop-on hop-off style. You’re on organised bus services with a tour guide and options to meet up for events when you get to your destination, but if you want to do your own thing in each place you can do. You also choose how long you want to stay in each destination. There are some compulsory stops where you need to stay at least 1 night due to bus times, but other than that it’s pretty much up to you how long your stay in each place provided there’s space on whatever bus you want to travel out on. With a traditional tour you just wouldn’t get this sort of flexibility, which means for those travellers who like a more independent style of travel, this is really good way to tour Europe but still have that flexibility.

Accommodation drop-off

Busabout drop you off outside their recommended accommodation providers at all of their destination stops. If you book your accommodation at the drop off point hostels/campsites/resorts it does make things very convenient and much more easy than traditional coach travel. The only thing I would say is during peak season (June, July, August, and September) it’s best to book as far in advance as possible if you want to ensure a bed at the drop off points as they do tend to fill up fast on Busabout arrival days. You are free to find other accommodation too if you don’t want to stay at any of the recommended drop off point hostels, campsites, or resorts, but most of the Busabout recommended hostels are to a good standard and are reasonably cheap.

Organising your transport and accommodation

I found the Busabout MyTrip section a really fantastic way of organising your buses and accommodation around Europe. The userface does take a little while to get used to as it’s not as user-friendly as say big hostel booking websites or travel search engines, but once you got used to the little quirks in the system it does become a very useful way to organise your trip. You can book all your buses, and then accompanying accommodation for your whole European trip. It provides a great peace of mind to be able to log on and see where you’re supposed to be and when, and that you’re booked into a hostel which you’ll be dropped off at. Overall it meant less hassle, and therefore more time to enjoy your trip.

How much does it cost?

It really depends what type of pass you go for. Busabout have 3 loops. To travel all 3 loops, taking you to 9 countries and 33 destinations, it costs 829 GBP for an adult pass, or 799 GBP for those with a valid student ID. As I mentioned above, you can go around the loops multiple times (you just have to travel as the standby after your first time around), and you can start and finish the trip anytime between the May – October Busabout season, so for me personally I think this represents very good value for budget backpackers. Alternatively, a cheaper option may be the flexi-pass, which starts at 335 GBP for students or 349 GBP for an adult pass. This allows you to pick and choose which destinations you want, and you simply purchase extra journeys if you want them as you go along. For more info on the variety of Busabout passes available check out the Busabout website at http://www.busabout.com/hop-on-hop-off.

– As you probably guessed I’m a big fan of the hop-on hop-off style. For me it offers the best of both worlds for those travellers who enjoy the atmosphere and convenience of a tour, but prefer the flexibility of independent travel. However, even if you enjoy traditional tours more, Busabout still offer these in various parts of Europe such as the Iberian Adventure I recently reviewed before commencing on my hop-on hop-off journey.

3 Responses to “Busabout hop-on hop-off VS regular coach travel around Europe”

  1. Layla Arnold says:

    I really like this idea of a hop on hop off bus. I like it.

  2. Rebecca o'driscoll says:

    Found this really helpful. Myself, my husband and my sister thinking about travelling around Europe next summer for 20 odd days. Was between this or contiki tour camping even though would prefere hostels. Do you have anymore advice or info on this vs guided tour.?

    • Jane Meighan says:

      Hi Rebecca, it really just depends if you like having a tour guide with you at all times or whether you like the option of the tour guide but the ability to have some time out too? I haven’t done a contiki tour so to be honest it’s hard for me to compare the two. I have heard they are good, but mostly for people who really like to party. If you’re someone who really doesn’t like the party bus vibe then it may not be for you, but for some people this is also a really important aspect of travelling in Europe – so it really depends on what you like personally. 🙂


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