If you are looking for an affordable and easy way to travel around Europe, Flixbus is a great option to consider for travelling long distance and between major city hubs. It is particularly useful where train services are not available or are excessively expensive. I used it to get between Faro, Portugal and Seville, Spain, which otherwise would have required a flight.
Booking your ticket
You can book your Flixbus ticket online through their website or mobile app. Simply enter your departure and arrival destinations, travel dates, the number of passengers, and you will be shown a list of available routes and prices. You should know that Flixbus DOES offer discounts from time to time. The easiest way to see these is to sign-up to their newsletter on their website, or download the mobile app and switch on notifications (notifications are how discounts are sent).
Boarding the bus
On the day of your journey, make sure to arrive at the bus stop at least 15 minutes ahead of the scheduled departure time. I like to arrive even earlier than this. It can be difficult to work out exactly where your bus will stop unless you’re using a proper terminus with assigned bays. The pick-up spot in Faro was NOT marked. Look carefully at the bus stop information on your ticket or on the booking confirmation email. There may be a Flixbus sign, or buses going to other destinations. Flixbus staff will respond to any questions you have. If the pick-up spot is not super clear, it can mean that people stand around and hope to be able to spot the incoming bus first, so that they get to pick the best seat.
The website will indicate if you can pick a pre-assigned seat or not (I was not able to) and, as I was placing luggage in the compartment under the bus, people with hand luggage only were able to board first. My seat was *fine* – it could have been cleaned a little better and the seat beside me was stuck in the recline mode.
Flixbus advertises a range of amenities onboard their buses. These include free Wi-Fi and outlets for charging your devices. There may also be an onboard toilet, air conditioning and some seats with extra legroom. The majority of European buses have seatbelts and you are expected to use them.
The foot well is about the same as on a Ryanair flight. It might be a little tight if the passenger in front of you reclines their seat.
Flixbus allows each passenger to bring one carry-on bag and one ‘checked’ bag free of charge. The larger bag must be stored underneath the bus. The carry-on bag should technically be small enough to fit under the seat in front of you, while the checked bag should not exceed 67cm x 50cm x 27cm in size and 30kg in weight. You will have to be able to lift and store your own bags. Additional bags or oversized luggage may incur extra fees. My hand luggage was my regular airline cabin bag and it was TOO big to fit under the seat or on the overhead shelf. However, there was nobody beside me, so this wasn’t a big issue.
Tips for a comfortable journey
To make an extended journey with Flixbus more comfortable, it may be wise to:
- Bring snacks and drinks with you, as there won’t be food available on board.
- Pack a comfy pillow or warm sweater if you choose to sleep during the journey.
- Bring entertainment options such as a book, music, or a tablet to keep you occupied.
Arrival at your destination
Usually, the Flixbus Driver will announce each upcoming stop over the microphone. This will allow you time to get ready to disembark. If you are getting off before the final stop, carefully gather all your possessions and be ready to disembark quickly. The bus does not hang around! The driver will provide assistance if you have questions.
Using Flixbus in Europe is one affordable way to get between larger towns and cities without hiring a car, taking a more expensive train or flying. You should have a good time if you book your ticket in advance, arrive at the stop early and bring snacks! Safe travels.