My first time in Europe was back in 2002, I pre-purchased a EUrail pass and traveled to multiple countries in Western Europe. That was the thing to do with a backpack. Pick the number of travel days within a limited time span and a number of countries and you are set to explore the continent. Though expensive, it made traveling between countries and within each country scenic, fast and efficient. EUrail also has a historical significance as that was the method in which millions of travelers moved from one location to anther for decades in Europe.
In 2006, I visited 5 different countries (England, Ireland, France, Italy and Germany). The 4 of us flew with Ryanair within the European continent. I still remember the flight between Milan to Paris was only 1 euro plus applicable taxes which cost us less than $25 CAD in total. However, we failed to consider the additional costs required to commute between the city center and the smaller airports that Ryanair used. Though I think it was still much cheaper than traveling on the train and took us less time.
12 years later, in 2014, I’ve discovered bus travel in Europe as a new method to save money and see the landscape! After arriving in Hamburg, Germany my friend spoke of her 15€ bus ride between Hamburg and Berlin. When I moved into a hostel, my dorm mate took a 11-hours bus ride from Gothenburg, Sweden to Hamburg.