Transport – Train, Flight and Bus
In The Netherlands, traveling is definitely an easy task to better understand the cities. The most convenient way is to get an OV-chip card at the train station, which is similar to Octopus Card in Hong Kong and simply speaking a transport card. It’s €7.5 for the anonymous one and for the personal one which is more complicated has to contact the student office in the university but there is some travel discounts you can enjoy with the card.
It’s normal to travel by train. In Netherlands, NS train and Veolia are two most common trains. For NS train, it’s highly recommended to buy group ticket by asking and joining the group on Facebook – NS Group Ticket. This definitely saves a lot as the return group ticket for 10 people is just €70 altogether.
Forget to check out
If you forget to check out when traveling just easily go to the OV card website to trace your transaction record and ask for refund which will be transferred to your bank account. But it’s just invalid for NS train, in this case you can just directly chat with the NS officer on Facebook.
To cross the broader, budget airline is definitely the fastest but cheap way. Here I recommend some of the airlines:
1. Ryan Air
Most of the time, there is cheap ticket starting from €5. The ticket is cheap not because it’s unsafe but in fact they earn from the checkin and luggage requirement. Online check in between 30 days and 2 hours prior to departure is a must. Also, brooding pass has to be printed out and ask for stamping at the check in counter when arrive. Otherwise, additional charge of €90 will be charged which raised the price of your cheap ticket!
Also, do check the size of your bag as oversized hand carry bag is punished for €45.
2. Easy jet
Another budget airline but much more professional in a sense that it’s just like the normal airline. Can either check in online or at the airport, if check in online, just print the broading pass and go directly to the gate, no stamping is needed.
Bus is always the cheapest way to get around the countries.
I took Flixbus the most as it departs directly from Maastricht train station to Liege, Brussels and Paris. At the same time, mobile check in is possible and you can always can €3 discount voucher from the ISN office. If you have to cancel the ticket, simply do it online and you can get a voucher for the same amount you paid with one year validity.
If you book the ticket at least 3 months earlier, it’s possible to get a €1 ticket (my friend got one from Brussels to Munich for the Oktoberfest). But the space is a bit narrower than Flixbus and you have to print hard copy for the ticket.
Online booking involves a one-time €3 reservation fee so try to group your booking to save more. Check in must be done with the driver with hard copy ticket and if there is an office nearby, have to check in with the counter staff and get a access pass to get in the bus. There’s socket in the bus so no worry if your phone has no battery.
I took Euroline from Brussels Nord to Lille at €12 one way, excluding the reservation fee but my friend said OuiBus is way cheaper at €9 one way from Brussels as well do try to search for more bus line of possible.
Stay tuned and more information about my exchange journey will be shared!!