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props to the budget airlines

the two things that have fundamentally changed about europe since 8 years ago (the last time i spent any significant amount of time here):

1. the inter-EU integration: the launch of the euro, the simplified customs and immigration between EU countries, the number of EU residents spending time visiting or living in other EU countries.

2. the rise of the budget airlines.

the budget airlines have really made an impact on how people (even backpackers) move through europe. instead of long, leisurely train rides that take days to complete and involve getting to know the complete strangers who also were assigned to your compartment, you now arrive at your destination within a few hours without having to do so much as talk with the anonymous seatmates on your flight.

due to the fact that taking a budget flight is usually much cheaper than taking a train to your destination, this pretty much ensures that today's budget traveller will be flying instead of taking a train. since i got a great dose of train riding taking the trans-mongolian train from beijing to budapest, i can't complain of a lack of train riding on this trip, but it definitely is a change.

in the process of all this flight booking, i've discovered two search engines that are excellent at finding cheap european airfares (not an easy task, since the usual US-based travel sites are not very good at finding these airfares), and wanted to share them with you: skyscanner and openjet. (and if you're looking for online european rail ticket info, rail europe is handy, although they often you can get the ticket for less money if you buy it directly at the train station) these sites have been really handy to me when trying to find flights, hopefully you'll find them useful as well the next time you visit europe.

Comments (2)


Have you tried the travel search engine Trabber? is a quite useful web2.0 application. Here is the address: www.trabber.com


dan: thanks for the suggestion! i'll definitely check it out when i get to a country with a fast internet connection. ;)

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