“I’m planning to go rogue and backpack in Europe for a month. What’s the best, most economical way to get around there? — Tyler S., Ann Arbor, MI
If you’re visiting major cities in Europe, train’s the way to go.
Airlines tease you with cheap fares and short flights, but consider this: Take a train from Brussels to Berlin, and you pay just the cost of the ticket to go from city center to city center. But if you fly, even on a budget airline, you have to travel to and from airports, pay additional fees (cheap airlines score by charging for things like extra bags and reserved seats), go through security… so the train’s clearly the better value.
And that’s doubly true with a Eurail Pass, which gives you the biggest bang for your buck whether you’re a student or not (and if you’re under 26, there’s a youth fare!). You can see most of the Continent—28 countries, western, central, and Balkans—with few restrictions.
It’s available only outside of Europe, so get it asap. Nothing’s better than stepping off a train into a stunning, centuries-old city.