Is Flixbus reliable?
That was my first question when my friend Smoky suggested we use it on our European adventure.
Flixbus is significantly cheaper than taking a train or a flight between cities, so I was inclined to give it a try because when deciding how much money to travel Europe for 3 months, the answer was as little as possible.
This was still true even though the idea of taking a bus in a country I didn’t speak the language made my travel anxiety flare up.
Would I be able to find my stop? Would the bus leave early? If it’s delayed, does that mean it’s actually going to come? Will the Flixbus bathroom be clean? What if we get stuck in traffic and I lose a whole day at my destination?
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This stems from the fact that I took buses in college a lot. Usually from my sleepy Western Massachusetts campus into Boston or down into NYC. I found them to be kind of icky and delayed like seven times out of ten. Bus stations also tend to stress me out simply because of the mere chaos of it all.
Flixbus is all about rebranding buses.
Is Flixbus Reliable? An Honest Flixbus Review
The Flixbus team promises clean, eco-friendly buses with free wifi. The stops seemed easy enough to find and the prices (starting at 5 Euro!) couldn’t be beaten.
So I bought my tickets and hoped for the best.
Here’s my honest Flixbus review:
Berlin to Amsterdam Flixbus Review
Finding the stop: Easy
Punctuality of the Flixbus: Left on time
I took an overnight Flixbus from Berlin to Amsterdam because I wanted to save money on accommodations. It took about eleven hours and I was dreading it, but as we pulled into Sloterdijk, I actually said to the girl next to me, “Wow, that actually wasn’t as bad as I thought.”
It wasn’t bad at all, actually.
Flixbus Berlin to Amsterdam normally leaves from the central Alexanderplatz stop (among others in the city — including the most used stop: Berlin Central Bus Station), but because of the Berlin Marathon, the stop was relocated. I got multiple emails from Flixbus with the exact coordinates of the “pop-up stop,” so it was straightforward to find.
I even tweeted them to confirm (hello, travel anxiety) and the social media team responded within the hour to put me at ease.
Munich to Prague Flixbus Review
Finding the stop: Easy
Punctuality of the Flixbus: Left on time
After a little too much fun at Oktoberfest, Smoky and I were headed to the fairy tale city of Prague. The Flixbus stops at Munich Central Bus Station are very easy to find. You can take the SBAHN to Hackerbrücke and then it’s like a two-minute walk to the stops. Everything is labeled and there are plenty of places to eat or shop while waiting for your bus.
One thing to note: when Flixbus is on time, it’s ON TIME. We rolled out of the station at our exact departure time and not a second later. So is Flixbus reliable? In this instance, yes.
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Prague to Vienna Flixbus Review
Finding the stop: Hard
Punctuality of the Flixbus: Left early
The Flixbus stop at Prague Main Railway Station was difficult to find. I think this because we came in the “grand entrance” at the front of the station, so to find it, we had to walk allll the way to the back of the station, and up some stairs. The actual stop is on a strip in the middle of the road behind the station.
We had to ask for lots of help and ran around like beheaded chickens for a bit, but we did eventually find it. If you are departing from Prague ÚAN Florenc, I wouldn’t worry as it’s small and manageable, but if you’re leaving from the station, give yourself some extra time to find your stop.
This bus actually left about six minutes before it was “supposed” to. Smoky and I figured it was because we were the only two ticketed passengers due to board in Prague, as there were only ten other people on the double-decker bus, so there wasn’t a point in waiting around.
Is Flixbus reliable? Not if you don’t have a ticket! If the driver doesn’t even know you’re coming, he won’t wait for you, so make sure to buy your ticket at least an hour or so in advance.
Vienna t0 Bratislava Flixbus Review
Finding the stop: Moderate
Punctuality of the Flixbus: Over an hour late, so we bailed.
The Flixbus stops at Vienna Erdberg are relatively easy to find since we were dropped off from Prague in the same general area, but I say “moderate” because we never actually found our bus stop.
We were only doing a day trip to Bratislava, so we didn’t have too much time to spare and it was FREEZING outside (the terminal is basically a wind tunnel), so when we saw that our bus was going to be over an hour late, we knew we needed a plan B.
Thankfully, there was another Flixbus just sitting there that was also going to Bratislava, so Smoky and I decided to forfeit our original tickets and buy new ones from the driver. The 7 Euro for the new ticket was worth it to get out of the cold and get on our way.
How to change a Flixbus ticket
Doing a Flixbus change ticket is super simple these days, but we didn’t end up doing that because we were late and cold.
If you want to keep your money and not spend more, you can change your booking up to 15 minutes before the departure time via Manage My Booking on the app or website. You can change your departure/arrival time or place (as long as it’s within the same city).
Bratislava to Budapest Flixbus Review
Finding the stop: Easy
Punctuality of the Flixbus: Over an hour late
My travel anxiety flared up in a major way over this bus to Budapest, but it turns out it was for nothing. I wish I was more like Smoky. Calm, cool, collected…confident that the bus would come. Because it did. It was reaaaaally late, but it came exactly when the app said it would.
The Most SNP Flixbus stop in Bratislava isn’t somewhere I’d like to be after dark since it’s kind of just under a bridge, but as we were there during the daylight hours it was fine.
The Bratislava Central Bus Station, however, is really nice. Like really nice. Like free wifi, clean AF free bathrooms, and free luggage storage nice. I would almost consider it a tourist attraction on its own.
We did make the mistake of sitting across from the Flixbus bathroom on the bus to Budapest. Don’t do this y’all. Every time we went over a bump, the door would fly open. It was almost really embarrassing, but luckily we didn’t see anyone inside.
So, is Flixbus Reliable?
The final verdict on whether Flixbus is legit or not is yes. At least I think so. It’s cheap, relatively clean, and relatively on time. But, you do get what you pay for. Don’t expect 5-star service.
Does the Flixbus Wifi Work? (The dreaded Flixbus wifi limit)
Yes! The Flixbus wifi worked great on every single ride. However, to keep things moving quickly, there is a Flixbus wifi limit.
Be sure to download your audiobooks and Netflix episodes beforehand, then put your phone on airplane mode and only use the wifi when you really need to. There are also power outlets on board to charge your phone.
Is Flixbus Dirty? (Especially the Flixbus bathrooms)
I didn’t think so.
The buses I took were nicer than some of the trains I’ve been on, honestly. I even actually used the bathroom on the way from Berlin to Amsterdam. I remember being like “Wow, how suspicious. It’s really clean in here…too clean.”
There was toilet paper provided, but you should always bring your own as well. On the way from Bratislava to Budapest, someone dropped the roll…wouldn’t want to use that one. Having some wet wipes or tissues with you while traveling is always a good idea, for all of life’s incidentals.
Is Flixbus legit?
Yes, Flixbus is legit. It’s a great option for traveling Europe cheaply. I found the passengers to be mostly other backpackers and the drivers polite and helpful.
Is Flixbus safe?
Flixbus is safe, yes. Well, as safe as any other bus. Be sure to always wear your seatbelt while on board and don’t leave your valuables out while sleeping or going to the bathroom.
Flixbus vs Megabus
Both are similar in price and route, so there isn’t too much difference in the Flixbus vs Megabus debate. When choosing, I think the main difference to look out for is the timetable. Just pick the one with the stop closest to your accommodation and the best time for you. Other than that, the punctuality, safety, and cleanliness were all very similar to me.
Is Flixbus cheap?
Yes, Flixbus is one of the cheapest ways to travel. When you are thinking about how much money to travel Europe for 3 months, or six months, or even just 2 weeks, taking the bus can save you hundreds of Euros.
Honest Flixbus review: Should I use Flixbus?
I would use it again! Yes, two of our buses were really delayed and we had some hiccups finding some of the stops, but Flixbus buses are just that…buses. They are subjected to things outside their control like weather and traffic. If the bus is going to be late, the Flixbus app lets you know and updates itself in real-time. The drivers we met were kind and helpful. The buses were clean.
For me, that makes up for it.
If you’re looking to save some money on your next trip to Europe (and across America these days), I would recommend looking into Flixbus. Just prepare to be flexible.
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