The Berlin to Amsterdam Flixbus is one of the many overnight bus options available throughout Europe. If you are backpacking Europe on a shoestring budget or just trying to save some time by combining transportation and accommodation, an overnight bus could be a good fit for you.
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, Germany
The Berlin to Amsterdam Flixbus (and other similar routes) essentially functions as a long haul flight. You go to sleep in one location and wake up in another.
Here are the good parts:
Saving on accommodation
The best possible reason for wanting to take an overnight Flixbus (or the like) would be to save money by combining your transportation and accommodation for one evening. Depending on your level of accommodation (hostel or Airbnb) and your location in Europe (Northern, Eastern, etc.) this could be anywhere from $20 to over $100 saved.
The Heineken Experience in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
No “wasting” daylight
Assuming your time in abroad is limited, it can be frustrating to waste an entire day on a bus or a train waiting to arrive in a new destination when you would rather be out exploring it. When you take an overnight bus in Europe, you can avoid this by zipping between locales when everything cool is closed anyway.
Berlin Cathedral in Berlin, Germany
No trekking to the airport
Most Flixbus stops are in central locations throughout the city, so you don’t have to worry about the added expense and time of getting all the way out to the airport from the city center. You just show up 15 minutes early, hop on your bus, and then you’re off.
Taking an overnight bus in Europe is always cheaper than flying (especially when you add in the expenses of getting out to the airport) and usually cheaper than a train. When I took the Berlin to Amsterdam Flixbus, I paid 37 Euro for my approximately 11-hour journey.
Just like an long haul flight, you might not get too much sleep on an overnight Flixbus — it just depends on how creative (and tired!) you are. The Flixbus seats are comfortable and do recline more than seats on a airplane, so if you can sleep at a 45 degree angle, you’ll be fine.
There is lots of leg of room on a Flixbus, too, so if you need to stretch out your legs to sleep, you will be accommodated. I am 5’6″ (about 1.68 meters) tall and had plenty of space. If you’re taller, just sit on the aisle seat to stretch your legs.
If your bus is empty side, the best spot to sleep is on the second level in the back row, stretched out across all the seats.
Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany
You could sleep through your stop
When I took the Berlin to Amsterdam Flixbus, I got on at the first stop and off at the last, but we made many stops in between, like in Hamburg, Germany and Groningen, Netherlands. If you’ve booked to one of these smaller “on the way ” stops, you should set an alarm for about 30 minutes before the arrival time on your ticket. This way, even if the bus is running ahead of schedule, you won’t sleep through your stop.
I thought that getting from Berlin to Amsterdam was going to one of the tricker parts of planning my trip in Europe, but it was actually one of the easiest thanks to Flixbus. I was scheduled to leave from the Berlin Alexanderplatz Flixbus stop, but due to the Berlin Marathon, the bus stop was relocated for the day. The Flixbus team let me know about these changes well in advance and sent me the address of the new stop multiple times, even including the exact coordinates — just in case. It was easy to find and left on time.
Gardens in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
My bus was completely full as we left Berlin, but when a quarter of the bus got off in Hamburg, I finally got to spread out and get some sleep. I remember waking up right outside Amsterdam and actually said to the girl next to me, “Wow, that actually wasn’t as bad as I thought.” The 11 hours flew by!
I didn’t partner with Flixbus for this review and received no compensation. All opinions, as always, are my own.
Oh, Flixbus wifi. You lure us in with promises of Netflix and iMessages, only to leave us high and dry after we blow through our allotted 150MB of data after checking Instagram for like, five minutes. But, with a little planning, you never have to run out of Flixbus wifi again.
I took an 11 hour overnight Flixbus from Berlin to Amsterdam and didn’t run out until 30 minutes before arrival. You can do this, too! Here’s how:
Download Netflix + Amazon Movies Ahead of Time
Munich – a Flixbus Destination
Both Netflix and Amazon allow you to download movies and tv shows onto your phone or tablet so you can watch later. If you’d like to binge Stranger Things on your way to Berlin, it only takes about two minutes of planning.
Just use the wifi at the airport, cafe, or hostel and download any and all of the content you’d like to see on your trip. Just don’t use the Flixbus wifi to download or stream any video files, as you’ll run out of data pretty much instantly.
Put your Phone on Airplane Mode
Prague – a Flixbus Destination
Even though I downloaded Netflix content ahead of time, my phone (a brand new iPhone 7+) kept trying to stream the shows I had downloaded instead of relying on the downloaded files.
Pretty frustrating, but there’s an easy fix. Just pop your phone over to Airplane Mode. This way there’s no confusion and you stop having to run interference between your app and the Flixbus Wifi.
Another bonus of Airplane Mode is that you are not accidentally eating up any of the Flixbus Wifi limit with background app refresh, etc. If you need to send a text or look up the address of your next hostel, you can briefly turn it off, but it’s best to pop it right back on after.
This is one of the main ways I stretched my 150MB limit from Berlin all the way to Amsterdam.
Audiobooks are a great way to pass the time on overnight buses in Europe if your travel style is more look out the window and relax. If you sign up for Audible, you get at least one free audiobook when you sign up for the 1-month free trial, after which you can cancel at anytime (and keep your audiobook!) or continue on to receive one Audible credit a month.
I’ll admit, I signed up for the free trial so I could have book to listen to on my 11 hour Berlin to Amsterdam Flixbus ride, but ended up keeping my subscription because let’s be real… who doesn’t love a good story without the effort of actually reading it? Just, as always, download your book ahead of time — even if it’s using the wifi at the bus station as you’re waiting to board.
The paid version of streaming apps like Amazon Music and Spotify have options for listening offline, as long as you download your playlists ahead of time (this seems to be a theme), but there are still a few treaming apps that are completely free.
Like Umusio where you pay .99 one time then have access to millions of songs offline.
The app Deezer costs $9.99 a month, but the first 30 days are free. So sign up, but remember to cancel on time!
Just Take a Freaking Nap
Rome – a Flixbus Destination
The lull of the Flixbus engine. The blurred European landscape whisking past you as you barrel down the highway. Oh, so so relaxing, right? If you reach the Flixbus Wifi limit, forgot to download movies to watch or music to listen to, and are traveling alone with no one to chat to, just lean your head back and take a nap. You’ll get to where you’re going soon enough.
The bottom line of outsmarting the Flixbus Wifi limit is just not to use the wifi because you follow the steps I’ve listed above you won’t even need it anyway.
**This post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase an item via these links (or in the same session) I get some cash money, at no extra cost to you. Thanks!
Whole30 travel is a special kind of monster. While our fearless leader Melissa Hartwig advises against taking the cruise of a lifetime or an anniversary trip to Paris during your Whole30, sometimes things come up.
What if you’re on Whole30 Day 9 and your friends invite you to the lake house for the weekend? What if you’re crushing Whole30 Day 17 and your boss needs to fly you out to make a killer presentation?
Do you say no? Or abandon your Whole30?
No way! Whole30 travel is completely doable and I’m here to show you how.
Whole30 Travel: the Basics
The Dining Room at the Grand Opera House in Vienna. The fanciest place to eat a Whole30 meal is all of Austria.
The only way to succeed while traveling on the Whole30 is through mindfulness and careful planning. While vacation is normally a time to zone out and relax, if you want to stay compliant, you’ve got to create a game plan.
I traveled frequently throughout my first Whole30 and was able to stay on track! I have a girls trip planned during my upcoming second one and am not sweating it at all.
Here’s how I do it:
Pack Whole30 Approved Snacks
The Houses of Parliament in London. They should make a law…Whole30 snacks must be sold EVERYWHERE.
You are likely to encounter more “emergency moments” while traveling on the Whole30 then you would at home. You might be trapped in a car full of friends munching on candy and beef jerky or stuck in meetings all day without a chance to sit down at eat. You can survive both of these if you plan ahead.
Make sure you have an accessible purse, carry on, or cooler with the follow things packed:
The point is to have plenty of Whole30 compliant snacks with you, so if you are faced with long periods on time without access to compliant food (i.e. gas station stops on road trips, mixers on buisness trips, etc.) you don’t have to go without any food which can make you desperately hungry and in need of a quick fix — which usually isn’t compliant.
You can bring plenty of non-perishable emergency items with you (like the Lara and Epic bars) and replenish things like carrots, apples, etc. by popping to the local grocery store or the hotel’s breakfast bar.
I went on multiple road trips during my first Whole30 and while it was kind of weird not loading up on traditional “road trip snacks” along the way, I actually felt powerful when I went into a gas station, just got a bottle of water, and popped back out to my car to continue munching on my apple slices.
*Small reminder that not ALL Lara and RX Bars are compliant. Check the ingredients!
Flying on the Whole30
When I arrived in Switzerland, I soon found out eating Whole30 and cooking at my Airbnb would be WAY cheaper than trying to eat out. It’s so expensive there.
Shorter domestic flights on the Whole30 should be no big deal. Just get water, hot tea, or black coffee to drink, and pull a Lara or Epic Bar out of your bag to munch on instead of the peanuts or crackers.
Long haul flights are where it gets tricker. If you’ve got a flight where they are going to feed you, chances are substantial portions of the meal are going to be non-compliant. Have no fear! With a little preparation (and perhaps a small fee!) it looks like you can get a meal that is mostly compliant.
Start by searching “name of airline special meal” which will take you to the list of alternative meal options. For example, here’s a special meal menu from United and American Airlines. Be sure to look over the meal options more than 24 hours in advance of your flight so your airline of choice has time to accommodate your request. Most major carriers have vegan and gluten-free options, which could be workable.
It’s worth it to call your airline to assess if you can build a custom meal for a small fee – or pick the vegetarian option and avoid the grain and dairy components, filling the holes with the Whole30 snacks you brought with you.
Staying at Hotels on the Whole30
At the Cat Cafe in Bratislava, Slovakia. No Whole30 food…but they did have cute kitties so it’s still worth it 🙂
Hotels on the Whole30 are easy enough — especially if you can book a room with a kitchenette. If a full kitchenette isn’t available, call the hotel to request a room with at least a mini-fridge to store Whole30 grab and go foods like fruits, vegetables, and nuts — which you can easily pop out and grab from a local grocery store.
You can even make baked potatoes in the microwave, which is a Whole30 on the go option if your hotel room has one available.
Staying with Friends and Family on the Whole30
Anything for Selenas! Except breaking my Whole30.
This can be the hardest part of Whole30 Travel.
If you are on the Whole30 and staying at loved one’s home, staying compliant will be technically easier, as you will have access to a full kitchen in which to cook the meals of your choice, but the emotional work to be done has the potential to be exhausting.
We have been socialized to see refusing food as a rejection of the giver’s love and hospitality, which can only be amplified while you are a guest in their home. To help avoid this, offer to cook Whole30 meals for your host as a sign of gratefulness for their hospitality.
You should also give them a head’s up about your dietary restrictions before you arrive. Make sure to focus on what you can have, so they don’t feel restricted or confused when shopping (e.g. I love sunny side up eggs! Eating roasted veggies with olive oil is my favorite! Grilled chicken and green beans is delicious to me!)
Eating Whole30 at Restaurants
My “almost Whole30” meal in Prague. A great example of getting as close as you can while dining out, then just leaving the non compliant items on the plate.
If you do some Whole30 travel, you will likely find yourself at a restaurant — but don’t panic! Eating Whole30 at restaurants is possible. My mom and I were both on our first Whole30 when we went away for a girls weekend in the Texas Hill Country. We were able to eat at one of the region’s most famous steakhouses and stay 100% compliant.
Steakhouses and the like are your best best for Whole30 compliant restaurants. So if you are on a buisness trip, family getaway, or girls weekend and would like to stay compliant, speak up and request one.
Study the menu online before you head to the restaurant. I’ve found this helps me as I’ve had more time to look things over and begin to formulate the questions I want to ask the waiter.
Grilled meats (the staple menu items at steakhouses) typically don’t have any contraband in them, so by ordering a steak (with no butter pat!), pork chop, or salmon with a side of grilled veggies and a “dry” baked potato, you should be good, but make sure to double check about unlisted sauces or cooking oils. If you want to spice up your potato, I usually flavor mine with salt, pepper, vinegar, and oil.
If you want to go meatless, many salads are okay — just make sure to stick with vinegar and oil as dressing (or if you want to go hardcore, you can pull some Whole30 approved salad dressing out of your purse).
And, if push comes to shove, you can technically eat at Chipotle.
Get a salad with carnitas (the only meat cooked in sunflower oil instead of rice bran), plus any salsa you want (except the corn!) and some guac.
Be Prepared to Break Tradition with Whole30 Travel
At Magnolia Market in Waco, Texas. My sister Kerry (in the middle) was on her 1st Whole30 at the time and had a great time even though she skipped eating at Silo Baking Company.
Sometimes eating Whole30 hurts. Let it! Relish in it! Think of it as pain leaving the body!
Is there a diner you eat at every time you road trip? Skip it in favor of a place where it’s easier to be compliant. Or if your traveling mates insist, be a good sport and eat there, but make sure to stick with eggs and fruit.
It might be a little sad not having your special diner pancakes, but if you eat there every single time you visit, that’s just it! Those special pancakes (or whatever meal you have) will still be there next time, when you’re not on Whole30. Who knows, you might not even want them then.
Sometimes when traveling, you might feel rushed and opt for a quick drive through meal or something from an airport kiosk. Challenge yourself to do better. You made a commitment to yourself to eat Whole30 and you’re not going to let a little change in your schedule and daily rhythm stop you.
If you can’t find something Whole30 compliant while traveling, relax. Take a step back. Pull out your emergency Lara Bar that you brought with you for such a time as this and make a plan.
You’ve got this.
**This post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase an item via these links (or in the same session) I get some cash money, at no extra cost to you. Thanks!
Wondering about which questions to ask when traveling abroad? Being proactive and speaking up before you get in a taxi, exchange money, or make a purchase is essential to having a stress-free trip and avoiding rookie tourist mistakes.
Here are the top 5 questions to ask when traveling abroad to avoid common travel mistakes:
Some swans just chilling in Zürich.
Can I have a printed receipt?
Ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft have eliminated this issue in many cities, as you can get a fare estimate before you book and track your route from the app; however, this is still on my list of questions to ask when traveling abroad just in case you need to take a cab.
Be sure to ask your driver for a far estimate and printed receipt as soon as you get in the vehicle. Having a printed receipt (not handwritten as is sometimes offered) can help protect you if you get into a meter dispute with a crooked cabbie.
If you book a private car ahead of time (e.g. a private airport transfer or a shuttle to an attraction) be sure to confirm that it’s your car before you get in (especially if you asked multiple companies for quotes!)…or you could end up like baby Emily and be certain you were about to be taken out by the Italian Mafia. Read about it here.
I took this picture on my panic-induced ATM run. Prague is still pretty, even when you’re stressed AF.
This is an essential one of the questions to ask while traveling, but the key is asking BEFORE you order. Many restaurants abroad (i.e. not in the USA — although some places are reverting) are still “cash only” businesses. If you ask before you are seated, you’ll have the luxury of finding another place to dine if they don’t accept cards, or going to find at ATM at a leisurely pace if you really want to eat there.
When Smoky and I were in Prague, we made the mistake of assuming a burger place would take cards (I mean, they had WiFi and were playing Ed Sheeran, so it was an easy mistake), so since we found out AFTER we had ordered and eaten, I was tasked with running around Old Town Square in the dark like a maniac looking for an ATM while Smoky was held hostage in the restaurant.
And then I had to carry around hella Czech coins for the rest of my trip since I didn’t feel like giving the guy a $10 tip (y’all this place was barely even a cash only place — it was a COIN only place based on the change he gave me.)
Y’all. This is one of the most common travel mistakes and so it’s one of the most important questions to ask when traveling abroad.
The world is becoming increasingly connected, but certain companies seem to be lagging behind, so international data charges are a monster travelers should actively avoid. For example, when I travel with Smoky (a TMobile customer) she can just turn on her phone in any new country and it works like it would at home with no extra charges.
But if I did that ( a Verizon customer), I would literally have to sell my soul to lord satan to be able to afford it.
Thankfully, if you don’t have an international data plan you can easily
Pick up a sim card with a few gigs of data on it at the airport or in the city center.
Put your phone on airplane mode and hope there’s abundant free wifi available.
Just use some walkie talkies or smoke signals or something idk.
As an American, I’m used to things being open in fairly predictable patterns. Most offices operate roughly 9AM – 5PM and places to eat stay open until at least 10PM (often later) — but abroad, it’s often an entirely different story.
When I lived in Italy, places like offices, museums, and ancient sites would often close for lunch, or even an extended siesta in the middle of the day. Sometimes an attraction was open all weekend, so it was closed Mondays to make up for it.
A common travel mistake is to just assume the thing you want to do will be open. As you are planning your trip, be sure to note any peculiar closings or hours, especially if it’s a “must see” for you.
It’s story time. Story time about those days of yesteryear when I didn’t think I needed to put my toiletries in a plastic bag or double check that they were closed before, you know, zipping them into a confined space with my computer, clothing, and passport copies.
Turns out, face wash doesn’t make your camera clean and clear and under control…it just makes it hang out in a bucket of rice for a few hours while hoping for the best.
So, learn from my mistakes. One of the most important questions to ask when traveling abroad is simple: are my freaking toiletries closed?
Fighting on vacation is an unfortunate reality of travel.
some of my best friends from college during our “senior week” trip to Cape Cod, right before graduation in May 2015. Brittney, Cassidy, and Rachael. Taken by Lauren!
Too many hours in the car, the stress of a new place, and the exhaustion of jet lag are all things that can make even the best of friends start actively hating each other.
I’ve been in situations over the years where I needed to take a step back. My sister and I went on a Grand Tour of Europe together and I swear to God I wanted her dead because of how loudly she breathes while sleeping. Another time I had a terrible migraine on this bus ride with a random baby that wouldn’t stop crying, so I kept fantasizing about just stoping the bus and leaving it with a nice couple at a gas station.
Both terrible, terrible, intrusive thoughts.
So how do you work past these instead of always arguing on vacation?
You have to address the triggers and make a conscious choice to be zen.
Quick tip to avoid fighting on vacation: you can’t control others’ behavior, but you can control your own.
My friends Elizabeth, Char, Meagan, Mary, and me on an orientation trip for our study abroad program to a Mozzarella farm in Campania, Italy in January 2014.
People are cranky when they are tired. This is a given. Advice like “make sure to get a good night’s sleep!” is trite. Sometimes that’s impossible.
What is possible, however, it not setting yourself up to fail. Do hostels make you restless because of squeaky beds, thin mattresses, and inconsiderate roommates who turn the lights on at three am? Don’t stay there! Ask your traveling partners if you can book a private room, at least every couple of nights.
Can you never get to sleep on long-haul flights? Then don’t try to hit the ground running on your first day and pretend like you’re well-rested. Take it slow. Pace yourself.
Does your partner snore or just breath freakishly heavy when they sleep (like my sister)? Always bring some ear plugs, just in case or have a soothing sounds playlist queued up on your phone.
You can’t always guarantee you’ll sleep well, but you can still create a relaxing environment for yourself.
Quick tip to avoid fighting on vacation: avoid “one night stands” and stay in each location for at least two nights to ensure better sleep.
Nik, Emily, Jessica, Mike, Rebecca, Maggie, and myself in Florence, Italy. April 2014.
Let’s be real: I get hangry even when I’m not traveling. It’s realllly hard to handle even minor inconveniences when you’re starving, so don’t let yourself get to this point!
Sometimes you have to skip lunch so you can see everything you wanted in a city or the local cuisine doesn’t sit well with you. Still no reason to be a brat! Always, always, always, have an apple and snack bar in your purse. If you’re going on a shorter trip (like less than a month) bring five or ten RXBars (or the like) with you to nibble on until you can sit down for or cook a meal.
My literal other half, Siobhan, and I at Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island May 2017. Luckily we both love historic houses.
If your boyfriend wants to stop for a coffee one more time, you might have to end the relationship. Your best friend has no interest in shopping in Paris? She’s the worst!
Traveling teaches us that we don’t have as much in common with our loved ones as we might think we do. Your mom might be a foodie and want extravagant sit down meals three times a day, while you would rather just eat a sandwich while running between monuments and museums.
It can be really frustrating to feel like you are “wasting time” on a trip you’ve been really excited for. To avoid fighting on vacation because of this, you can try a “quid pro quo” approach in which each person in the group gets to pick one activity each day OR you can occasionally split up. Which brings us to…
Quick tip to avoid fighting on vacation: occasionally suck it up and do what the other people in your group want to do, even if it means missing out on something you wanted.
Too Much Time Together
Me, my sister Kerry, and my mom Debbie at Magnolia Market in Waco, Texas. We spend a looooot of time together 🙂 March 2017.
This seems to be a bigger obstacle for couples or friends traveling pairs to overcome. After a few days of just one person, you might be desperate to interact with a human being who isn’t them or just really want some alone time.
So take the day off!
Your best friend can spend the evening at the theater while you people watch in a coffee shop. You can check out that sale while your boyfriend sleeps in. These mini solo adventures are the perfect way to recharge, so that the time spent together is enjoyable and not tense.
Quick tip to avoid fighting on vacation: communicate beforehand to find out what the rest of your group absolutely doesn’t want to do, so there’s time to schedule concurrent activities.
My sister Kerry and her husband Chris taking the time to destress in the Dead Sea. November 2017.
When you miss your bus, mess up your hotel reservations, or get lost, it’s so, so easy to start blaming the rest of your group or start lashing out because you are scared or stressed. Stressful things will happen when you travel. Things will definitly go wrong. That’s still no excuse for fighting on vacation. This is where mindfulness comes in.
You have to actively decide not to be angry. Not to respond to your boyfriend’s, or sister’s, or best friend’t goading. Let them be angry! Let them lash out! Choose to be calm.
If you are having a hard time staying calm in a tense or scary travel situation, I find it helpful just not to respond at all. Sometimes I even separate myself from the group. I don’t mean that in a “huff off and pout” sort of way, I mean it in a, “Hey, I’m going to go sit on that bench for a minute so I can think of a game plan” sort of way.
Arguing on vacation can also be avoided through preventative communication.
Quick tip to avoid fighting on vacation: assign group members with tasks according to their strengths before the trip, like navigating, driving, translating, negotiating, etc. This way, in a time of crisis, there’s no fighting over who needs to take the lead.
Mindfulness and communication are key to a great trip. If you find yourself getting a little heated, quickly work to address the trigger. Am I hungry? Tired? Bored? Then you can work to fix it.
Remember: talk to your group about interests, budgets, and accommodations BEFORE YOU LEAVE.
You can avoid like 75% of potential fights if all group members are upfront about their expectations; however, if things aren’t going well, if your traveling companions are excessively irritable or unwilling to compromise, just remember: take a deep breath, get through this trip, and then choose not to travel with them again.