BlaBlaCar is a handy carpool app, and it has become one of our favorite ways to travel! In foreign countries, bus tickets can get costly, and for no good reason. In this post, we will take a closer look at BlaBlaCar, so if you’re looking for a way to travel around a new country while making local friends and saving money in the process, this post is for you!
What Is BlaBlaCar?
BlaBlaCar is a French carpooling service that was launched in 2006. It was designed to connect people that were traveling to the same place and provide them with the opportunity to carpool. Spurring off of the sharing economy and with a business model similar to that of Airbnb, the BlaBlaCar App has largely innovated the way people get around between popular destinations.
To download the BlaBlaCar rideshare app, you can visit their website, or you can download the mobile app on your Android of IOS devices. While the company began in France, it quickly spread through other European countries and eventually into 3 other continents!
What Countries Have BlaBlaCar?
BlaBlaCar is now available in the following countries, broken up by continent for your convenience:
- EUROPE - Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Serbia, the United Kingdom, Czechia, Russia, & The Ukraine - NORTH AMERICA - Mexico - SOUTH AMERICA - Brazil - ASIA - India & Turkey
How Does BlaBlaCar Work?
Regardless of the country you’re traveling in, BlaBlaCar works the same way: BlaBlaCar drivers who are planning to go on a trip publish their planned itinerary on the BlaBlaCar website or app. They can then list the number of empty seats they have available in their car and the price they want to charge per seat.
Riders who are looking to go on the same route, like Paris to Lyon, can search for trips leaving on a specified date and from a specified departure point, and then choose which ride they’d like to book. Drivers have the option to specify how they’d like to be paid, but typically it is in cash upon the completion of the trip. If you prefer, you can usually pay with a credit card, but this will incur a transaction fee. It’s a very straightforward and safe process!
Additionally, riders and drivers provide ratings to one another after the trip is completed. This helps to ensure safety for both drivers and passengers.
As a passenger, you rate the driver overall as well as their driving skills, and as a driver, you rate your experience with the passenger. All drivers and passengers must also verify their government-issued IDs to ensure safety.
Is BlaBlaCar Safe to Use?
As the platform is not available in most countries, many people wonder whether or not BlaBlaCar is safe to use. After all, when you book a ride with BlaBlaCar, you are agreeing to hop into a stranger’s car!
While Uber does the same thing, Uber has many protections in place to track rides, and most Uber rides remain within a given city. Most BlaBlaCar rides link one city to another and naturally cover longer distances.
So, is BlaBlaCar safe to use? I would say so. While there is always going to be a little bit of inherent risk involved when getting into a stranger’s car, BlaBlaCar does a great job of allowing riders to provide feedback to drivers, and visa versa.
If you want to take a BlaBlaCar from one city to another, the best thing that you can do is read the reviews of the drivers that are offering that route. The best bet is usually to find a driver with great reviews from both men and women, as this provides a more well-rounded assessment of the safety within the vehicle. Reviews on BlaBlaCar are only published after the ride is completed, meaning that there is no coercion to provide a falsely positive review.
The driver isn’t the only individual that you should vet before signing up for a ride. Drivers have the opportunity to review passengers’ profiles, too, and these reviews can be equally helpful for you as a passenger. While vetting potential drivers is important, vetting the people that you share the backseat with can be just as crucial.
So long as you take the time to properly vet the driver and passengers that you are joining, BlaBlaCar is a sufficiently safe tool to use when traveling. It will likely save you significant amounts of money, connect you to a local, and leave you with a positive impression when it is all said and done. The cost of the journey will likely be cheaper than any bus company can offer, which is what makes BlaBlaCar such a good option for travelers who are on a budget.
Is There BlaBlaCar in the United States?
While BlaBlaCar’s carpooling platform is available in many places throughout Europe and Latin America, it is not yet available in the United States. There are many reasons for this.
One of the biggest reasons is that the United States has a much higher rate of car owners, and most people are keen to drive their own car for a longer trip rather than hopping into someone else’s. The United States public transportation is infamously poor, and Americans have gotten used to buying cars and driving them for all trips that cover long distances.
While it may be sustainable and it may minimize travel costs, the simple truth is that there isn’t nearly as much demand for a carpool service like this in the United States as there is in other parts of the world.
Other Things to Know About BlaBlaCar
In addition to these safety measures, BlaBlaCar has optional profile settings that are aimed to make you comfortable during your trip. Riders and drivers are can each write a short biography, specify how much conversation they prefer, whether they prefer to listen to music during the drive, whether they allow or don’t allow pets in the vehicle, and whether they condone smoking in the vehicle.
These optional profile sections allow passengers to better know the person they are getting in the car with while allowing drivers to know how to make their passengers as comfortable as possible. Once you book a trip on the BlaBlaCar Platform, you will be provided with basic details, like the type of car that the driver has as well as the driver’s phone number.
Drivers can publish their trip as early as they want, but we have found that waiting until a few days before your trip is the best thing to do as a passenger. There are more options, which means that you’ll have a better chance of picking a driver that you really hit it off with.
You can also see the other passengers that have signed up to be in your ride, if any. We met a really sweet girl on one of our rides who gave us some bread and coffee from her hometown while telling us all about the region and its history! Honestly, making new friends is almost as nice as the low prices.
We discovered BlaBlaCar while living in Mexico and we love it! As a couple, we paid a combined $20 round trip to travel to Puebla to Orizaba – a 2-hour, 73-mile trip each way.
Personally, I don’t know of any other way of traveling that is so fun, effective, and cheap! $5 per person each way is extremely cheap, and we really enjoyed the trip. We absolutely recommend trying out BlaBlaCar on your next trip to a country where it is available!
Have you used BlaBlaCar or do you have any advice for someone who is going to use it for their first time? Drop a comment below or send us an email at [email protected]. Also, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel and follow us on Instagram @the.present.perspective. Have a wonderful day, and Stay Present!