Bargain hunting slow transport

Finding more environmentally conscious means of transport need not be a very expensive exercise. Further, it need not be justified in purely environmental terms. Slow means of transport are far more adaptable than air travel. How many times have you flown over a city thinking ‘I wonder what it is like down there?’ For me, I’ve often been left wondering what city it is I am flying over (there are quite a number between Australia and Europe). Trains/buses/ferries/bikes give a lot more flexibility in seeing these places and stopping off where you please.

I discovered there are fairly cheap tickets available when searching for routes to England in the summer (for graduation and holidays). The last time I tried this experiment was Christmas last year, and I made the reservations just over a month before travelling which is never a good recipe for cheap travel.

This time, I’m looking at my alternative travel modes well in advance of travelling. And I’ve been happily surprised with the results! Compared to my previous train journey in the opposite direction the price has roughly halved. Happy days.

Optioneering

Of course there are lots of options, but with a bit of a practice I’ve become quite a lot faster at this time around. I’ve also included some freighter journeys because I’ve still got the intention of taking one one day.

Again the intention is to try and visit people I know en route. That’ll help to break up the journey into manageable chunks and to let me see people I don’t often see!

With some (well substantial amount of) luck I’ll have the option to crash on a couch in Oslo, Gothenburg, Copenhagen, Bremen, Brussels and London. And of course the very many other destinations that these routes pass through are also options for a stopover in many cases.

Trondheim to cambridge
For a semi-interactive squiz at my potential routes between Norway and England you can click on this picture.

If you like details, I’ve listed out the routes that I’ve discovered below. The summary version is that it’s possible with advance notice to travel from Trondheim to Cambridge for £115, with the possibilities of staying in any major Danish city, cities along the Swedish west coast, Northern Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and lastly in London. Not a terrible idea for a holiday.

20140516_100834
The new NSB trains that travel around Østlandet in Norway.

Trains + Megabus

Trondheim – Oslo – Gøteborg (NSB) (12h 15m) 249NOK

Gøteborg – København (SJ) (3h 55m) 195SEK (180NOK)

København – Osnabruck (DB) (6h 52m) €39 (or can stop in Hamburg/Bremen) (330NOK)

Osnabruck – Brussels (DB) €29 (245NOK)

Brussels – London (Megabus) (8h 15m) £13 (138NOK)

London Liverpool St – Cambridge (National Rail) (1h 20m) £7 (75)

TOTAL: 1217NOK (£115)

Ferry + Trains

Trondheim – Oslo – Larvik (NSB) 249NOK

Larvik – Hirtshals (Colorline) 149NOK

Hirtshals – Hamburg (DSB/DB) €29 (245NOK)

Hamburg – Hannover – Cologne – Brussels – London (DB) (8h 56m) €59 (500NOK) (can stop 24 hrs in any city en route)

London Liverpool St – Cambridge (National Rail) (1h 20m) £7 (75)

TOTAL = 1218 NOK (£115)

20131020_122226
Kings Cross Station, London. I loved this place years before I had been to England thanks to Monopoly.

Trains only

Trondheim – Oslo – Gøteborg (NSB) (12h 15m) 249NOK

Gøteborg – København (SJ) (3h 55m) 195SEK (180NOK)

København – Hamburg (DB) (4h 33m) €29 (245NOK)

Hamburg – Hannover – Cologne – Brussels – London (DB) (8h 56m) €59 (500NOK) (can stop 24 hrs in any city en route)

London Liverpool St – Cambridge (National Rail) (1h 20m) £7 (75)

TOTAL: 1249NOK (£117)

Trains + Day Ferry

Trondheim – Oslo – Gøteborg (NSB) (12h 15m) 249NOK

Gøteborg – København (SJ) (3h 55m) 195SEK (180NOK)

København – Osnabruck (DB) (6h 52m) €39 (or can stop in Hamburg/Bremen) (330NOK)

Osnabruck – Hoek Van Holland (DB) €19 (can stop in Rotterdam/Amersfoort/Amsterdam alternatively) (161NOK)

Amsterdam/Hoek Van Holland – Cambridge (Stena Line overnight) £45 (single/double cabin) (478NOK)

TOTAL = 1398NOK (£131)

Trains + Night Ferry

Trondheim – Oslo – Gøteborg (NSB) (12h 15m) 249NOK

Gøteborg – København (SJ) (3h 55m) 195SEK (180NOK)

København – Osnabruck (DB) (6h 52m) €39 (or can stop in Hamburg/Bremen) (330NOK)

Osnabruck – Hoek Van Holland (DB) €19 (can stop in Rotterdam/Amersfoort/Amsterdam alternatively) (161NOK)

Amsterdam/Hoek Van Holland – Cambridge (Stena Line overnight) £45 + £30/£23 (single/double cabin) (800NOK)

TOTAL = 1720NOK (£161)

Freighter Gøteborg to Tilbury

Trondheim – Oslo – Gøteborg (NSB) (12h 15m) 249NOK

Gøteborg – Tilbury (DFDS) (34h) 1820SEK + £30 admin fee (1661 + 320 = 1981)

Tilbury – London Liverpool St (National Rail) (1h) £9.50 (101)

London Liverpool St – Cambridge (National Rail) (1h 20m) £5 (53)

TOTAL = 2384NOK (£223)

Freighter Brevik to Ghent

Trondheim – Oslo – Porsgrunn (NSB) 249NOK

Brevik – Ghent (DFDS) 1820 SEK + €35 admin fee (1661 + 254 = 1915 NOK)

Ghent – London (Megabus/Eurolines) (5h 39m) (from Rome2Rio) 200NOK (can be £13 in advance from Lille/Ghent)

London Liverpool St – Cambridge (National Rail) (1h 20m) £5 (53 NOK)

TOTAL: 2417 NOK (£227)

Freighter Brevik to Immingham

Trondheim – Oslo – Porsgrunn (NSB) 249NOK

Brevik – Immingham (DFDS) 1600 NOK + £30 admin fee (25h) (+ 320 = 1920 NOK)

Immingham – Cambridge (National Rail) (3h 05m) £35 (372NOK)

TOTAL: 2541 NOK (£239)

Ferry + Trains + Ferry

Trondheim – Oslo (NSB) 249 NOK

Oslo – København (DFDS) €98 / €52 (1/2 pax) (829/440NOK)

[discontinued option since the ferry costs too much relative to train]

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