Traveling to Hungary
Though not necessarily the cheapest way to get to Hungary, flying directly from the United States or Western Europe into Budapest’s Ferihegy airport is very convenient.
There are non-stop flights from New York to Budapest four days per week. It’s also easy to fly to Budapest directly from most of the major European cities. London and Frankfurt are usually the best bets because they frequently are the least expensive ports of entry into Europe when flying from the U.S.
Airlines with service to Budapest
Aeroflot (01) 118-5955
British Airways (01) 118-3299
Delta (01) 118-7922
Lufthansa (01) 118-4511
LOT (01) 117-2444
SAS (01) 118-5377
Swissair (01) 117-2500
Malev (800) 262-5380 or (800) 223-6884
Al Italia (800) 223-5730
Via Train or Bus
Many travelers to Hungary choose to fly from the United States to a major city in Western Europe, then travel the rest of the way by train or bus. Though considerably slower than flying, traveling overland has several advantages. Depending upon the time of year and the prevailing whims of the airline industry, it can be cheaper to fly into, let’s say, Frankfurt (or another major Western European airport), and then jump on a train or bus going to Budapest. Intercity trains travel from Vienna in less than three hours. You are more likely to meet other prospective teachers or job hunters on the trains and buses. Some travelers also enjoy the slow and easy introduction to a new country that train or bus travel affords them. And there are some decent budget train passes, if you plan to do some serious traveling.
For example, the European East Flexipass provides unlimited train travel on the national railways of Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland for five days for US$185.
Should you travel by train or bus? For many North Americans, trains are a big part of the allure of traveling in Europe. Trains figure prominently in many of the spy novels and other works of literature set in Europe, conjuring up notions of romance and intrigue in the minds of readers. Buses (also known as motor coaches), on the other hand, suffer a less lofty reputation. Though your personal preference may or may not be molded by your reading habits, the following considerations may come in to play when deciding between bus or train travel:
- In Europe, train fares are almost always more expensive than bus fares.
- Trains generally run more frequently than buses between large cities in Europe, but buses are a better bet for getting to out-of-the-way places.
- In terms of theft and the like, buses are generally safer than trains because there are fewer people traveling together, there is less room for people to move around, and the people who start the journey together usually finish together. On a train, a thief could be four cars away or even off the train before you realize something is missing.
- Buses are more cramped than trains, though buses usually stop every three or four hours so passengers can stretch, find a restroom, or grab a bite to eat.
- Trains offer more choices (e.g., sleeper cars, couchets, first and second class compartments, etc.)