Sustainable travel: tips & tricks for travelling by train and bus
Are you going on a trip and do you want to go by train or bus? On this page, you will find all kinds of tips and tricks for planning a (cheap) trip. Are you an employee of Utrecht University? Then you will find the best tips on the employee page.
Travel planners and booking offices
Do you have trouble finding an itinerary or booking your train journey? There are several websites that immediately show you how to get from A to B and the costs of your trip. The Green Office listed a number of travel planners and booking agencies:
Happyrail - Dutch search engine for train journeys and train tickets to destinations worldwide.
NS International - On this website of the Dutch Railways you can book international journeys.
Interrail - Besides Interrail train tickets you will also find a lot of practical information about train travel on the Interrail website:
- Plan your train itinerary;
- A map that shows all train connections in Europe;
- An overview of which (night) trains that you need to book in advance and (possible) reservation costs;
- Several European railway companies offer the possibility to book journeys to and from the Netherlands. On the Interrail website, you will find an overview of all railway companies.
Seat61 - A website with a list of train and boat connections, including timetables, prices and links to websites where you can book your trip.
Treinreiswinkel - a Dutch travel agency for booking (complex) international train journeys (website in Dutch).
Rail Europe - British search engine for train tickets to British and other European destinations.
Check travel time and comfort with UU Train Zone Map
The UU Train Zone Map shows whether your destination can be easily reached by train. For each destination, you can see how long your journey takes by train and plane, whether it is a comfortable journey (with little or no change of trains, for example) and how much CO2 you save compared to taking a flight. For each destination there is a piece of advice: (1) 'Always train', (2) 'Mostly train' and (3) 'Train is possible'. Click on the image below to view the full Train Zone Map.
Compare and book your bus trip
At the moment Flixbus is the largest provider of bus travel in Europe. Eurolines is also part of Flixbus since May 2019. When booking your bus trip you have the possibility to consult the provider's website to see which environmental measures the company applies. According to their website, Flixbus applies strict standards and has an efficient fuel policy. In addition, they work together with ClimatePartner to give travellers the option to fully compensate for their bus trip.
Do you want to weigh different travel options against each other? Check out these platforms:
Comparabus - Compare prices and trips of bus and coach travel providers and list them.
BlaBlaBus - Provider of options for bus travel and carpooling.
Omio - Compares bus-, train- and air travel.
BUS AND TRAIN TRAVEL: BUDGET TIPS
Tips for a cheap train and/or bus trip
Going on a weekend trip or on summer vacation? You probably already know that popular travel destinations such as Berlin, Paris and London can often be reached inexpensively by train. For these, but also other destinations, it can literally be rewarding to check the price of train tickets instead of automatically booking a plane ticket. If you want to cut travel costs, also check out the bus connections of Flixbus to European destinations. Do train- or bus tickets to your destination turn out to very expensive? Then it is probably the cheapest to buy an Interrail Pass. This is also a good option if you plan to make a roundtrip through Europe. There are various types of Interrail Passes on the market. Check out the various options on the website of providers such as Happyrail and Interrail.
Are you going on a city trip or on vacation for a few weeks? You probably know that destinations like Berlin, Paris and London can often be reached inexpensively by train. For other destinations too, it's worth checking the price of train and bus tickets. Check out prices* of return tickets to ten vacation destinations below:
Finally, destinations closer to home such as Antwerp, Brussels, Ghent, Cologne and Lille are very cheap to get to. Especially if you make use of the train discount for groups (click on “English”) (https://www.ns.nl/producten/en/meest-gekocht/p/groepsticket-daluren).
* The Green Office consulted the websites of the Train Travel Shop, the Dutch Railways, Flixbus and Skyscanner in January 2020. Prices of bust tickets, train tickets or flights can vary throughout the year.
Are you planning to book a 'standard' train journey? The tips below can help you to book a cheap(er) ticket:
- Booking websites may charge a booking fee. You may save costs if you (eventually) book your trip yourself;
- Book your train journey well in advance. This can be done four to six months before departure with some carriers;
- Travelling in the evening is often cheaper;
- If you want to go away for the weekend, it can be cheaper to travel sat-sun-mon instead of Fri-Sat-Sun;
- Are you travelling with a group? NS International offers a group discount (click “English) for groups of six people or more.
Are you a student at the UU and are you going on exchange to a European university in the academic year 2020-2021? Travel for free to your exchange destination with a Travel Green Grant.
SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL FROM FELLOW STUDENTS
The Green Office collects tips and tricks from students about sustainable travel. We have listed the best tips below:
- Do you plan to make a round trip with a large group of people? Renting a bus can be a cheap option! Study association Storm has been going on trips with touring company De Avonturier for years. Read the blog by Storm about their annual bus trip;
- Would you like to take the train to Japan like Tiemen and Marenthe or another destination outside Europe? Remember that for some countries you need a visa! On Embassy Pages you find an overview of the countries for which you need a visa;
- Many student associations organize an annual hitchhiking competition. Are you planning to hitchhike with your study association or during another trip? On this map, you can see where there is a good chance of being picked up.
- Keep an eye on the offers of providers of train and bus tickets! NS International and Flixbus and for instance often have good offers. On this website (in Dutch) you will also find offers for cheap international train tickets.
- Trouble finding interesting destinations that can be reached by train or bus? Download the sustainable travel guide (in Dutch) of environmental agency Natuur en Milieu for inspiration for a low-carbon trip.
- Do you want to offset the CO2 emissions of your trip? There are many companies and organisations that offer to do this for you. However, not all initiatives are equally effective! The Carbon Offset Guide provides more insight into how you can offset your emissions.
Would you like to share your tips for travelling cheaply, comfortably and/or sustainably? Please send an e-mail to email@example.com with "travel tip" in the subject line.