I was caught in a circus show, where the bus driver was the director, whipping the audience into place, making them jump through hoops in order to be seated on a tiny pedestal. The hoops were the baggage regulations and the mood was rather sour. Germans can be quite strict and that includes bus travel through Germany.
Please note, I have only ever used FlixBus to bus travel in Germany, so that is the focus of this post. This is not sponsored. If you got no time to read, pin it for later.
Baggage Can be an Issue
Generally, German bus travel is not that complicated. You buy a ticket, you show the driver your receipt, you get on the bus. I am not sure of the traffic controls got worse, the drivers grumpier or the customers more complainier (is that a word?), but the luggage situation on German buses seemed to become quite the hot topic.
Before you board you need to hand over your luggage and can keep hold of a small day bag or purse. Just one item is allowed on board – even if you just carry your jacket in a shoulder bag. When you book your ticket, you have to agree to the terms and conditions, which is where the regulations are stated. So have no excuse even if you play ignorant or really didn’t read up on the baggage restrictions. If a road control sees your luggage on the floor, you’ll be fined 27€.
Generally your [FlixBus] ticket includes the free transportation of:
- One item of hand baggage (max. 42 x 30 x 18 cm, max. 7kg)
- 2 items of baggage (max. 67 x 50 x 27 cm, max. combined weight 30kg)
You can take one or two medium sized suitcase or rucksacks with you [on Eurolines buses] and these will be stored securely in the hold. They should be no more than 70(h) x 30 (w) x 45cm (d). Luggage allowances may vary by service and you should check individual timetables for full details. You are also allowed one small piece of hand luggage which you can carry onboard. This should fit in the over head rack or under your seat.
Where to Book Your Bus Ticket for Germany
If you want to travel with a bus through Germany, you basically have just two options. The market leader is FlixBus. You cannot miss it, it’s bright green and flits all over the country. I even spotted them when I travelled by bus through Croatia. They’ve expanded quite a bit. Altenatively, you can book your bus with Eurolines. Though FlixBus is usually cheaper. Both bus companies operate internationally and you can buy tickets on- and offline.
When travelling within Germany, you basically just have 2 options: FlixBus and Eurolines. – Tweet this
The good thing is that German bus travel is quite affordable. You can ride a bus for as little as 5€ (if you’re lucky) and it is way cheaper than taking a train in Germany. As with German train travel, the sooner you book in advance, the cheaper it gets. Though sometimes you only save 2€. Still, that’s an ice cream – or a bottle of water if you want to buy one on board.
Price examples: Berlin – Munich 28-85€ | Hamburg – Cologne 17,90- 61,90 €
What You Should Know about the Buses in Germany
German buses are quite clean, have a toilet and small compartments above the seats. Seats aren’t allocated, so you need to be fast if you want your dream seat. With FlixBus, tickets can be printed or shown digitally on your phone. The bar code is what needs to be clearly scannable. There is even an app from which you can manage your bookings easily.
All buses are commonly equipped with wifi. It should be noted, however, that it is not the fastest and its frequency depends on your current location. If you cross borders, such as on your way to Prague, it can stop working. At times, you can even access a small entertainment selection when you’re logged in. At the moment, you only accept the terms and conditions and don’t have to provide your name and email address. Note, however, that it changes constantly.
Changing or Cancelling Your German Bus Travels
One thing I really love is how easy it is to change or cancel bookings with FlixBus. Up until 15 minutes before the bus ride, you can change or cancel. For both, there will be an administration fee of only 1€. When you cancel, the price you paid will be credited to your account and used when you book next.
If you cancel or change your booking in person at a FlixBus counter, there will be an additional fee of 2€. Since FlixBus usually has working wifi (though often slow), try doing it online first if you have the time and patience.
Alternatives to bus travel in Germany are Blabla Car (arranged lifts with strangers via an online platform), train travel or hitchhiking (it is not that common anymore).
Have you ever travelled by bus in Germany? I would love to hear about your experiences.
Image credit header and pin image: FlixBus