It is always a good idea to check the general conditions of each transport company to see the specific aspects which might influence your journey, such as checking in baggage, travelling with a bicycle or with pets and the transport service conditions to be met.
What kinds of transportation are available on the Camino itself?
There is a bus or train service along most of the Camino francés and it is actually quite common for peregrinos to use transport from time to time for various reasons. Perhaps a personal schedule restriction is looming, perhaps an injury is preventing walking for a few days, perhaps the weather has become untenable. In places where there is no bus or train service, usually a taxi can be arranged. Please note that this flexibility about using transport does not extend to using transport within the 100 km limit for obtaining the Compostela (200 km if cycling). This last 100 km stretch must be completed on foot (200 km if cycling).
- By Train
Train tickets are transferable, but if you lose them no duplicates will be is-sued.
You can take 15 kg of baggage free and it is only checked in on certain trains. Bicycles can be taken on High Speed or Long Distance trains which have couchettes or bed compartments, but they have to be packed. On other trains you can normally take one per person, although no bicycles are accepted on some routes and on certain days. It is a good idea to check bicycle transport conditions with the company.
If your train is delayed you are entitled to compensation, according to the train and the delay. If you miss a connecting train because the ﬁrst one is delayed, the train company has to pay the necessary accommodation and subsistence.
If the train is cancelled, in general you can choose between reimbursement and changing the ticket.
Don’t forget that in the event of loss, theft or damage to baggage you are entitled to an compensation from the train company according to the kg missing or damaged.
- By plane
A plane ticket is personal, i.e. it can only be used by the person whose name is on the ticket. Airline companies can request proof of identification on boarding.
Remember that if you want to cancel or change the dates of your trip, the airline can charge you fees. There are fares which do not allow cancellation or changes; it is important to bear this in mind before you buy your ticket.
You should also be aware that:
- If there is a delay of two hours or more on your ﬂight the airline company has to provide food and drink, and accommodation if the departure of an alternative ﬂight is the following day. If the delay is longer than 5 hours you are entitled to the reimbursement of the ticket price, within the following seven days.
- If your ﬂight is cancelled, you are entitled to reimbursement or alternative transport and food and drink. In some cases you are also entitled to compensation; the amount depends on the ﬂight distance.
- In case of overbooking, the airline company ﬁrst asks if anybody wishes to voluntarily give up their seat in exchange for certain beneﬁts and the right to reimbursement or alternative transport. The company can only deny boarding against passengers’ will if there are not enough volunteers, and in this case passengers denied boarding are entitled to compensation.
As far as baggage is concerned, you should not forget the following points:
- Before you leave get information about baggage conditions; the number and weight of cases permit ted by each airline you are travelling with.
- Each airline company has its own conditions for checking in special baggage. If you are going to check in your bicycle, in some cases you will have to take it in special packaging or simply take it apart and disinﬂate the tyres, packing it as indicated. Some companies have special fares for this kind of item.
- In case of loss or damage you have to ﬁll in a damage complaint form immediately, at the airline information desk or the holding agent at the airport.
- By bus
Bus or coach companies are not obliged to give change for notes exceeding 20€ in value. Keep any public transport tickets until the end of your journey as the inspector might ask to see them at any time.
Transport of baggage and parcels:
- Baggage up to 30 kg is included in the fare.
- The amount to charge for excess baggage is freely decided by the transport company.
In case of loss of or damage to baggage compensation is paid according to weight.
Taxis should have a taximeter and a device which is lit up and visible to show the fare which is being applied on all routes.
The taxi service starts when you get in, unless you have contracted the service by radiotaxi or by telephone, in which case the service begins at the point the taxi starts from.
Fares should always be shown in a visible place inside the car so users can see them clearly.
Taxi drivers have to give change for notes up to 20 Euros and should provide a receipt for the service provided if so requested.
Taking luggage up to 50 kg is free in 4-seater car s, and up to 60 kg in larger vehicles.
- Baggage transfer Services
Not every pilgrim wants to travel with a full backpack, and walking is certainly a little easier when you let a taxi take it on ahead of you to your next destination. Many people do the whole Camino in this way. Perhaps you may only want to be free of your backpack when doing the very steep climbs, or on days when you’re body is sore from all the walking and you feel that you need a break. Whatever reason you have for wanting to walk with only a small daypack, then you’ll be happy to know that there are Camino carrier services that will help you in this regard.
If you choose to send your backpack ahead of you, you will always have to plan your next day’s walk, making a firm decision about the distance that you will cover and where you will stay. You will have to do this for two reasons: the first is that only the private albergues, hostels and hotels accept bed or room bookings, and it is only these that are open all day and are therefore available to receive your luggage from the courier. The municipal and the associated albergues do not take reservations, and they only open at around 3 pm, meaning that even if you took the chance and sent your bag on ahead to one of these places, there is usually no-one there to receive your backpack and therefore keep it safe until you arrive.
The second reason that you have to plan ahead is because the luggage transfer service will only transport your baggage for a maximum distance of 25 km.Around 7-8 Euro per pack per 25 km stage. Rates may be reduced for a large number of bags if you have more than just a backpack. Some couriers may cost slightly more.
Buen Camino, amigos!