Fly or ride?

By Varienaja on Thursday 23 January 2020 06:00 - Comments (18)
Category: public transport, Views: 2.564

So I'd like to visit my family in The Netherlands. During a weekend. I live in Switzerland. How do I do that in the most comfortable and affordable way?

Until a few years ago, the answer to question was an easy one: Nighttrain. Zürich to Amsterdam leaving at around 21:00, with arrival in Arnhem around 7:30 the next morning. There was a bar, you'd meet other people, you got breakfast in the morning. You got to shower from Köln to Düsseldorf. Nice! This meant I was with my family around 10:30 in the morning. Travel time: 13,5 hours. If I subtract the 8 hours I was in bed, you got 5,5 hours of effective travel time. The price typically was about 100 EUR. Back to Zürich is a comparable experience.

Then DB stopped operating their sleeper. The ÖBB took over, but unfortunately not the Zürich-Amsterdam line.

So I tried flying for some time. This meant leaving a bit early from work (15:30), so I could catch the 17:30 flight from Zürich to Amsterdam. With a bit of luck, the plane landed around 19:00, so I could catch the train to get to my family's place around 22:00. This gave me a travel time of 6,5 hours for around 150 EUR.
But this is not all. The way back stinks. A Sunday-night flight from Amsterdam to Zürich usually is more expensive than a Monday-morning flight plus a stay at some hotel at the airport. So the way back looked like a 2,5 hour train ride, a short night in the hotel and then the Monday-morning flight back to Zürich from 7:00 to 8:30. So the whole return journey took me from 20:00 until 9:30 the other day. Of which I could sleep some 7 hours. So all in all: 13,5 hours minus the 7 sleeping ones for an effective travel time of 6,5 hours. Price: 100 EUR for the flight + 100 EUR for the hotel.

This wasn't very satisfactory. So now I'm trying to give the train a new chance. In a few weeks I'll be leaving work Friday at 13:30. Arrival at 22:30 for a total travel time of 9 hours. The way back will be worse: leaving Sunday evening at 19:00, arrival at work Monday morning at 8:00. That makes 11 hours! And without a bed, I can't realistically subtract any sleeping hours. At least I don't have to get up and switch trains between 22:00 and 6:30. The price is good though: 75 EUR each way in 1st class. And I get to sit just behind the train driver from Basel until Köln, which is admittedly very cool.

I'll keep you posted about my experience. But I really wish the nighttrain back...
Prices and times are neatly rounded to the nearest 25 EUR or half hour.

Comments


By Tweakers user Torrentus, Thursday 23 January 2020 10:36

Not sure if you can comfortably sleep in a FlixBus, but that might be an option as well.
Quick check shows 39,99 for a direct route that takes you 12½ hours. https://i.imgur.com/9hdVMd3.png

By Tweakers user sys64738, Thursday 23 January 2020 11:52

That night train sounds pretty sweet. Too bad they stopped offering that service.

Flying is usually the cheapest solution due to it being promoted by our government (no taxes on tickets and fuel for some weird reason). But airlines no when people want to fly back and raise prices for those flights.

Difficult one. Traveling 9 hours by train during the day isn't ideal either. Though you can move around on a train, bring you laptop and do some work or watch movies.

By Tweakers user walteij, Thursday 23 January 2020 12:00

Torrentus wrote on Thursday 23 January 2020 @ 10:36:
Not sure if you can comfortably sleep in a FlixBus, but that might be an option as well.
Quick check shows 39,99 for a direct route that takes you 12½ hours. https://i.imgur.com/9hdVMd3.png
Flixbus doesn't get that positive reviews, when i read this review, it seems to me that sleeping is out of the question, because there is hardly any space:
Would I ride Flixbus again?
For an overnight journey: NEVER. When I take an overnight journey with a bus, I want to be able to sleep. Not to be squeezed between two seats and up against a window that has not been cleaned for several days. I could probably accept it on a shorter daytime journey of less than 3 hours. But that is all.
As for the travel trip between Arnhem and Zurich, if you have a car, the trip will take you 7.5 hours, but you will cross some tollroads.But, if you're driving a more recent diesel car (for reference sake a 2015 Opel Astra 1.7 CDTI, which will use about 5.5 liters of diesel per 100 km highway), the trip itself will cost you (at a diesel price of 1.50 per liter), fuelcosts will be aproximately 60 euro's, so including toll, it will cost you less then 100 euro's per trip, take about 7.5 hours of driving and you will have complete freedom of when you want to start your trip.

I know several people who also travel to Switserland several times a year for visiting relatives and/or friends, and they do prefer to use the car. Especially since they can then also use the car when they are in Switserland (of in your case, in NL).

Of course there are some other costs as well for maintaining the car and purchasing one, that you will need to consider.

By Tweakers user Sterk1, Thursday 23 January 2020 13:08

Goed voorstel om een diesel te kopen.
Die wagens zijn zo impopulair dat je er voor onder de 1000 euro makkelijk een betrouwbaar en redelijk zuinig exemplaar koopt (ik doe dat nu al 15 jaar zo).
Niet zo relaxed als een slaaptrein, maar beter dan het vliegtuig.
En inderdaad vervoer van deur tot deur en zonder stress van te laat komen.

Files vallen denk ik wel mee gezien de reistijden. Misschien vrijdag wat later vertrekken

By Tweakers user Varienaja, Thursday 23 January 2020 16:08

Torrentus wrote on Thursday 23 January 2020 @ 10:36:
Not sure if you can comfortably sleep in a FlixBus, but that might be an option as well.
Quick check shows 39,99 for a direct route that takes you 12½ hours. https://i.imgur.com/9hdVMd3.png
That is cheap indeed. But the travel time is much more. I'd need to get to Sloterdijk, which takes 3 hours. And then from Zürich to my office, which takes another half hour. So that makes 16 hours for the whole trip.

When travelling with the whole family, we rent a car most of the times. This comes to 40 Euro per day plus fuel for at least 1600 kilometres. But if time is short (like this one weekend) I don't want to be behind the wheel for such a long time.


By Tweakers user rikislief, Friday 24 January 2020 15:23

Flixbussen stoppen op meer plekken. ik weet niet of dat alleen voor die naar zurich geldt. Hier in eindhoven stoppen ze dicht bij het station.

By Tweakers user rikislief, Friday 24 January 2020 15:25

Flixbussen stoppen op meer plekken. ik weet niet of dat alleen voor die naar zurich geldt. Hier in eindhoven stoppen ze dicht bij het station.
*edit* net gekeken, eindhoven zurich en andersom is een nachtbus voor 40 euro. dertien uur reistijd

By Tweakers user Andros, Friday 24 January 2020 16:25

Overstappen kan natuurlijk ook, ik weet niet waar in NL je moet zijn? Sinds afgelopen week rijdt er een slaaptrein van Wenen naar Brussel die veel in het nieuws is geweest en uiteraard zijn er nog andere nachttreinen door Duitsland en de Alpen.

By Tweakers user timpy007, Saturday 25 January 2020 09:32

I'm living in CH since half a year and also experiencing the same 'problem'. If I go to NL for a longer time I take the car. In April I want to go for 2 or 3 days and then the drive is just not worth it for me. Train is not an option, too many step overs and takes a long time.
Flixbus I heard a lot of bad things about, many step overs and takes longer than the train.
Flying is the fastest, while you have to pay more if you want to fly at a specific time. Tho it's very taxing on the climate.

For now I'm thinking of flying and paying the extra money for the specific times. If the nighttrain was still there I would like to take that option.

By Tweakers user Sissors, Saturday 25 January 2020 10:38

Is flying however really that much worse for the environment than taking a car that far alone? If you are with several others I would directly agree with you, but if you take your car alone, then that also will not be such a great option.

Anyway: Why not both? If you can easily fly towards Netherlands, just fly. And take the train back. (Budget airlines generally are cheap for one way tickets too, regular airlines are ridiculous expensive if you don't book a roundtrip).

By Tweakers user flori9, Saturday 25 January 2020 16:00

You could consider taking the Nightjet 401 sleeper back from Hannover. It's absolutely not ideal and quite expensive, but you do get a lower effective travel time as you will be able to sleep.

From Amsterdam this takes 16 hours - 8 hours sleep = 8 effective hours, with a single change in Hannover. You can reduce this a bit if you're willing to change trains more often. It could also be shorter (or longer) depending on where your parents live in the Netherlands. You depart at 17:00 and arrive at 9:06 (or 8:26 if you change in Basel).

You do have two hours to change in Hannover, so you hopefully don't have to be too worried about delays.

If you have/buy a Bahncard 25 (€55/year), you can buy a flexible couchette ticket for €175 at oebb.at including the ticket from the Netherlands to Hannover. I think it should be possible to get cheaper Sparschiene tickets if you book in advance, but I do not see any at the moment.

I do hope the direct sleeper returns, that would be much better!

By Tweakers user Varienaja, Saturday 25 January 2020 16:35

I know that there are several (less favourable) possibilities to get from Zürich to Emmen in the north of the Netherlands.
  • Flixbus with a change in Frankfurt: cheap indeed but it takes a *lot* of time. Not good for just a weekend.
  • Cheap flight from Basel instead of Zürich, leave Saturday morning at 7: impossible to get to the airport with public transport at that time. I'd still need a night in a hotel. And I'd only reach my destination at 11 o' clock: not a good solution either for just a weekend trip
  • Use the night train from Zürich via Hannover: Changing trains at 5 in the morning is not ideal. And from Hannover to Emmen is still a long way. I've done this in combination with a rental car once. I was at my destination (Klazienaveen) at 8 in the morning. OK solution, but a bit expensive indeed.
I've already booked my trip from Zürich to Meppen for the 14th of February some time ago. I'll let you know how it was. I'm especially curious about the 'red eye' journey back home to Switzerland.

By Tweakers user Blokker_1999, Sunday 26 January 2020 06:24

Sissors wrote on Saturday 25 January 2020 @ 10:38:
Is flying however really that much worse for the environment than taking a car that far alone? If you are with several others I would directly agree with you, but if you take your car alone, then that also will not be such a great option.

Anyway: Why not both? If you can easily fly towards Netherlands, just fly. And take the train back. (Budget airlines generally are cheap for one way tickets too, regular airlines are ridiculous expensive if you don't book a roundtrip).
short answer: yes
Long answer: It depends on the number of people in the car, how much luggage, ... . If you travel the distance all alone, it's going to be similar, the moment you are +1, the airplane becomes a lot more polluting compared to the car. And all of that is of course only looking at CO2. But even then I'd still recommend driving. The reason being that if just a few hundred people decide to not take a flight, you can cancel a flight.

In March I'm taking a red eye myself back to Dubai, leaving on Saturday, landing somewhere after midnight, be home around 1 in the morning and get up at 8 to be in the office at 9. Wonder what that will be like.

By Tweakers user Sterk1, Sunday 26 January 2020 21:49

Vraagje,
Waarom zo geforceerd in het Engels formuleren?

Als ik zo naar de zinsconstructies kijk is van iedereen (inclusief de topicstarter) Nederlands de moedertaal.

By Tweakers user Blokker_1999, Monday 27 January 2020 08:40

Omdat men soms er voor kiest om een blogpost in het Engels neer te pennen, potentieel om mensen die ze zelf kennen er ook naar toe te linken. Dan is het wel zo netjes als men de comments ook kan lezen.

By Tweakers user Sterk1, Monday 27 January 2020 09:09

Gezien het niveau voldoet dan Google Translate ook.

By Tweakers user Andros, Thursday 30 January 2020 15:22

Sterk1 wrote on Monday 27 January 2020 @ 09:09:
Gezien het niveau voldoet dan Google Translate ook.
Volledig mee eens. Ik zie dit vaker voorbij komen op tweakblogs en ik snap het echt niet. Iedereen is hier Nederlandstalig op een Nederlandstalige website, gebruik die taal gewoon dat we elkaar beter begrijpen. Zelfs expats in Nederland klagen dat ze de taal niet kunnen leren. Niet omdat Nederlands moeilijk is (wat het ook is) maar omdat veel Nederlanders de hele rare neiging hebben om bij het minste van een vreemd accent direct steenkolenengels of iets anders te gaan lullen wat nergens meer over gaat. Ergens gewoon stukje zelfhaat en minderwaardigheidscomplex oid? :? :+

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