Coaches & Buses
Coaches - Cheaper than trains, faster than walking and safer than hitchhiking
Are you curious as to how long it takes to get from London to Prague by bus? Hope you've got some interesting reading material.
Coaches are everywhere in Europe, and there are few places you can't go with them. Granted they can be slow, even just getting around the UK can take many more hours than you'd expect if there's a particularly nasty accident on the M25. If you're taking this mode of transport then I would suggest you use their ETAs quite liberally. Try not to book connecting coaches, because all it takes is one leg to turn a trip into a disaster.
Having said that, coaches can be cheaper than you might think. ₤40 from Prague to London is a good deal considering it takes 27hours. If you're with a bunch of friends you can make your own party (just ignore the looks you'll get) These big buses usually stop every 4 – 6 hours for food, smoke and bathroom breaks. There is usually a tiny toilet on board too – although not always. To make things better, drivers are doing their best to keep from careering into alpines ravines too often – It's been months since I've heard of an accident – so chances are on your side that you'll survive as well as save some cash! = )
When booking a coach it's always a good idea to check out previous and following departure times. The Eurolines coach from Munich to London departs only twice a week – I know this because I missed one of them in October 05 and had to sleep in an airport for 3 days. It's not an experience I am keen to repeat.
There are different Coach companies for different countries, thankfully you can book most of your journeys from England through National Express Eurolines
For coach travel in the UK you have a couple of options.
National Express run services everywhere, all the time, all over the UK. They run a good service and aren't too bad for prices. Megabus are a relatively new mob that used to offer really cheap prices from destinations all over the UK to London (as little as ₤1.50 if you booked far enough in advance).
These days their prices are more realistic however they are still half the price of the corresponding National Express service. The downside is they only run between major cities, they can be quite crowded and they rarely arrive on time. Check both sites below and compare for yourself
When catching buses in Europe you can buy tickets in advance at the main bus stations and often from the driver on board too. I don't usually buy tickets in advance as I am adept at losing them, however if the coach does not run very often (say once a day or only a few times a week) I purchase tickets as soon as I can to avoid missing out.
“Being sober on a bus is, like, totally different than being drunk on a bus.”
When not travelling great distances you'll most likely have to catch a bus or two. If you haven't figured out how to catch a bus by now – then I'm not gonna tell you :P
Buses are buses – they're slow and cumbersome. To make things a bit worse they're also not that cheap either. A return trip 10 mins into town and back can cost up to ₤3.50 And before you start calling me a cheap git remember that working in a pub pays around 4quid an hour after tax. Myself I prefer to jog places, it's cheaper you stay fit and you often beat the buses too!
I'm not going to list local bus companies or their websites – there's just too many. In London all the buses are red and you can use an Oyster card on them which saves the hassle of searching for change after a late night out. Trying to figure out the routes can be quite a mission. Just give yourself plenty of time for error and keep in mind the traffic.
Got the cash and want to travel faster or in a bit more comfort? There are other forms of transport in the UK you can try out.