Last Updated on August 23, 2019 by Greg Bessoni
Have you considered using Rome2rio to plan your next vacation? Here’s everything you need to know when planning a trip about this popular platform in our 2019 Review.
What is Rome2rio?
Rome2rio is an online search engine and booking service that helps prospective travelers find deals on transportation and overnight accommodations in 160 different countries around the world. Rome2rio is a one-stop-shop for customized trip planning. There is a desktop version and an app.
Both are free to use.
Rome2rio makes it easy to get started. You can begin searching right from the homepage by entering your starting point and desired destination. The search engine is very user-friendly, allowing you to plug in a specific address, a general city or a landmark:
The search takes you through a logical progression, but you’re free to skip around as you go. First, decide where you’re going. Next, it asks you how you’re going to get there, followed by where you’re going to stay.
Finally, you are given the option to rent a car and view which attractions are nearby. Rome2rio is simple enough to do some quick planning, while still being detailed and comprehensive enough to essentially plan your whole trip.
If you’re not ready to choose a flight first and cheap airfare, you can jump ahead to any of the other features. Here’s what you might see if you click on accommodations:
Extensive Transportation Options
Rome2rio can be translated into six different languages. Transportation services may be viewed in miles or kilometers, interchangeably showing 43 different currencies.
Transportation includes a wide array of travel modes from plane, train, bus, car, ferry, walking, bike share or driving. Their extensive transportation database includes 670 airlines to choose from, over 3,000 bus operators, bus stops and hundreds of train and ferry operators. They also provide real-time information on bus services such as bus arrivals, bus stops, schedules, similar to Next Bus.
Not only is Rome2rio useful for booking your flight to and from your destination, but it can help you figure out how you will travel among various sites within the country you’re visiting.
Staying Overnight Using Rome2rio
Once you figure out transportation, you will need to plan a place to stay. Rome2rio can help you find hotels and more. If you scroll to the bottom of the hotel search, you can click on a button for “Browse More Accommodation,” which brings you to this page:
Rome2rio partners will Booking.com to offer many diverse search options and for hotel reservations. Search for apartments, bed and breakfasts, villas, cabins and resorts. Deals listed can save you up to 50% off.
You have the option to read reviews right on the site before you book. An added bonus is that they offer free cancellation on most bookings if you change your mind. Lots of helpful information is written up about each place, so you can learn quite a bit about what to expect if you stay there.
A special feature of Rome2rio is its ability to estimate the total cost of your trip. Estimates are based on data averages from real flights and transportation services of comparable value.
By using Rome2rio’s calculations from the start, travelers are able to get a basic idea of whether a particular trip will be within budget. Figuring this out in the initial searching phase is a good way to save time and determine whether your dream vacation is within reach.
If prices are too far out of range for you, you can reevaluate where or when you plan to travel before spending too much time doing research. Adding specific travel dates will improve the accuracy of cost estimates so you can develop realistic expectations and save up. Until you actually look at specific ticket prices you won’t know the actual prices for sure, but this is a nice feature to give you a basic idea.
Travel Guides and Travel Blogs
Another fun feature on Rome2rio is the Travel Guides:
The Travel Guide is a treasure trove, for the budget traveler, full of insider tips for budget travel plans, discovering remote sites and finding unique experiences.
The types of articles you’ll find in this section include things like: “7 national parks just $2.70 from Sydney” and “The Thailand Island loves by locals.” It’s worth checking out if you have a general interest in travel or are still deciding where you want to go. There are several articles from 2018 and 2019 so the information seems pretty up-to-date.
Similar, but different, is the blog. The blog focuses more on what’s going on with Rome2rio as a business. Here, they announce partnerships, app updates and other news regarding awards and trends. If you’re a super-fan of the platform or trying to start a career at Rome2rio, the blog is a good place to study up.
Do I Need a Membership?
Anyone can browse around on the website or download the free app to search for travel information and access travel guides. Benefits of signing up for membership include setting up a profile that saves your search history. You can save trips and set favorites if you have an account, which is helpful if you plan to go back and edit your trip while planning.
There is no cost to make an account. A small service fee is charged if you book tickets directly through Rome2rio, but many reviewers noted that this was well worth it for the savings that can be found and the convenience of booking everything on one platform. Certainly, the service fee is much cheaper than a real live travel agent if that’s something you were considering.
When to Use the App versus the Desktop Site
Rome2Rio also has a great trip planning app. If you need to make multiple stops, the website is going to be better for planning a complex itinerary. Using the + button lets you add another leg to your journey:
Only the website allows for Multicity Search (to plan your route) and Local Attractions and Things to Do.
However, if you’re already on your trip and want to search around for last-minute transportation, the app covers most of your needs and will let you get local transportation options. An app is a great option when you’re on the go.
Both the iOS App and Android app will let you use the Transport Search Feature, Distance Settings (km/miles), Currency Selection, Hotel Search Feature, Schedule Support, and Rome2rio Account Login. You can retrieve tickets offline for upcoming trips using the apps (not available on the website).
What Makes Rome2rio Better Than Other Sites?
The internet is full of the best travel resources and 3rd party service agencies that are competing for the opportunity to help you plan the perfect vacation. Rome2rio has won many accolades, which are listed on their About Page including People’s Choice Award Phocuswright 2012, TRAVELtech GlobalCollect Website of the Year 2013, WITovation Data Specialist Award 2015, WITovation Best Compare Site 2016 and Travolution Best Metasearch Site 2016.
It’s clear that they run a reputable business with proven success in the industry.
Rome2rio has excellent reviews on TrustPilot.com, earning it an average of 5/5 stars from 500 actual users. As to be expected, not everyone was completely satisfied with their experience, however. Here are some pros and cons noted by reviewers:
- A person is available on the other end if something goes wrong
- Easy to navigate and you can buy tickets through the site or app
- Does everything a travel agent would do for less money
- Lots of positive reviews for finding the best deals on European train rides
- Some small towns (like a few small towns in Italy) are not listed for train bookings yet, but Rome2rio states they are always expanding so this should continue to improve with time
- Cancellation issues- difficulty canceling online for a quick mistake, unable to get a refund in the original form of payment (only travel vouchers for certain bookings)
Rome2rio seems to be a great way to start planning your next trip. With no start-up costs or membership fees, there’s no risk in giving it a try. To avoid hassles with making changes or getting a refund, double-check before you click to book. I
t takes less time to make sure you’re booking exactly what you want before you pay rather than going back and cancel your order. While it’s not as easy to quickly cancel online, you can always call their customer service and get a real person to assist you with making changes. Rome2rio has excellent customer service reviews so if you need to contact them, it will probably be a positive experience.
Downloading both the app and using the desktop version will let you take full advantage of Rome2rio’s services. The portable app gives you easy access when you’re in a foreign place and looking for quick information on how to get around. Signing up for free membership has perks, which include saving your trip details for future reference and the option to share your itinerary with family and friends.
Rome2rio has won several awards and seems to produce a lot of happy customers. Its easy-to-use platform is comprehensive, with flexible search options. Rome2rio makes it quick to dive in and explore the possibilities that the world has to offer.
Alternative Travel Deals / Booking Sites: Hipmunk, Airfarewatchdog, Momondo, Skiplagged