Now the Eurail Pass has some competition on the highways

NEW YORK -- For budget-minded travelers to Europe -- especially the youthful backpack set -- seeking an alternative to the Eurail Pass, Busabout offers a road-based solution with its Flexi-Pass bus passes.

The London-based company -- a subsidiary of Travel Corp., which owns such tour operators as Contiki, Trafalgar Tours and Insight Travel -- started the program in Europe last year and introduced it to the U.S. on June 1.

Busabout uses 28 deluxe motorcoaches to link 60 European cities through a series of interconnected routes and schedules with set departures. "We're positioning it directly against rail travel," said Ed Dischler, national sales manager at Busabout. "The gimmick is that our pricing structure is up to 30% cheaper."

Prices start at $285 for 15 days of travel taken within a two-month period, $380 for 21 days of travel within three months and $465 for 30 days of travel within four months.

However, those seeking the flexibility of the multiple daily departures afforded by rail travel will be disappointed by a bus schedule in which departures are typically every other day.

"It's really for someone who is backpacking around Europe," said Dischler. "The buses stop at the preferred youth hostel in each city we visit."

While traveling between destinations, travelers can tap the services of an on-board Busabout representative, who can help make accommodations and sightseeing arrangements. Upon arrival in a city, passengers who want to stay at the youth hostel can take advantage of Busabout's preferred relationships, which enables it to block space there for its clients.

A Bedabout 10-night voucher program also is available and is priced at $14 per night for select hostels, bungalows and tent sites.

Busabout also created a Web site that its clients can use to exchange e-mail messages and compare notes on their travel experiences. "Our clients are very Internet-savvy," said Dischler. "A lot of youth hostels have e-mail capability and, if not, there is generally an Internet cafe, usually within a block or two."

Busabout Flexi-Passes are commissionable at 15%, and the Bedabout vouchers are commissionable at 10%.

Additional packages to the Greek Isles, Morocco, Spain's Balearic Islands and eastern Europe also are available as add-ons to the Flexi-Pass.

Phone: (800) 664-4046
E-mail: [email protected]

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI