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ABOVE: Eurolines buses are a cheap alternative to Eurostar when you're traveling between London and the Continent.

Tip 2: Shop carefully for intercity transportation.

If you're mostly visiting cities and aren't traveling with a large family or group, think twice before tying yourself down with a rental car that you won't be using while you're in town. Instead, use railroads or European budget airlines like Ryanair, EasyJet, Air Berlin, and Transavia to get from city to city.

If you take the train, determine your needs and comparison-shop before spending money on a rail pass. For example, a first-class European Global Pass or InterRail pass will cost an adult hundreds of dollars or pounds. That's great when you're on the rails constantly, but it's an expensive luxury if you're spending most of your time in cities.

When you're traveling in just one country, you might be better off with a single-country or regional railpass. You might even be better off with point-to-point tickets bought locally, if you're traveling relatively short distances or are taking only a handful of train trips.

To learn more about rail passes and train travel in Europe, see our European Rail Passes article.

Finally, if you're on a really tight budget, consider bus travel. From London, Eurolines has cheap fares to the Continent, and its parent company--National Express--offers competitive fares within the UK.

If you need a car, be smart about rentals.

Our booking partner, Auto Europe, is a broker that has specialized in European car rentals for more than 50 years. It has a "lowest rate guarantee" and offers 24-hour, toll-free international customer service by phone.

If you're driving in Europe for 21 days or longer, you may be better off with a short-term tourist lease (also called a "buyback"). This can be a better deal than a car rental, since rates tend to be lower and all insurance fees are included. The only disadvantages are a smaller number of pickup and drop-off points in Europe and the fact that short-term leases aren't available to residents of the EU.

Photo copyright © Eurolines.


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