eTripCafe - The Art of Travel / Transportation - Search & Booking   No Trip Selected
Here we offer some different ideas and options when it comes to your transportation. Be open to new experiences and trying things on your own that you may not initially be comfortable with. Think adventure…the more you do different from the norm, the more you travel experience will be one to remember and share with others.
Home/Login    New Account
eTripCafe - The Art of Travel
Transportation - Search & Booking Pre-Travel  Accommodations

If you are traveling from the US, you will more than likely have flown a major carrier over the pond.  It's what you do when you arrive that will distinguish you from a typical traveler or the adventurous traveler wanting to make the most of their vacation.  If you are open to new and exciting experiences, there are several alternatives to consider for your transportation.

Amber Palace - Jaipur, India

Our goal is not to provide a list of links to popular websites for you to click and search for your transportation, but rather to provide alternatives to the normal thought process when it comes to researching your transportation.  Wherever you are going and plan to stay, look for opportunities to do something different and adventurous...something out of the ordinary that will give you a story to tell.

Be sure to read our Travel Skills Tips & Tricks where you will find detailed information related to Transportation including Trains, Planes, Automobiles, Taxis, Subways and Buses.

Our Search & Pricing page will give you an idea of how different websites obtain and offer their fares.

Researching your transportation

  1. After you have selected your locations, you need to decided how you will get there.  Will you be flying, traveling by train, taking a tram, riding the bus, hiring a taxi, hiking or renting a car?
  2. Check Aggregator Websites such as Kayak, Momondo, Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, etc. where you will find prices combined from multiple vendors displayed in a single location.  You may be able to book directly on their website or will be redirected to the actual vendor's website to complete your booking.
  3. Once you have found a price you are interested in, it's still worth checking the source to be sure you have found the best deal available.  For example, if you have found a flight deal on for United Airlines, visit United's Website directly to confirm you have found the best deal.  There may be better deals or options that were not listed on the Kayak website.
  4. You may be flying a major airline from the US to your European destination and when you arrive in Europe and are continuing on to other locations, it may be far less expensive to fly a European Low Cost Carrier than to stay with your original airline.  Low Cost Carriers are no frills carriers that fly all around Europe - basically they get you where you need to go.  Distances around Europe are short and so are your travel times, so flying a Low Cost Carrier is a great alternative.
  5. Check flights from alternate airports for the long haul section of your trip over the ocean.  You may find that you can purchase a very inexpensive ticket from let's say Denver to Chicago on a Low Cost Carrier and then purchase your main ticket to Europe from Chicago much cheaper than flying the same carrier all the way from Denver to Europe.  Of course the down side is that you will now have to make a connection with an airline change and travel time may be longer, so you have to weigh the benefits.
  6. If the distances are close enough, perhaps the best way to travel is by train.  If you want to avoid flying and the distance to your destination is quite far, there may be sleeper trains available, especially between major cities.

      When traveling by train, use this 'down-time' to organize photos, update travel notes or to simply enjoy the scenery.  Many countries have high speed trains connecting major cities and unless you are taking the Eurostar, you do not have to arrive hours before your departure.  You can simply walk up and board the train.  Some high speed trains may require seat reservations but most trains do not.

  7. Depending on your destination, you may be required to take a taxi, ferry, tram, bus or some other means of transportation.

Be sure to consider your arrival and departure points and read our tips on Local Area Maps before you make your booking.

Topic Details
City & High Speed Trains Traveling by train is by far the cheapest and most convenient way to get around.  Most of the time train travel is extremely dependable and you will find that connection times are like clockwork, down to the minute for arrivals and departures (so don't be late).

City trains only require that you have a valid ticket while on some high speed trains a reservation is highly recommended.  High speed trains usually run greater distances so having a reserved seat is a must.  You can play it by ear and travel without a seat reservation but if the train gets full, you may be asked to move and if you cannot find another open seat, you could end up standing in the area between cars for your entire journey.

You will find that high speed train travel is highly efficient, especially between long distances making day trips possible where driving would take too much valuable time.  For example, it's quite easy to take a day trip from Rome to Pompeii via high speed train.  The train departs Rome and goes directly to Naples and back taking anywhere from 60-90 minutes depending on the train.  At the Napes train station, there are hourly departures on a special train that will take you to Herculaneum and then on to Pompeii in about an hour.

As we are providing travel tips, I have to mention the Naples Rail Station.  In general, the station is like any other train station but I do have to mention the restrooms.  The women's was a pay restroom with an attendant and required all women pay a nominal fee to enter.  Having an attendant meant that things were kept clean and spotless.  I know it was very clean as I asked my wife about it when she exited.  Now for the men's.  The men's restroom did not have an attendant and it was free to enter.  I clearly remember this being the most disgusting restroom I had ever been in.  I did not want to touch a thing or even walk across the floor it was so filthy.  I have been in toilets in India where there was only a hole in the ground with a hose and this was much worse.  This really shows the difference between restrooms requiring a nominal fee to enter compared to those that do not.  So the next time you are required to pay a fee, remember my story.  Things may have changed since I was there last in 2008.  Hopefully if you go, they have cleaned things up and you will have a much better experience than I did.  On a final note - I survived, it's all good and I have another travel story to tell! 

Be sure to read our page on Trains Tips & Tricks

City Train - Datchet, England High Speed Train - Cologne, Germany

Eurostar The Eurostar is a high-speed railway service connecting London with Avignon, Brussels, Lille, Lyon, Marseille and Paris.  Eurostar trains traverse the Channel Tunnel between the United Kingdom and France.

These trains require a seat reservation and you must arrive early for time to pass through security prior to boarding.

Smaller Carriers You may find that smaller airlines fly to more out of the way locations compared to some of the low cost carriers.

For example, you may fly from London to Lugano (a smaller location in Switzerland but actually has the 5th busiest airport in all of Switzerland) on a small jet or prop plane.

An alternative is to fly a Low Cost Carrier such as Ryan Air form England to Milan Italy where Lugano is about an hour away by train.  We have flown directly to Lugano as well as taken the train to Milan which is a nice scenic ride with stops at Lake Como.

The great thing about Europe is that the distances are short and you can usually find different travel alternatives.

Airport - Lugano Switzerland

Ferries There are times you could fly, but taking a ferry may be more practical and in some cases, the only way to go.

Traveling between the Greek Isles by ferry is by far the most practical but in some cases if you are traveling between islands that are separated by a great distance, flying may be a better alternative.

With a ferry, you simply board and do not have the same early arrival requirements and security precautions you will find with air travel.

High Speed & Regular Ferries found throughout the Greek Islands

Rental Cars Although we think travel by train is by far the best way to get around, there are times when a car is absolutely required.

Not everything is accessible by train and here is a good example.  If you plan on touring the Rhine or Mosel River Valleys to visit different castles, a car is essential.  Although trains connect most of the towns along the rivers, reaching the castles can still be quite a distance from the station.  In fact some castles would take you hours to reach when walking so having a car is essential.

Our advice is to rent a car when required and travel by train when not.  In Europe, it's very easy to rent a car in one location and return it in another; however they may be additional fees to do this.  For example, you could rent a car at the Frankfurt airport when you arrive and use it to drive through the River Valleys before returning it at another location along the way.  Once returned, you can switch to riding the rails.

Cost & Insurance

Cars can be very inexpensive or extremely expensive depending on the options you choose and especially when it comes to selecting the insurance.  You may find car rental rates for 10 Euros/day which sounds great, especially if you plan to use your own insurance.  Keep in mind that it can be a real mess should something happen and you have to deal with the rental agency and your own insurance company.  Although you may be covered by your own personal insurance, you could still be required to immediately pay large fees should you be involved in an accident regardless of if it's your fault.  The car company may find a scratch on your car and require you to pay hundreds to fix it while there is no way to prove you were not responsible.  You will have to work with your own insurance company when you return from your trip to be reimbursed.  To be safe, you may want to consider purchasing the car agencies insurance so that you are completely covered, but it can be very expensive; upwards of 100/Euros day in some cases.  Your inexpensive rental car has now become quite costly, but you will have peace of mind knowing that you are completely covered for anything that should happen.

Be sure to read our page on Automobiles Tips & Tricks

Windsor, England
Other Sample Searches
Sample searches to give you an idea of how to search for your transportation.
Iceland Air Iceland Air has offered deals on flights from the US to Europe with an optional stop in Iceland for up to a week at not extra charge.  These deals have been available for booking during the summer months for travel in the Fall.

We purchased this deal with the optional stop in Iceland on our outbound flight where we stayed for a couple of nights before heading to our European destination.

Major US Airlines Alaska, Allegiant, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, American, United, ...
European Low Cost Carriers Vueling, easyJet, Thomsonfly, TUI, Germanwings, Jet2, Ryanair, Alitalia, flybe, Wizzair, ...
Frankfurt Airport Car Rental Lists car rental agencies at the Frankfurt airport