Ey up! I haven’t written anything on here in a while, and that’s because I’ve been very busy
over the last couple of months with quitting my job and gallivanting across Europe, in what was a very unexpected but bloody fantastic turn of life events for 2018. (I’ve had worse mid-year crises, I suppose).
Before my trip, I spent ages researching how to actually go backpacking, because there are an insane amount of ways to do it in Europe these days. (Bus? Train? Plane? Car? Bike? On foot? On both feet??) I’d been thinking about giving Busabout a try for a while after stumbling across them online last year, so I decided to give them a look. When I clicked on their website to do a bit of research, there was a big sale on – so, obviously, I took it as a sign and booked one of their Hop-On Hop-Off bus passes right away at a lovely reduced rate.
So, how does it work? The HOHO bus network covers a whole range of Europe’s key cities, along with some smaller gems along the way, and you use your bus pass to – yep, you guessed it – hop on and off the network to the places you want to go. I used my pass for 3 weeks to visit some new places on my bucket list as well as some of my old favourites, and it was such a great way to get around Europe easily and completely stress-free. (As this blog post may have already suggested, 2018 has been a bit of a stressful year, so there was absolutely no time for any more on this trip. Would much rather leave all my problems on the other side of the English Channel for a bit).
If you’re thinking about Europe for your next getaway, here are a few reasons why you should give the Busabout HOHO pass a try:
1) There’s a range of bus passes to meet every budget and time frame
One of the great things about the Hop-On Hop-Off pass is there are plenty of different options to choose from to suit your own budget and time frame. I didn’t have anything to get back home to urgently, so I chose the 9 stop pass while it was on sale at a reduced rate, which would give me plenty of options for places to visit. (I didn’t actually end up using them all so I could have chosen a shorter, cheaper pass, but oh well – you live and learn).
Take a look at each pass price here.
2) It’s easy to plan your route around Europe (and change it on the go)
Once you’ve bought your pass, it’s so easy to plan your route, which is done through the MyTrip section of the website. All you need to do is select a destination using the drop down menu, put in how many nights you’ll be staying there, then add the next destination, and repeat. I often changed mine the day before going because I didn’t want to be (and am generally not capable of) thinking or planning too far ahead, so that was another big benefit of the HOHO pass for me.
3) Get picked up and dropped off door-to-door at each place on the map
One of the great things about the HOHO network is it picks up and drops off at a designated hostel in each European destination, so whether you choose to stay in that one or pick alternative accommodation, you’ll never really have too far to go when you arrive at each new place.
(The hostels they use for each pick up/drop off point have been chosen due to their good location/facilities, but they can be a bit pricey so I just went on the Hostelworld app and used the Map feature to find a cheaper one nearby. Got to save those coins for the cheap and cheerful European beer!)
4) You’ll get to meet other travellers on every bus journey
One of the key benefits of using the Hop On Hop Off network is you’re guaranteed to meet loads of other travellers on each bus journey along the way. I took 6 buses altogether and each one was quite varied in terms of how many people were on it with me. My Berlin to Dresden bus was pretty much full (with everyone except me staying on to go all the way to Prague, I had lots of FOMO that day) but my Munich to Lake Bled bus had a grand total of 4 people on it, which was actually so much fun as we could just chat between us as a little group the whole way.
5) Use the handy guide to research accommodation and excursions in each place
On your first bus journey you’ll get given this really handy Busabout guide, which includes a map of the network, each city pick up/drop off point, optional excursions and more. After booking, organising and storing pretty much everything travel related on my phone, it was really nice to have something physical I could read through on bus journeys or when I was sat somewhere having dinner. (I didn’t realise how much I’d used it throughout the trip until I got home and it had literally fallen apart in my bag. Oops).