If you're traveling on a budget, transport can be a big chunk of your costs. Flying may get you there faster, but it's not always budget-friendly. This is where buses come in handy.
You may have heard of Megabus as an option to travel by bus, but it isn't outside North America and the UK. FlixBus, on the other hand, extends to European destinations around the continent. Could this be the perfect transport option for your next European adventure?
What is FlixBus?
Founded in 2011, FlixBus is an intercity bus service mainly based in Europe, providing low-cost fares between cities. FlixBus allows you to take weekend breaks or long trips at affordable rates. FlixBus is also the most environmentally green way of traveling in Europe.
FlixBus has services running through the US, Brazil, and Europe, including the UK. You can explore the map to see all the places where you can travel using FlixBus. If you're backpacking through Europe, FlixBus will connect you to most cities.
How much does FlixBus cost?
Different routes come at different costs, but FlixBus tickets can start as low as $5, and sometimes specials will bring even lower prices. With destinations all over Europe, finding a route that fits your budget is easy.
The earlier you book, the cheaper tickets will be. Some routes run more frequently than others, but prices increase as seats are sold.
All transactions also incur a $3.99 service fee.
How does FlixBus work?
To book a FlixBus ticket, enter your start and end location on the Flixbus website. Select your travel date, and departure times will be generated. This will also detail if the journey is direct, or if there are transfers.
When it's time to travel, you'll arrive at the departure station in advance of departure time. Unlike airports, there's no security to clear. Go to the bay where your bus will be, and then you'll wait to board the bus. You'll show your ticket and ID, load your luggage under the bus, and then get comfy for the ride!
I once took Flixbus overnight from Seville to Lisbon. It was an easy process, and we even made a rest stop in the middle of the night so everyone could stretch their legs!
Benefits of using FlixBus
Wi-Fi is included on all Flixbus buses. That being said, it's basic Wi-Fi, with no streaming capabilities. You'll also be limited in how much data you can consume before your connection speed is reduced.
When you travel with FlixBus, you can easily check your route for real time updates. You can search using your confirmation number or just by departure/arrival location. The search results do occasionally yield "no data" results, though. The best way to have up-to-date information on your journey is to check the FlixBus app.
Unlike planes, where low-cost tickets come with no baggage, FlixBus allows you to bring two bags. You can place one in the hold under the bus and one on the bus with you. If you put a bag under the bus, it's a good idea to check on it at each stop.
Travel in comfort
All buses are equipped with extra legroom seats, and the seats also recline with adjustable backrests. If you want to reserve a specific seat or the seat next to you for extra space, you can do this for a small fee.
What are the downsides of using FlixBus?
On paper, FlixBus is a great option for getting around, but it still has its flaws. FlixBus travelers have commented on delayed coaches and that they've boarded long journeys with unserviceable toilets. While drivers will stop somewhere in this situation, that doesn't make for a pleasant trip.
There have also been horror stories about travelers being left behind at rest stops! This sounds very stressful and would put a wrench in your travel plans.
When using FlixBus, you also can have rowdy fellow passengers, and drivers aren't always in the best mood. Unlike planes, you will interact with your driver, and some travelers have noted negative experiences due to their driver.
Finally, the customer service aspect of FlixBus can be problematic. With little way to speak with a real person, they can't offer much real-time help. If your bus is canceled or doesn't arrive, there's no guarantee you'll receive assistance. Previous customers have said FlixBus is slow to respond to complaints or queries, primarily in issuing refunds.
FlixBus Customer Service
FlixBus is a mainly online company when it comes to customer service. While there is a press and media phone line, there isn't one to speak with a customer service representative. Instead, there is an online help page.
If your question isn't answered on that page, you'll need to fill out an online form.
FlixBus vs. Megabus
FlixBus is one of many big names in the bus business, and is often compared to Megabus. In 2022, Megabus Europe operations were incorporated into FlixBus. This means that if you're traveling in Europe, FlixBus is your best bus option.
In the US, Megabus offers slightly more routes than Flixbus, but Megabus doesn't have stops further West than Chicago. FlixBus does extend to the West coast, although destinations are still limited.
For travelers on a budget, both companies offer budget-friendly ticket options and good route options for environmentally friendly ways of traveling.
Is FlixBus worth it?
If you're looking for a low-cost way to travel with luggage or enjoy bus rides, FlixBus is an excellent option. The sheer volume of destinations served by FlixBus makes it easy to get around for travelers looking to cover lots of ground in Europe.
Even though FlixBus makes it convenient for the wallet to get around in Europe, it's not for everyone. With little customer service support, any problems will be difficult to fix quickly. It's also hard to ignore stories of travelers having journeys canceled due to no buses arriving.
With that in mind, FlixBus should be on your list for potential travel, but you should also compare other options for price and efficiency.
Our rating: 3.4/5
- Numerous destinations
- Budget-friendly ticket prices
- Free Wi-Fi
- Real time updates
- Not always reliable
- Limited US destinations
- Poor customer support
- Bus conditions
Hit the road with Pilot!
Whether FlixBus is your next purchased ticket or not, you deserve to have an organized adventure. One way to do that is to save all your documents and itineraries in one place.