Planes, trains, boats, cars, and feet
As most people know, public transportation in Europe is very good. The train systems is well designed, maintained, and accessible. Europe has the Eurorail, which runs trans-European throughout the continent. Each country then has its own additional train system. The German trains in particular are especially reliable and convenient. Even small towns and rural areas are connected by the rail lines. During peak season, summer, you are advised to make reservations for the Eurorail. Off season you can get by with just showing up at the station and waiting for the next available train. You can purchase a Euro Rail pass also, which allows for speeder access to the trains. Local trains are on a pay as you go basis. Rick Steves has a great article on the Eurorail here. Note, Eurorail trains and local trains are different systems. Therefore, they have different fairs, processes, rules, and tracks. They are not interchangeable. All the trains in Europe are modern, quiet, smooth, and clean. So, you can easily get by without a car, unless you have an urge to dare the infamous German Autobahn!
2. Costa Rica
Renting or buying a car in Costa Rica is extremely expensive. Even the cheapest rental will run you $60.00 per day. Gas can run $6.00 to $7.00 per gallon also. Costa Rica does not have a train system. The one short line they still maintain only runs along one route through the central valley. They do, however, maintain a fleet of nice buses. They are not the old school buses with luggage precariously strapped to the roof and frenzied chickens sitting inside. They are modern, clean, air-conditioned charter style buses. They are actually quite nice and relatively convenient. Personally, I like a car, preferably a 4 X 4, in Costa Rica. Word of caution, the roads are extremely poor and the country does not require driver’s education. Safety is a serious issue.
3. Ryan Air
This Dublin, Ireland, based airline may be the best way to jet around Europe. Love them or hate them, they are cheap (in more ways than one), but efficient. They fly a fleet of exclusively 737’s. Safety is not an issue. The EU has just as strict aviation regulations as the U.S. Just do not expect great customer service, comfort, or frills.