Travelling via train and bus with PlusBus

I’m a regular train traveller and recently discovered PlusBus.  It’s an economical way to travel via bus in addition to train.  It was great because I had to take a side trip one day, which meant I was unable to use my regular train route.

PlusBus is available at various towns across England. For around 2-3 GBP, you can travel via bus all day around that town.  There is no catch; however, there are stipulations.  First of all, you must have a valid train ticket.  The town you are visiting must be en route on that train ticket.  For example, if you are travelling from London to Brighton or from Brighton to London, you may buy a PlusBus pass for Brighton.  However, you cannot buy a PlusBus for Brighton if your train travel only includes the Brighton area. 

PlusBus is accepted as bus fare on all participating buses.  In some towns, PlusBus may also be used on the trams.  You may wish to check that the bus you want is a participating bus, though most buses in participating towns will be included.

You must buy the PlusBus tickets at the railway station or bus station prior to travelling on the bus.  You cannot buy it on the bus itself.  You will be expected to show proof of a railway ticket.  Children pay half the adult rates, and Railcard holders save one-third off the adult rate.

PlusBus tickets are available as singles, day return, period return (when the outgoing and return are on different days), or even season tickets, if you expect to use it for more than just one day.

Travelling via public transport may be relatively slow and inefficient, making you rather dependent on timetables and various other conditions, but in the end, it may be less hassle for bigger towns.  With the PlusBus, you also won’t have to spend much money.  For more information on PlusBus, you can check out their website at www.plusbus.info

Youth hostelling

When my friends and I decided to make a European tour ten years ago, we joined the Youth Hostelling Association.  It allowed us discount accommodations to Youth Hostels around Europe.  This was a wonderfully cheap option as well as an opportunity to meet with people from around the world.

Many countries have YHAs, which have reciprocal agreements with one another.  However, if your country does not have it, you may join at your country of destination.  Membership is relatively inexpensive, but will vary depending on the country.  An individual membership also pays for the individual’s children, but there is also a joint/family membership for a 2-partner family.  For those between 16 and 25, there is a discount rate.  There are also discounts for various groups.

The different hostels we stayed at varied in the number and type of accommodation.  Some only have dormitory-style rooms, where you shared with several others.  Some have private rooms for families or other groups travelling together.  Some have separate male/female rooms, whereas others have co-ed rooms.  Some are in old mansions or castles, while others are in cabins or old hotels.

During our trip, we were sometimes roomed together and other times, roomed with others.  It was interesting to make new friends who came from so many different areas of the world.  Not only that, you had to share the kitchen, where you prepared your own food.  If you wanted to, you could have shared your meal with other groups.  Be prepared also to share bathrooms.

You can reserve rooms at the hostels in advance.  Or, if you find yourself in a city without prior arrangement, you may be able to find room at the local hostel.  The different hostels are individually run, so some may make room for you, even if they are completely booked.

Although hostels will welcome non-members, members receive discounts on their stay.  Those who are non-members may take a temporary membership, which gives them a discount, but not as deep as for members.  Membership has other benefits, such as discounts on travel, shopping, and tourist attractions.  They even have their own discount calling card.

For those who are adventurous and do not care for all the luxuries of a hotel, youth hostelling provides an inexpensive alternative to accommodations.