An important part of travel planning is planning the actual travel. Planes, trains, boats and buses, there are plenty of ways to get from A to B and with a bit of research you can find the quickest, cheapest and most enjoyable one of them all. Check out Rome2Rio.com for a fun way to research the many travel options out there.
If you’re off to a far flung destination you’ll probably need to book your main flight (you know that big, long-haul one that eats away at half the travel budget).
To get started with the search, try Kayak or Skyscanner. These act as price comparison sites and scour hundreds of providers to round up the best deals. There is something to be said for searching in private browsing mode. Although not everyone agrees, there is a theory that suggests websites hike up the prices if they see you’ve searched for the same flight repeatedly. Searching in private browsing ensures you’re treated as a brand new customer and are shown the lowest rates.
If you can, be flexible with dates and times. Flying on less popular days, like Sundays, and unfavourable times, like landing at 4am, can help to keep the rates down. Although consider how much your time and comfort are worth to you versus your money. Sure, you could book the cheapest flight possible, you might have a twelve hour lay-over and that eye-watering middle of the night landing time, but you’d have saved a tonne. On the other hand, your meals at the airport, desire for a shorter flight and private transport upon arrival (public transport might not be open overnight) could add up to more than that money saved. The same principle goes for choosing a 36 hour bargain bus or a 4 hour pricey flight.
Trains are a great way to get around. They’re quick, affordable and usually offer great views of parts of the country you’d otherwise miss. As covered in our accommodation tips, if you’ve got a long train ride ahead, consider booking the overnight sleeper version to save time and money. Sleepers range from hostel-style communal compartments (with privacy curtains, don’t worry) to swanky private rooms with sinks. Check out Seat61.com for an incredibly detailed collection of train routes and timetables around the world as well as advice for how to book.
For longer train rides we’d recommend booking online ahead of time to ensure they don’t book up. When it comes to shorter trips you can rock up to the station and purchase a ticket on the spot.
Buses, Coaches and Minivans
Buses may not be the most comfortable mode of transport but they are certainly one of the cheapest. Public buses are great for getting around town but for longer journeys look for private companies, coaches or minivans. A simple google search, bus from [here] to [there] for example, pulls up a lot of options. Similar to trains, you can usually book in advance online if you have a set schedule and want the peace of mind or last minute to keep spontaneity and flexibility in your trip.
Planes, trains and buses may be the popular three, but there are plenty more transport options out there to get you to where you want to be.
- Boats are great, not just for the essential in-between island trips but for a more unconventional travel style. Look into boat tours, sailing trips and budget cruises for a taste of the pirate life.
- Back on dry land, if you’re an off the beaten track type consider renting a car or motorbike and making your own route. Although you can find a rental vehicle on arrival it’s important to find the right company that not only rents long-term but are safe and scam-free. Give it a google and invest a bit of time in finding the perfect set of wheels for your trip.
- Hitchhiking. Once you get over the safety issues and unpredictability of hitchhiking, snagging a lift can be a cheap, quick and certainly exciting mode of transport. Be nice, be good company but most importantly be on the ball, you’re hopping into a stranger’s car after all.