Germany’s discount bus craze: How I scored a €1 bus trip from Berlin to Bremen

Posted in: Berlin Planning

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Berlin ZOB
Book a super cheap fare on new bus companies like Flix that leave from Berlin ZOB station. Photo: Sarkana

Berlin’s ZOB bus station is a hub that can take you to other German cities and beyond for a very economical price. But just how cheap? I recently traveled from Berlin to Bremen and back again for just €1 each way.

That’s not a misprint: €1 for about a five-hour journey. Within Berlin’s public transportation network, I can’t even take a short ride of three stops for that price! How could I possibly score a four-hour bus ride so cheaply?

Discount bus companies in Germany

We recently published an article about discount buses being the newest budget travel trend in Germany. That article explains the hows and whys of this development, but it’s simply important for travel consumers to be aware that there is a lot of new competition and growth in this market, which means that until the dust has settled, there will be excellent deals to be found!

Use social media to find a deal

I then followed more of my own sage advice about using social media channels to score travel discounts. I “liked” each of the bus companies I could find on Facebook like Berlin Linien Bus, MeinFernBus and ADAC Postbus. In short order, I received a Facebook offer to book tickets on FlixBus for just €1.

Too good to be true? Read the fine print

No stranger to the limits in the small print, I examined the offer carefully to make sure I wouldn’t somehow get burned. Here’s what I discovered:

• The €1 tickets were available on new routes only, many of which did not include Berlin.

• The low-price offer was only available during a given week or two-week period.

My schedule allowed for an impromptu last-minute trip, but the routes were to smaller cities I knew nothing about. So I got out my guidebook and a map and I dug a bit further.

I discovered that the new routes in question all traveled via Bremen. FlixBus’s terms and conditions clearly allowed for boarding flexibility—which is to say, you are allowed to exit the bus at any earlier stop on your outbound journey and board the bus at any later stop on your return journey. So though my tickets were ostensibly to Oldenburg and back, I could also use the same tickets to travel just to Bremen for €1 each way.

Their conditions also allow the transportation of luggage at no additional cost, so I wasn’t going to pay €1 for my butt and €5 for my suitcase, either.

I didn’t hesitate—I booked it right away!

About the author

Hilary Bown

An academic by training, a writer by day, and a Cheapo by heritage, Hilary Bown's meagre means and insatiable travel appetite have helped her sharpen her "no-budget travel" skills across the European continent over the past decade. At home in Berlin or on an adventure abroad, you'll find her in sandals, riding the bus, reading novels while walking, drinking the local wine, writing out postcards with a felt-tip pen, and browsing the shelves of the supermarket and hardware store. Find her unique blend of travel adventure and tested advice at Less Than a Shoestring.

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