(Full disclaimer: GoEuro have contacted me directly to ask me to discuss their website. That being said, I receive no money or compensation for writing this post. I simply found their website interesting enough to share with other Slow Travelers.)
One of the keys to Slow Travel is learning to let go of the plan. This can be particularly hard when it comes to transport, because there are so many unknowns when moving around. What’s the best mode of transportation to go from point A to point B? How long do each take?
Comparing options typically mean searching for every mode of transportation individually, then comparing prices and schedules. But wouldn’t it be nice to combine all these into a single search engine?
That’s what the people at GoEuro are trying to accomplish. The principle is simple: you enter your starting city or town, and where you want to go, and the search engine tells you how long and how expensive each of the available options are.
How it works
As an example, in 2003, I visited London, UK, and spent a few hours trying to find the best way to hop over to Edinburgh for the weekend. Back then, this involved a fair bit of web searching and leafing through guidebooks. Here’s the same information I found back then, brought up by a ten-second search on GoEuro:
The price for driving is for fuel and rental costs. Clearly, renting a car to drive to Edinburgh would be neither economical nor a time saver, but the ability to stop and take in the scenery might be worth the extra charge. I would have assumed that flying would have been the quickest option, but it turns out that transit on both ends makes flying essentially as slow as the train, and it’s nowhere near as pleasant.
Unfortunately, buses don’t show up on the system ye, at least not for the UK. I know for a fact that there are super-cheap buses between London and Edinburgh, although they take twice as long as the train to reach their destination. I had found them in 2003, and decided the price of a train ticket was cheap enough that I didn’t need to consider a grueling bus ride.
Caveat and a wishlist
I look forward to the day when all train and bus networks are part of the system; I’d love to be able to map out a journey by train or bus, say, from Paris to Budapest, or even down to Macedonia.
Also, it would be awesome if the site featured the ability to search using flexible dates, in the manner of Skyscanner: instead of entering a start date, I’d like to search for the best price over the course of an entire month, and plan my journey accordingly.
But overall, this system is very promising for Slow travelers to Europe. Here’s hoping it takes off, and we can start planning journeys from, say, Singapore to Beijing in a similar fashion!