Will Using BlaBlaCar in Europe Save You Money & Time?

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Emily and I normally take the train when we’ve traveled in Europe.  But we’re always looking for ways to get Big Travel with Small Money and for some folks BlaBlaCar might be it!

Will Using BlaBlaCar In Europe Save You Money Time

Could You Save Money Carpooling With BlaBlaCar?

I’ve written before about ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, but BlaBlaCar is a different type of ride sharing.  BlaBlaCar is a ride sharing service that works like a carpool.

You pay a set price for your trip which sometimes could be less than other options like the train.

BlaBlaCar

Link:   BlaBlaCar

BlaBlaCar is a carpooling service which lets drivers pick up folks who are traveling to the same city (or in the same direction) and share transportation costs.

Prices are based on how far you’re traveling.  BlaBlaCar suggests a price and drivers can use that price or increase or decrease that price up to 50%.  Because drivers are NOT allowed to make a profit, the prices are usually fair.

You search the site to find a ride, choose and contact a driver, then pay during the ride.

Will Using BlaBlaCar In Europe Save You Money Time

Carpooling in the 21st Century

Is It Worth It?

I was curious to see how BlaBlaCar’s prices compared to using other transportation.  I like saving money, but it might not be worth the inconvenience.

London

For example, you’d pay 3 pounds (~$5) per person for a ride from London Heathrow Airport to London on January 7, 2015.  

You have to contact the driver to find out where in London they are driving to and if that’s where you want to go.

Will Using BlaBlaCar In Europe Save You Money Time

You’d Pay 3 Pounds (~$5) Per Person to Use BlaBlaCar From London Heathrow to London

You’d also pay 3 pounds (~$5) to ride the Underground (train) UNLESS you’re traveling between 6:30 am to 9:30 am, Monday through Friday when you’d pay ~$8.

Using BlaBlaCar instead of the train could be easier because you don’t have to drudge through the train station with your luggage.  And you might be able to arrange with the driver to drop you off at your hotel or destination.

However, because you’re riding in a car with restricted space, you’re limited on how much luggage you can bring.  And you could hit traffic, have to pick up other riders, take a longer route to avoid tolls, or the driver could get lost which could make the trip longer.

Paris

Using BlaBlaCar you’d pay 2 pounds (~$3) for a ride from the Paris Airport to Champs Elysees on January 7, 2015.

Will Using BlaBlaCar In Europe Save You Money Time

Cheap Transportation From the Paris Airport to Champs Elysees

A local bus from the airport to Champs Elysees is 5 euro (~$6).  So if you used BlaBlaCar you’d save 50%!

For couples or folks traveling together, this could be a better deal IF the BlaBlaCar has room for all of you and your luggage.

Paris to Rome

You’d pay 74 pounds (~$113) with BlaBlaCar for a ride from Paris to Rome on January 13, 2015.

Will Using BlaBlaCar In Europe Save You Money Time

BlaBlaCar Charges ~$113 Per Person for a Ride From Paris to Rome

The train costs 120 euros (~$143).

Will Using BlaBlaCar In Europe Save You Money Time

The Train Costs ~$31 Per Person More Than BlaBlaCar!

So for shorter distances you don’t save as much money, but you do for longer distances.

Things to Consider

Although you might be able to save money using BlaBlaCar there are some things you should consider.

1.   Limited Service

BlaBlaCar can only offer rides if they have drivers.  And they do NOT have rides everywhere.  So you might not get a ride when you need it.

So folks who have firm travel plans should NOT use BlaBlaCar.

Will Using BlaBlaCar In Europe Save You Money Time

BlaBlaCar Isn’t Everywhere

2.   Cash Only

You have to pay the driver in cash in the local currency.  So you won’t earn miles or points!

If you’re getting a ride from the airport, you should get local currency from your bank before you leave.  Or use an ATM at the airport.  You can use use your Bluebird card to withdraw cash.

Will Using BlaBlaCar In Europe Save You Money Time

Cash Payment Only

3.   Luggage Restrictions

Because drivers are adding passengers to their car, folks who travel with big suitcases might not find rides or have room for their suitcase.

Will Using BlaBlaCar In Europe Save You Money Time

Only Room for Folks Who Have Medium Sized Travel Bags

Who BlaBlaCar Is Good For

For some folks, BlaBlaCar means Big Travel with Small Money.

1.   Flexible Travelers

BlaBlaCar works best for folks who have flexible plans.  Or folks who like to hitchhike.

Will Using BlaBlaCar In Europe Save You Money Time

Use BlaBlaCar Instead of HitchHiking

2.   Extroverts

Folks who are introverts might not be comfortable with BlaBlaCar.  There could be long awkward silences!  But other people might enjoy talking to a local person.

Will Using BlaBlaCar In Europe Save You Money Time

For Some Folks Riding With Strangers Can Be Uncomfortable

Bottom Line

BlaBlaCar is a carpooling service.

The cost is determined by how far you’re traveling.  BlaBlaCar usually costs the same as public transportation for short distances.  But you’ll save more if you’re traveling long distances.

Folks who don’t have flexible travel plans or aren’t comfortable with strangers shouldn’t use BlaBlaCar.  But for folks whose plans aren’t firm and want to save money, BlaBlaCar could be a good fit.

But BlaBlaCar is cash only.  So you will NOT earn miles and points!

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One response to “Will Using BlaBlaCar in Europe Save You Money & Time?

  1. I love Blablacar and recently wrote a lot about my great experiences using them in Spain. I do think there’s a more compelling reason to use ridesharing in Spain, especially in the parts where good fast train service doesn’t exist. Here’s my overview from international ridesharing day: http://sharetraveler.com/ridesharing-day-spain-review/