“It's the journey, not the destination.”
This is a statement that is often thrown around by travelers across the internet for a good reason.
Traveling, by definition, involves taking transport of some kind.
Some methods are a way quite simply to get from point A to B. Yet others can end up being the best part of your journey.
Let's take a lot at some of the most popular transportation methods and the pros and cons of using each.
While I'm grateful to live in an era where air travel is so easily accessible, planes feature at the bottom of my list regarding ease of use and comfort.
To fly on almost any airline (at least within economy), you pretty much have to surrender your dignity at the airport entrance.
After being prodded, screened, and herded like cattle, you're squished in a tiny chair, surrounded by other people for hours on end.
Don't get me wrong – there are upsides to flying, besides the sheer efficiency of it.
I enjoy ten-hour flights, where I can snack on food, have a glass of red, catch up on my movies, and take an afternoon nap.
Yet, I worry about my carbon footprint and find the experience traumatizing.
These days I'm looking at flying as an option only when I have no other choice.
Ease of use: Depending on your access to an airport and the airline, getting from your home to your destination is relatively straightforward.
Enjoyment factor: 4/10 unless it's the long haul journey from London to Sydney. That gets 0/10, as that route is just upsetting.
There are pros and cons to buses. Once you're on the bus, all the hard work is taken care of for you by the driver.
On the other hand… well, I don't know about you, but I always get motion sickness/ actual sickness on buses.
Plus, if you don't get a seat and end up standing for hours – ugh.
Ease of use: You book a ticket, they're there, you get on them.
Enjoyment factor: Highly dependent on which country you're in and the distance of travel.
Depending on where you are, a car can be the most convenient and enjoyable form of transport.
Some of the best holidays I've been on have involved piling a bunch of people I like into a vehicle and driving around a foreign country…or my own, especially when you have no map, nor a clear direction as to where you may be going.
Ease of use: Simple. Put everything you need in the car. Get in the car. Start driving in the comfort of your own, air-conditioned space.
Enjoyment factor: Dependent on several factors. The company can make or break a road trip.
That and the snacks you bring, the variety within your Spotify playlists, and how many rounds of “I Spy” you can stand.
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Like road tripping, traveling to a destination by bike tends to emphasize the journey.
You're not simply going from one location to another – the ride is the point of the trip.
Ease of use: Most people know how to ride bikes. The concern comes from interference by other cyclists, cars, and people… not to mention the elements.
Enjoyment factor: Flat roads on a sunny day – you're smiling.
Although traveling by man's biggest four-legged friend is nowhere near as popular as it was in, say, the 1800s, there's something pretty special about trekking on horseback.
You have a chance to forge a special connection with another living being while placing complete trust in one another.
I've made a point of horse riding at any opportunity while traveling.
As a result, I have sweet memories of “tölting” on sweet little Icelandic ponies and cantering across open fields in Costa Rica.
The memories I regard with less fondness are horse riding in Cuba, but that's another story.
Ease of use: It depends on how experienced you are with riding horses/ how comfortable your horse is to have people ride it.
Enjoyment factor: Pretty good for the first few hours, before your leg muscles begin to seize up…
Boats are one of my favorite types of transportation. I've jumped on them to circle a harbor without bothering getting off; I love them so much.
Not only can they be used for transport, but they can also help you experience a city from a different point of view.
As for building an entire vacation around a boat ride?
The idea is popular for a reason. A cruise can serve as a way to sample different countries and cities on one holiday.
Ease of use: Wait at the harbor. Get on the boat. Enjoy the ride!
Enjoyment factor: So long as the weather is fine and you don't suffer from seasickness – 10/10.
When it comes to getting from one place to the next, it's hard to beat a train journey. Plenty of travelers use them for their ready availability.
Although planes obviously move a lot faster, trains can often be a more efficient form of transportation.
Once you add in the airport's distance and the wait time for boarding the flight plus possible delays, planes can often end up taking more time than you originally bargained for.
Considering there are trains worldwide which travel along at breakneck speeds, they're often the simpler choice.
That and some of the best adventures are built around long train journeys, such as the Trans-Mongolian from China to Russia.
Ease of use: So long as you're at the station on time, perfectly easy.
Enjoyment factor: Nab yourself a window seat and the view or a good book.
What's your favorite way to get around?
LC is an ex-expat who is currently re-exploring her home country of Australia. Follow her adventures at home and abroad via her blog Birdgehls, where she writes about travel, expat life, gushes on about various animals and bemoans her often futile attempts to go completely green. Or, you can look her up on Facebook.
Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends:
- G Adventures for small group tours.
- World Nomads for travel insurance.
- Hostelworld for booking hostels.
- Rail Europe for train passes.