Travel to Europe is back in full force this summer and the continent is gearing up for a record-breaking season. With flights and accommodations at record-high prices, travelers are already looking for any way to cut costs while traveling.
Conveniently, two popular European countries have just launched unlimited travel passes that will have benefits beyond keeping more cash in tourists' pockets.
On May 1st, both Germany and Hungary launched new travel passes to encourage more travel on public transportation.
Both locals and tourists will be able to take advantage of the deeply discounted rates to travel within each country. But there are a few things tourists will need to know before setting out on their journeys.
What Travelers Need To Know About The New “Germany Ticket”
For just $52 per month, travelers can make unlimited journeys on public transportation networks throughout the country. That means regional rail, public buses, trams, and the metro are all fair game for pass holders.
There is, however, one limitation travelers who intend on purchasing the pass need to know about. Long-distance coaches and privately operated trains and buses, including the high-speed inter-city ICE trains, are not part of the program.
The new Germany Ticket is replacing last summer’s popular program, where public transportation tickets were available for just $10. While the new pass isn’t quite as cheap as last year’s, it is still a great deal, especially for tourists who plan on taking advantage of Germany’s extensive transit system.
Tickets can be purchased on BVG’s website – however, there are a few things you need to know first:
- Passes must be purchased before the 20th day of the month before you plan to use it
- The monthly tickets are valid for each calendar month, meaning it might not be suitable for tourists traveling during a short period that spans two months (for example, arriving for a week-long trip on June 27th and leaving on July 4th)
- Children under 6 are free
- Passes will automatically renew, so if you aren’t staying in Germany long-term, be sure to cancel the subscription before the 20th of the month
What Travelers Need To Know About Hungary’s New Travel Cards
Hungary has just launched two different travel cards, both of which are available for tourists to purchase. The National Travel Card costs $54 per month, while the County Travel Card is just $27. Anyone with a valid student ID, including foreign citizens, are eligible for a 90% discount on the price of the passes.
National Travel Cards allow for unlimited travel on all train lines operated by the MÁV-START, MÁV-HÉV, and GYSEV and bus services on Volánbusz. The pass does not cover municipal services, however, meaning that it can’t be used for travel within a city.
So, for example, if you are traveling throughout Hungary and want to spend a few days in Budapest, you’ll need to buy an additional ticket.
Alternatively, Hungary’s $27 County Travel Cards are available for use within any of the nation’s 19 counties, so if you are only staying within one region and plan to use bus or rail services between cities in that one county this pass is a good option.
Tickets can be purchased in person at ticket offices across the country, on the MÁV app, or onboard buses. There are a few things you should know before purchasing tickets:
- If you only plan on visiting just one city in Hungary this pass is not for you. The tickets are not valid for travel within cities, just between them.
- Anyone with a valid student ID will receive a hefty discount – the cost of a National Ticket is reduced to $5.40 per month, while the County Pass will cost students just $2.70 per month.
- The passes will not cover first-class travel on trains
Benefits Of The Passes
Promoting increased use of public transportation has many benefits beyond simply keeping more money in the pockets of citizens and visitors.
Traveling by public transit is better for the environment – keeping more cars off the road and reducing air pollution. Cities with traffic congestion problems can alleviate some pressure on their roads when more people use trains or buses.
Additionally, as a tourist, you typically see more when traveling by train allowing you to take in beautiful countryside vistas, or experience urban life like the locals do.
Hopefully, more countries will follow Germany and Hungary’s lead and offer more affordable public transportation options that tourists and locals are eligible to use.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.