Thrifty Travel Tips 4: 5 Reasons to Get the Coach!

Having made a case for night trains, I’m going to put my hand up and vouch for another form of travel. Get yourself on a coach! Coach travel is much maligned, admittedly for some good reasons, but has tremendous upside if you can live with the negatives!

Okay, so there here are some negatives to long-distance coach travel. For a lot of people, coach travel is uncomfortable, and any chance of sleep is lost about five minutes into your journey for any one of a hundred reasons. I’ve had to sleep through babies crying, avoid getting caught in a full-blown punch up between a driver and a passenger, and been delayed countless hours of my time by traffic. Even so, coach travel should be under your consideration and here’s why!

  1. The Cheap Price

As an Englishman, most of my journeys begin in London. Be it from Gatwick, Heathrow, St Pancras, Victoria Coach Station, or somewhere else entirely, London tends to be my hub that connects me to everywhere else on the planet. If you’re looking for cheap travel abroad, it seems that I should compare some prices so you can see just how cheap taking the wheels really is.

So google is telling me flights to Paris start at £23 but I can’t find anything like that. The lowest price I have found is easyjet for £54, and I’m sure they go cheaper in their flash sales too! Even so, I’m also looking at coach tickets which will set you back only £12… They also plunge you right into the heart of Paris, where presumably your flight will put you outside the city, at somewhere like Charles De Gaulle, with an impending need to spend more money on extra travel.

£54 before you add your baggage, a snack, and in-country travel costs, is positively criminal in comparison with £12. Maybe think about that next time you’re weighing up travel options!

  1. The Really cheap Price

Okay, a line so nice I said it twice. Coach travel is cheap. I’m a big fan of travel within Britain’s borders. I saved myself around £80 getting from Brighton to see my friend in Edinburgh by getting a last-minute coach instead of the train! If you’re smart, don’t book last minute. If you’re even smarter, hook yourself up with some cost-effective coach travel!

  1. Is the coach really that much less comfortable than a flight?

Okay so flying British Airways first class is probably going to be a bit nicer than the National Express coach you’ve booked yourself. I have no doubt about that. Is it really true that your coach is going to be any less comfortable than flying economy on a plane though?

I would argue there isn’t a great amount of difference. Yes, you’re on the coach for much longer, so that is a downside in terms of comfort, but realistically the two modes of travel are practically the same. Sitting bolt upright with little leg room and wedged next to somebody you may well not know! If I’m paying for that situation, I’m sure going to be taking the cheaper version of it!

  1. It’s much harder to lose your luggage on a coach!

Just about everybody I know who flies regularly has had their luggage lost by an airline. My mum was going on a one-day business trip to Munich and the airline managed to lose her bags for over a week! Somehow, airlines can’t do this basic fundamental: Get your stuff to the same place as you.

With a coach, your bag can be stowed overhead or, more likely, stashed away at wheel-level. You’ll probably throw the bag in yourself, perhaps gently if you have valuables. That means your stuff likely won’t break and if you’re bag doesn’t end up in the right place, it’s probably your fault!

  1. See the world

Are you going away to see the world? You should be. Is it as much about the journey as the destination? It definitely is for me.

You get some incredible views from your plane window, if you bag a window seat of course, but on wheels you get to see the lie of the land. Maybe your coach stops at a town you’ve never heard of, but it looks awesome! You can just get off, say goodbye to your weekend in Paris and enjoy yourself in the moment. That opportunity isn’t facilitated by a flight and that’s just one of the reasons why, if I can’t take my old banged-up car, I’m hopping on a coach if it’s possible!

Conclusion

The coach is a fantastic way to travel. Minor disclaimer though, I’m not advocating getting a coach to Beijing from London, just get the flight. Actually, that’s the kind of journey I’d love to do by coach if only for the story!

Is coach travel sounding really tempting now? Maybe the road less travelled is the route for you!

Author: The West Laine Wanderer

I'm a resident of Britain and part-time traveller of the globe. I'm passionate about conservation, writing, photography, and travel. I'd love for you to check out my blog! I post new and original content each week so you have content to read when you most need it!

18 thoughts

  1. A well considered piece here and I am a budget traveller but I have a couple of problems with coaches, as I do with cheapo airlines.

    Firstly, I am 6’5″ so any sort of economy travel is going to be particularly uncomfortable. Secondly, I am in my seventh decade now (OK, I have just turned 60) and the last time I did a coach trip was on my unscheduled and rather random wander round Europe in 2017 when I was 57. I did Lyon to Memmingen in Bavaria (beautiful place, you should go there) overnight and I think it marked the end of my coach travelling as I can only think of a few times in my life I have felt so wretched. Enjoy it whilst you still have your youth.

    Just to throw another one into the mix here, did you ever do car-pooling or whatever else they call it? I did it a few times and it was invariably a brilliant experience. It works out (in Western Europe anyway) a bit more expensive than a coach and a lot less than a train but you have the added advantage of meeting locals which is the main reason I travel anyway.

    A classic example was my journey with a young lady called Natasha from Nancy to Dijon which was brilliant if slightly surreal. I won’t bore you with the details in this message but here is a link.

    https://fergysrambles.org/2017/05/01/another-month-another-place-and-two-new-travel-ideas/

    Whenever old age finally lays it’s wicked hand upon you, as I hope it will, you might want to bear this in mind as an alternative if we are ever allowed to travel in cars with strangers again!

    Keep posting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The comfort-ability factor definitely plays a bigger part for taller people. I find that at 6 feet tall I am significantly less comfortable than my shorter friends. My friend who is 6,8 won’t step foot on a coach because he won’t fit. Fortunately I don’t have the same issue as you guys though!

      I definitely will enjoy it now! As I get older, I feel I will be less and less tolerant of cheaper travel but at the moment it works for me!

      I have done car pooling and I love it! I’ll likely write a post on it at some point.

      I will have a read, thanks for contributing!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can certainly sympathise with your very tall friend, there is no way he could handle a coach unless he took to the cargo hold on an airbed!

        I had never even thought about car-pooling in UK but it just occurred to me when I was drifting around Europe and it was one of my best discoveries of that trip. If I am ever allowed to go travelling again, I’ll definitely do it but who knows how long it will be until you are allowed to get in a car with strangers again?

        I can’t wait to read your piece when you write it, just to get another perspective on the subject.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I agree, I cannot see any travel on public transport until at least next year and then it is going to be seriously restricted (for which read and excuse to hike prices) and that is only for the huge companies that can survive this. Grim times indeed.

        Stay safe yourself, my friend.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I completely agree with this! I actually would always prefer to take a bus than fly somewhere. Though the actual travel time is longer, I absolutely hate the slow lines through security, boarding and then waiting on the plane for upwards of an hour before even taking off. Plus, I’d always rather have nice views of towns or the country side than just clouds. Thanks for sharing this!

    Kristen | https://globetrottingguiris.com/

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Korea has several levels of bus travel. You can get an uncomfortable bus for travelling around the small towns and villages. Uncomfortable because of the seats and also because the drivers go fast around winding country roads and motion sickness is a problem. The next level is the same sort of bus between larger centres. Not much worry about motion sickness, but it’s still four seats in each row. Up from that is the express bus, which doesn’t stop anywhere before your destination and is only three seats across. Good legroom and the seats are wide. If you are travelling alone you usually get put on the side of the bus with single seats, which means you don’t need to sit next to anyone. The highest level of bus appeared a couple of years ago. Only three seats across and each seat has a privacy curtain that goes all around your seat. Big seats, lots of legroom, and an entertainment centre in the back of the seats like in airplanes. Prices are good. The best bus is about the same price or cheaper than the train.

    Liked by 1 person

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