If you’ve never heard of Blablacar, it is the biggest platform of its kind in the world. Blablacar actually pioneered the method of transportation known as ridesharing back in 2006 in France.
Today, it is currently available in most European countries as well as Turkey, India, Mexico, and Brazil so if you are planning to rideshare in any of those places, you should definitely become familiar with it! And even if you’re not, they are continuously expanding and providing support for even more countries so it’s still useful to know about it.
If you’re planning to rideshare in Canada or the US, there is another platform you should use. Learn more about it in my Guide to Poparide.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of ridesharing in the first place, you should check out my Guide to Ridesharing to learn everything you need to know about it, but in essence, it involves joining a local driver who plans to drive from one destination to another in their personal vehicle for a fee.
Unlike ride-hailing (i.e. Uber/Lyft) which is on-demand, meant for short distances, and an alternative to taxis, ridesharing has to be planned for in advance, meant for long-distances, and is an alternative to long-distance buses or trains. Ridesharing can often be cheaper than other forms of transportation and can also make for a fun experience as you get to meet locals and other travelers as you do it!
On this page, I will give you a simple and straightforward step-by-step guide on how to create a Blablacar account and book your first ride so without further ado, let’s get into it!
1. Find the version of Blablacar you want to use to create your account
Before you can create your account, you need to find the version of Blablacar that you want to use since there is more than one. When you go to blablacar.com, one of two things will happen.
If you are currently in a country which they already support, you will automatically be redirected to that country’s version of Blablacar. If you are in another country, you will instead be given the option to choose which version you want to use.
Here’s the thing: each different version of Blablacar will only come in the official language of the country it supports and there is unfortunately no universal English option or option to change to another language. If you already speak the language of the country in which you want to create your account, then just go to that country’s version of the platform and move on to Step #2.
But if you want to create your account in English, then you will have to select either the UK or India versions of the app. If you’ve automatically been redirected and the official language of the country you’re in isn’t English, then you can still get to these versions of the platform by changing the url at the top of the page to www.blablacar.co.uk or www.blablacar.in, respectively. For the purposes of this guide, I will use the UK version.
2. Create your account
Go to the top right of the page and click on Sign Up. You can sign up using your Facebook account or your email address so pick whichever you prefer. Signing up with your Facebook account saves you some time, otherwise you will have to fill in your email address, name, date of birth, and gender manually.
You will then be asked to verify your phone number. If you haven’t left for your trip yet, put your normal cell phone number there, but if you’re already in your destination and you have a local SIM card (highly recommended: check out my Guide to Prepaid SIM Cards for more info), use that number.
You will then receive a 4-digit code via SMS at the phone number you chose which you will have to input on the website. After that, your account will be created and you will be redirected to the home page.
At this point, you could begin searching for rides, but I recommend completing your profile first.
3. Complete your profile
Click the arrow next to your name in the top-right of the page to see the drop-down menu and click on Profile. Add a short bio talking about yourself, where you’re from, why you’re using blablacar, and your interests. If you speak any other languages, mention that too.
Remember, potential drivers will see your profile when you request a ride with them so the more information you provide about yourself, the more likely a driver will want to give you a ride!
Next, click on photo and upload a photo of yourself. The maximum size of the photo can only be 3MB so if you’re having troubles uploading one, either resize that photo or use another one. The best photos are ones where you are alone and facing the camera without sunglasses or a mask. A profile photo is important to reassure drivers and make it easy for them to recognize you when you’re trying to find each other at the pickup point.
Next, click on preferences and indicate whether you’re typically quiet or if you love to chat, whether or not you are okay if others smoke during the ride, whether or not you’re okay with pets being next to you, and how you feel about music being played in the car! Keep in mind that these are just preferences and won’t affect your search results. They just help drivers know what to expect from you as a passenger and if the driver has a pet or is a smoker, they can check with you about it!
Finally, click on verification and verify your profile as much as you can. The more verified your profile is, the more you can reassure a driver that you are who you say you are. Verify your email address by clicking the link Blablacar sends to it, verify your phone number if you didn’t already do it in Step #2, verify your ID by uploading a photo of your passport or National Identity Card, and connect your Facebook account if you didn’t create your Blablacar account with it already.
These are all things that you should also look for when reviewing a driver’s profile so you can be reassured that the drivers are who they say they are. It helps you know what to expect from them and avoid drivers who don’t match your preferences or who seem sketchy!
4. Start looking for rides
Now that your profile is set up, you can start looking for a ride! Click on Find a Ride in the top-right of the page and simply input your departure and arrival points, the date & time you want to see rides, the number of passengers (people you plan to travel with), and click search!
You will get shown all the rides available for your search sorted by departure time as well as details about the departure & arrival points, the departure & arrival times, the name, picture, and rating for the driver, whether the driver only allows a maximum of two people in the back or not, whether the ride has instant or manual approval, and the price in British Pounds.
Pick the rides that interest you and click on them to get more information about them.
If you aren’t able to see any rides, go to Step 4b.
4b. Search for rides on other versions of Blablacar
Depending on which country you plan to travel in, you may not be able to see any rides available by only using the UK version to search for them. The UK version will only show you rides for the UK as well as a few other European countries (Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain, to be exact), but will not show you all, if even any, of the rides for any of the other countries that Blablacar is present in.
Therefore, the best thing you can do when looking for any ride is to use the official version of Blablacar for the country that you are looking for a ride in.
Here’s quick access to all the versions with their links: Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, and Ukraine.
The only problem is that other versions of Blablacar will come in that country’s official language and if you don’t speak that language, then it can be hard to figure everything out. However, there are two ways that you can get around this:
- Use Google Chrome’s built-in webpage translator.
When you open any webpage that is in a foreign language on Google Chrome, you should be prompted with a pop-up asking if you want to translate the webpage. If you aren’t, then you can also translate it by right clicking anywhere on the page and clicking on “Translate to English” on the menu that pops up. If this doesn’t work or you are experiencing some bugs, try method #2.
- Use the Google Translate extension.
You first need to download the Google Translate extension for Google Chrome which can be found here. Then, go to the webpage you want to translate and click on the extension button. Click “Translate This Page” to translate the whole webpage. If that still doesn’t work for you, then the other thing you can do is highlight any text that is in a foreign language and click the little button that appears when you do. A popup with the translation of that text in English will appear and you’ll be able to understand what is written!
In addition, there are also 8 other countries in which you can find Blablacar rides that don’t have their own official versions and cannot be seen with the UK version. They are Austria, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Slovenia, and Switzerland. To see rides in these countries, you should use either the German or Russian versions of Blablacar.
German version for Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Slovenia, and Switzerland
Russian version for Belarus (you can also see some rides with the German version, you just see more with the Russian one)
5. Compare your options
Note the departure & arrival points carefully as they may not exactly be in the same cities you originally searched for. Blablacar likes to show you nearby rides that are also available in case they aren’t too far for you. Check where the departure point is on Google Maps and if you don’t think you can make it there, look for another ride.
Also check where the arrival point is too to make sure you can get dropped off where you need to go. You can also contact the driver before you make a booking to ask if they are willing to pick you up or drop you off at another location.
Under the driver’s name, you can see what they wrote about the trip as well as the type of car they drive including its colour and a photo if they uploaded one. For a couple dollars more, you might be able to get a ride in a fancy car so compare all your options!
And if you click the driver’s name, you can see their profile including their bio, preferences, verifications, number of rides published, and how long they’ve been a Blablacar member. If you click on Ratings, you can see all the reviews that the driver has received.
You may also be shown some bus options that are available for your itinerary. Blablacar has partnered with Ouibus to provide bus services for some routes which can sometimes be cheaper than the ridesharing options available.
If you choose to take a bus, check out my Guide to Bus Travel to learn more about what to expect. Otherwise, continue on to Step 6.
6. Book your ride
Once you’ve compared all the options and found the ride that you like, press the Continue button at the bottom of the page to book it. When you’re in the payment screen, the ride gets blocked for other people so that it doesn’t get booked by someone else while you’re still trying to pay. Fill in your information if you wish to pay by MasterCard or Visa (debit versions are accepted too) or click on PayPal to connect to your PayPal account and pay that way.
If the driver set it up so the ride has instant approval, then you will receive a confirmation notification that your ride is booked. Otherwise, your request will get sent to the driver for approval and after they review your profile, they will decide whether or not they want to approve your request.
In countries that don’t use the British Pound or Euro as their currency, you pay your driver in cash instead of online*. In these cases, you make your ride request and take note of the amount you owe the driver, making sure to have that cash ready for when you meet them, the custom being to give them the cash at the end of the ride.
And if the ride takes place in a country that doesn’t have its own version of Blablacar, make sure to ask the driver which currency they want it in and confirm the total with the driver before you meet them.
*Even though Germany, Italy, and Slovakia use the Euro, Blablacar doesn’t always charge you online for rides in those countries. You can often pay drivers in cash in those three countries.
6b. There are ways to skip out on the service fee
Blablacar will charge you a service fee for every ride if the payment method is by card or PayPal (not including rides in Italy or Germany), but if you don’t want to pay it, there are ways to get around it.
You can try to contact the driver to ask if you can organize the ride off the platform to avoid paying the fee, but Blablacar’s messaging system will block the message from being sent. It will also block out any attempts to give out phone numbers, links, or email addresses so you have to be a little creative.
An instagram username should be able to get past their filters (assuming the driver also has instagram) and you can send messages that way. You could also write your phone number using a combination of numerals and text.
For example, instead of writing 123-456-7890 in a single message, write “won 2 three” in one message, “for 5 sicks” in another, and “seven ate 9 ten” in another. Misspellings and inconsistencies will fool their system and get through their filters.
Note that there is no guarantee that every driver will be open to this so don’t expect it to work every time.
6c. You might also be able to pay in another currency
Similar to the languages, Blablacar doesn’t give you an option to change the currency you get charged in when you pay by card or PayPal. However, if you would rather pay in Euros instead of British Pounds or vice versa, there’s a trick you can use that will let you pay in the other currency.
Here’s how it works:
- Find the ride you want to book and go to the booking screen.
- Change the domain name in the URL to www.blablacar.co.uk if you want to get charged in GBP or to www.blablacar.de if you want to get charged in EUR, while keeping everything else in the URL the same. (Be aware that if you change from the Italian or German versions to the UK version, the service fee will get added to your total, increasing the price.)
- Complete the booking and pay in your new currency!
7. Contact your driver and coordinate the pickup
Once your booking is confirmed, you’ll receive the driver’s phone number. Coordinate on the pickup time and location with them, either via a phone call, SMS, or WhatsApp (preferred by most people in Europe and the other countries Blablacar operates in). When it’s time, head to the pickup point and look for their car.
Try not to be late because some drivers might be on a tight schedule and choose to leave without you if you take too long. Plus, the earlier you get there, the better the chance that you get to pick your seat first if there are other people joining the ride too!
P.S. If you need to cancel your booking for whatever reason, you will receive a full refund minus the service fee if you cancel 24 hours before the departure time and only a 50% refund minus the service fee if you cancel less than 24 hours before departure.
You can also get a full refund including the service fee if you cancel within 30 minutes of making the booking if it is made less than 24 hours before the departure time. If you no-show and don’t cancel your booking, your payment will go to the driver. If the driver cancels or no-shows, you receive a full refund including the service fee.
8. Enjoy the ride!
Don’t be afraid to ask for a washroom break or a pit stop if you need to stretch your legs or grab some food, and get to know your driver and fellow riders! Blablacar gives you a chance to make new friends, get some recommendations from a local, and maybe even practice a different language.
I’ve met so many awesome people because of Blablacar and had a lot of fun experiences. Sometimes, I’ve even hung out with the other people from my ride at the destination we were all going to!
Once the ride is complete, confirm it via the app so the driver gets paid and be sure to leave them a review. This will also encourage them to leave you one since they won’t see your review until they write you one and the more reviews you have, the easier it will be for you to book future rides!
And that’s all there is to it!
If this guide was helpful for you, let me know in the comments below. And tell me about your Blablacar experiences! I’d love to hear about them.
And if you’re feeling even more adventurous, check out my Guide to Hitchhiking to learn how you can get a similar experience to ridesharing, but for free!