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  • Cassius Downs

Transportation Tips for Europe

Want to travel to Europe for less cost? Want more time 'being' in Europe rather than rushing around Europe? Then read on and explore some money and time-saving tips for travel to Europe this year. These are a series of blogs that provide specific topics and tips for you to consider, so read on for this travel tip and why I recommend it.

Why read further? I worked for an airline for 15 years and have traveled the world for years. I am sharing my knowledge and top tips with you, which can save you time and money. Once you read these tips, act on them to enjoy being in Europe.

Tip - Save on Transportation

Picture of train
Image via Wine By Appointment LLC Generated by AI

I have rented cars at European airports and spent my entire time there driving around, missing the vacation experience of sightseeing and relaxing. Instead, I was driving on the highway, searching for parking in towns and cities, and always being late. We have now taken different approaches to travel within Europe and found a better balance in transportation choices. Here are the options we use now for your consideration.

Car Rental – Cars in Europe are smaller than in the USA, and it can be challenging if you have several people and lots of luggage that may not fit. There are advantages and disadvantages to renting a car, and I have outlined when and where that is outlined below.

  • Countryside Travel – If your travel is outside of the cities and in the countryside, going from town to town, then a rental car may be necessary.

    • When we go to Europe to visit wine regions and wineries, we rent a car to do so.

  • Rent at Train Stations – This is a hybrid option to consider combining city and countryside travel.

    • We took the train to various cities and towns, rented cars for a day, and then returned them to the train station. Then, we spent the night or took a train to our next destination.

  • Car Insurance - If you rent a car, ensure you have enough car insurance as repairs are extremely expensive in Europe, and your USA car insurance may not cover you well enough.

    • We ensure we understand what our car and credit card insurance will cover in Europe and then buy gap insurance from the car rental company.

    • In Italy, our car was damaged, and it would have taken hours to fill out forms and prepay for estimated repairs if we had not taken additional insurance coverage.

  • Parking – Older construction European cities and towns have narrow streets and little or no parking. Old cities and towns were designed for horses and carts, not cars.

    • In older towns, you will need to park outside the town walls and walk into the town to your hotel or restaurant.

    • City parking may be several blocks away from your hotel or in a very narrow building basement where cars are parked tightly together.

Public Transportation – European cities' buses, streetcars, and subways (Metros) are widely available and inexpensive. Getting prepaid local transportation passes will save time and money as you go to various parts of the city.

  • Maps – transportation maps are available from Tourist Information locations and your hotel.

    • Maps are usually on each streetcar, train, bus, and subway, as well as at major stops and stations. If you get lost, ask people for directions.

    • We use public transportation in major cities.


Rail Passes – If you are traveling to several countries, cities, or towns, a rail pass may be the cheapest and quickest way to get there. Americans take flights between cities, and Europeans take trains between cities as it is more convenient, quicker, and cheaper. Purchase Rail passes in advance before arriving in Europe, and they vary in the number of days and locations they are good for.

  • Eurail Pass – This may be your best option if you visit several countries. Eurail passes cover thirty-three countries.

    • We have used this to travel in the UK, France, and the Netherlands.


  • Country Specific Pass – Each country offers passes within their country and may include additional cities in other countries that are on their borders.

    • We have used the French, Swiss, and German rail passes to travel around those countries, specifically on different vacations to each country.

    • While in Germany, I took the train to Berlin for a few hours to see and explore the city and I made quick visits to other cities in Germany this way.

  • Regional Pass – certain countries may have specialty rail passes for specific areas or routes within their country, like the Black Forest trains in Germany or the Glacier Express in Switzerland. See that country's rail website for more information.

    • I have used the Swiss Glacier Express with their special observation cars.


I use the train instead of driving in general. On a train, I can see the scenery, enjoy a meal or beverage, and rest between destinations. The train station is in the city center, and I can book a hotel by each train station, so it is a simple walk to and from the train and hotel while being within walking distance of the 'old town' and tour meeting locations.

  • While in Germany, I took the train to Berlin for a few hours to see and explore the city and I did multiple day trips to other cities in Germany this way.

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Want to read blogs in this series? Check out the blog Travel  section.


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