It seems my ordeal on the bus on the way to Dortmund wasn’t enough to turn me off. I just booked a return ticket by bus to visit another city in September. I must be crazy or a glutton for punishment. (wink wink, nudge nudge.) Actually I’m neither. I just don’t want to pay more than necessary for my travels.
In the past year, I’ve become quite adept at planning trips, at least in Europe. So how do you plan such a trip?
When planning a trip, I use three criteria to help me determine my methods of transport. Efficiency, cost and comfort.
Being my efficient self, I checked the duration of the trips and the amount of changes needed for each trip. Both the train and bus would take nearly as long at around four and a half hours. But if I took the train, I’d have to change trains. This made the bus more efficient. The only down-side is that the bus can get stuck in traffic. This leaves cost and comfort to compare.
Not counting the mishap on the last trip, I think the bus wins on comfort. The seats are nicely padded and recline so you can have a nice kipper. Another issue for me as a lone traveller is luggage. On the bus, my luggage is stowed away so I don’t need to constantly keep an eye on it whilst travelling. Not needing to change busses, for this trip at least, means no chance of missing any connection. This translates into less stress. The air quality on the train wins on long trips. This is especially true if there is a window you can open.
Pricewise, the bus wins again. The cheapest fare I found with the bus was one-third the fare with the train. This leaves me more budget to spend in the city I’m visiting. I guess I can treat my hosts to another round of drinks. Here, I found no redeeming factors for the train.
The transport side of things taken care of, I needed to arrange accommodation. As I’m going to a couchsurfing meeting, I decided to hit the couchsurfing community and try to find a host for the duration of my stay. I was pleasantly surprised when, in less than an hour, I found two couchsurfers willing to host me. Either I was very lucky, or the CS (couchsurfing) community there is quite strong.
Where are you going? I hear you ask.
I’m going to enjoy the Braderie de Lille! Are you coming too?
You have a whole month to plan! ;)