17 In Travel/ Travel Talk

Planes, Trains or Automobiles: How Do You Prefer to Travel?

Traveling is the greatest thing I have ever experienced and one of my favorite things about traveling is that it’s never, ever the exact experience.  I’ve been to numerous places more than once and each time it’s completely different.  Thinking about differences in trips got me thinking about the different ways to travel.  These days there are so many different way to travel: Air Travel, Bus Travel, Cruises, Cycling, Hitchhiking, Road Tripping, RVs and Train Travel.  Of course there are pros and cons to all of these, but it’s interesting to think about.

AIR TRAVEL

Pros:

  • It’s very quick, and allows for more time at your destination, instead of on the way
  • It’s a very safe way to travel
  • It’s especially easy for long distances, and allows you to be able to relax and multi-task on the way

Cons:

  • No car to get around when you arrive at your destination
  • Air travel isn’t always cheap- unless you know how to book flights
  • It can be really uncomfortable to sit in those seats next to a stranger (unless that stranger is insanely interesting)
  • Outrageous baggage fees!

There are some cases where airfare can’t be helped, such as international trips.  I, personally, have mixed feelings about flying.  If I’m traveling in the U.S. or in Canada I prefer not to fly, but when I’ve been to Europe and Mexico I’ve had no choice but to fly, and it’s really not that bad, and I’ve had really good, and not been stuck sitting next to anyone annoying (knock on wood).

BUS

Pros:

  • Bus tickets are often inexpensive (especially when you use buses like MegaBus)
  • Some buses offer discounts (student, senior, military, etc)
  • You don’t have to be the driver, like flying, you can multi-task

Cons:

  • Having bus stops in sketchy areas late at night
  • There is little to no food or bathroom availability
  • Buses can be crowded and uncomfortable
  • Some buses stop in every little town, making for a long journey

I’ve never traveled a long distance on a bus that wasn’t a very accommodating tour bus, so I can’t really speak from personal experience on this one.

CRUISES

Pros:

  • Set cost
  • Food and entertainment are included
  • You only have to unpack once

Cons:

  • You can have surprise fees
  • Although the food is free, you might not enjoy it
  • There is limited exposure when you stop in different locations due to time restrictions

The only “Cruise” I’ve been on was a day cruise to a couple of Greek Islands and it is my least favorite way of traveling I’ve experienced so far.  I enjoyed the live entertainment, but hated the limited time, the food and I was seasick… No thank you!

CYCLING 

Pros:

  • Lower cost
  • It’s environmentally friendly
  • Great exercise
  • You travel at your own pace, and really get to take in scenery

Cons:

  • Although the exercise is great, it’s hard work
  • Breakdowns and bad weather put a wrench in travels
  • You have limited space for storage
  • You can’t control all the crazy drivers out there

I’ve never been biking on a trip, but one blog that I follow, Travel Destination Bucket List by the wonderful blogger Anita Mac is a pro, and I know you could look to her blog for a lot more information.  I do hope to cycle the Pacific Coast Highway sometime in the near future… Plans, plans, plans…

HITCHHIKING 

Pros:

  • I imagine this a the truest of adventures, and I can only imagine the stories you would acquire
  • There’s little to no cost as far as transportation goes
  • It’s a fantastic way to meet new people

Cons:

  •  Safety- everyone seems to think this is super unsafe, but the fact is people do it everyday
  • Weather doesn’t always cooperate
  • You’re never guaranteed a ride

This is something that I felt was really glamorized in folk music and “On the Road”, but wasn’t something that I felt I could realistically do.  That is until I started following The Lost Art of Hitchhiking by the hitchhiking duo Shawn & Suzanne.  They hitchhiked to Alaska and now I day dream about doing the same everyday.

ROAD TRIPPING 

Pros:

You get your choice of how to eat, be it on the cheap or in restaurants, but the thing is you decide

  • You get to see the real world: not fly over it, and not train tracks.
  • There are no baggage fees
  • If there’s a group of you it can save money
  • Your car can even be used as lodging (there’s no shame in this 🙂 )

Cons:

  • It does take time to get to where you’re going
  • You’re in charge of whether or not you take a wrong turn or you get a flat tire.  It can be a little less relaxing
  • There can be wear and tear on your car

Road trips are my absolute favorite way to travel!  I love hitting the open road with nothing but possibilities ahead of me.  There’s something so freeing about it, but you still have a little control because you have your safe spot.  Packing a cooler, a backpack, a road map and having an amazing soundtrack are all that you need to make an awesome road trip!

RV

Pros:

  • You have endless possibilities: you can tow a car or strap your bike onto the back
  • You’re in charge of when and where you stop, which allows you more time to explore
  • There are rooms built in
  • You only unpack once
  • It can save you a lot of money when it comes to food because the kitchen is built right in

Cons:

  • I hear RVs can be pretty difficult to drive
  • With rising gas prices it could get a little costly
  • Like road trips, it takes longer to arrive at your destination

I went on a weekend trip with my grandparents in their RV when I was a little girl and I thought it was the coolest thing ever!  I would love to buy a vintage RV and take an entire year road tripping across the US and Canada.

TRAIN

Pros:

  • It’s a very safe method of traveling and there’s no traffic to deal with
  • It doesn’t have too many stops
  • It can be relaxing because you can multi-task
  • It’s actually really easy to buy tickets
  • It can be inexpensive, and often times rail passes are available
  • It’s a fantastic way to meet locals

Cons:

  • It can be hard to schedule perfectly within your trip and trains are often late
  • If there are smaller towns or archaeological sites you want to visit you’ll still have to take a bus
  • It’s not always the most comfortable form of travel
  • Food isn’t always available

This last November I took my first real train trips (I don’t think the Grand Canyon Railroad when I was 10 really counts).  I thought they were a really great way to travel.  If you’re staying in one city and taking day trips from there, like I was in Italy, I would highly recommend using the train.  It was great fun and I did meet a lot of really interesting people, caught up on some journaling, and did a little reading!

 

 

I would love to hear what you guys think the best way to travel is!  Are there any that I forgot?  What about your favorite form of traveling makes it your favorite?

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17 Comments

  • Reply
    Anita Mac
    March 29, 2012 at 11:04 am

    You nailed it on the head with your pros and cons! There are so many great ways to cycle tour, whether point to point self sufficient or day trips. Another great pro – you get to eat pretty much what ever you like! Such a great way to really get out there and see things. Cycling is also quite unifying – a great way to meet people from all over the world!
    The Pacific Coast Highway is on my list too – have heard rave reviews from so many people! I am sure you will have an amazing time!

    • Reply
      ashleypaige4
      March 29, 2012 at 2:07 pm

      Thanks, Anita! I really would love to do a trip like this very soon, but I’m really a beginning cyclist and am definitely not in shape for one of your trips! ha! Thanks for adding the other pro! (I love to eat on vacation!)

  • Reply
    timscyclingblog
    March 29, 2012 at 11:42 am

    I’m totally pro cycling, so I dispute your cons 🙂

    I dispute “You can’t control all the crazy drivers out there” because I get far more problems driving in rush hour than I do cycling. Maybe you haven’t really cycled that much?

    Same for “You have limited space for storage”, bikes are tiny compared with cars and folding bike take even less space. They cost nothing to store too, no parking charges.

    As for “Breakdowns and bad weather put a wrench in travels”, have you ever had a puncture in your car? I can fix a puncture on my bike with a 99p repair kit I can carry with me in my pocket and the pump that’s clipped onto my bike. To fix my car I need a tyre garage to be open and have to pay £15 for them to fix it or typically they won’t because it isn’t directly in the centre so you have to buy a new tyre. Yes, you do get fair weather cyclists, but I am not one of them, I cycle in snow and ice, I wear the correct clothing and have more fun than any car driver in the world!

    Yet you won’t catch me cycling across the ocean to my holiday destination. That is a con for most of the above; you can’t cross the sea.

    • Reply
      ashleypaige4
      March 29, 2012 at 2:05 pm

      I’m glad that you have solutions for those cons! I’ve never done a cycling trip, just around town/on trails and to work and school, but I am dying to do one, these were cons that I researched, actually.

      I have found that in my hometown though, while biking around, it’s much more terrifying to cycle than drive, mostly because around here it’s not as respected to cycle, and people are frustrated behind me and whip around me. I’ve been ran off the road a couple of times.

      When I said storage as a con, I meant for packing, not storing the bike.

      I can change a tire on my car, but haven’t had to do so on my bike, but nor do I carry a spare bike tire. So I can’t really speak from experience there.

      Like I said, these are just pros and cons I’ve researched, I think biking would be a fantastic way to travel, but I’m glad that you had arguments for each, it makes it weighted even more in favor of cycling.

      • Reply
        timscyclingblog
        March 29, 2012 at 5:53 pm

        I only addressed the cons 🙂

        I never mentioned “Although the exercise is great, it’s hard work”, so here I go again… it isn’t hard work if you are fit, if you are unfit then you need to do it, so the hard work is actually a pro!

        The biggest pro for cycling is that it is actually fun. I’m not convinced any other form of transport is anything other than boring for the most of it and there is no feeling like flying along under your own steam, it’s that sense of freedom that children love and it’s the reason why bike ownership is so high.

  • Reply
    Commenting on the cons of cycling #cycling | Tim's cycling blog
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  • Reply
    Little Fingers
    March 29, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    This is a nice Post Ashely, Thanks for sharing this with us 🙂

  • Reply
    Tim Shey
    March 29, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    About hitchhiking. I have been hitchhiking the United States for most of 15 years. I think hitchhiking is safer and faster than taking a bus–and you meet a lot of great people on the road. And it is a cheap way to travel.

    “Chris McCandless Revisited”
    http://tim-shey.blogspot.com/2010/08/chris-mccandless-revisited.html

    Anita Mac: I have hitchhiked the Pacific Coast Highway from San Luis Obispo to north of Big Sur, California and I have hitchhiked the coast highway (U.S. 101) in Oregon. Very beautiful.

    “The Pacific Ocean”
    http://tim-shey.blogspot.com/2010/04/pacific-ocean.html

    • Reply
      ashleypaige4
      March 30, 2012 at 10:24 pm

      Thanks for commenting! Like I said in my post, I had been leery of it, but knowing what I do now I would love to try it. I can’t wait to look through your blog and learn even more! Thanks for reading and putting your vote in for hitchhiking!

  • Reply
    James Shannon
    March 29, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    Nice roundup … I like flying for the takeoff and landing … adrenaline rush!

    • Reply
      ashleypaige4
      March 30, 2012 at 10:21 pm

      I know, I love the feeling, but it makes me nervous every time! I think I forget to breathe most of the time! Haha! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Reply
    LensScaper
    April 5, 2012 at 3:08 am

    If the journey is downhill then you can’t beat skiing! But if there’s any uphill involved, then it’s hard work. I enjoyed the read

    • Reply
      ashleypaige4
      April 8, 2012 at 10:57 pm

      Thanks for commenting! I’ve never been skiing, but I would love to try sometime!

  • Reply
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