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Find here some useful tips and advice when travelling around the world to help you choose the best transports and move around the cheap and authentic way.
Travel Transport Advice page content:
Here is the main advice of that section, fly less and cross borders by lands:
- No need to do a loop or turn back, one way only and carry on seeing more things on the way
- No need to organise and book transports, it is an easier last-minute way
- More locals
- Less trouble at borders with papers, control, onward tickets, etc.
- Can often travel by night and save on accommodation
Buses would be the main transport. Check what’s the overland transport situation in a country and how low or high the standards are. You will often have the choice of standards. Try not to take the most expensive touristy bus, supposed to be better and safer than the other ones. Yes, they are better and sometimes faster but way more expensive too and you will lose the local touch. Read the Transport Like a Local section.
Nb: you obviously don’t want to take any organized backpacker jump on/off whatever bus thing. Don’t think about it (outrageously expensive, only for tourists like a tour for transport, not wild nor insightful, etc.)
Official or not, when the bus situation is not good enough, local “taxis” take people pretty much everywhere there is demand for. You share the costs with the other passengers, so they often try to fill up the vehicle as much as they can. Don’t be put off with this way of getting from A to B because it is sometimes the only way and it doesn’t mean taxi prices. If locals do it, it is always a good sign. So, ask anyway.
Taking trains is another nice way of travelling but it can take longer and be more expensive than cheap buses. The Man in Seat 61 is a good website to help you organise your train journeys. Have a look at Rail Europe or Trainline for trains in Europe.
Trains could be good overnight, read more about Night Transport.
I like hitchhiking and have done it a bit during my trip but local transports are so cheap sometimes that it is hard not to take them. It is more for the feeling and the experience I would say and for money when travelling in places with expensive transports.
It is a nice rewarding way of travelling:
- It will give you nice experiences with local people. Plus tips, invitations to stay in their place, etc.
- Challenging and stressing sometimes but very rewarding when it works.
- Opportunity to discover new areas depending on where people can drive/drop you.
- Can give you the best rides ever (back of pickup car, high up in a truck, nice cars, etc.)
If locals are around you when you wait for a vehicle, you might try to ask them to help you stopping vehicle, that could work better.
Check Hitchwiki (yeah, they made a website just about hitchhiking) if you want to find some advice, information for specific countries, etc
Drive! Ok, it doesn’t sound cheap nor a good option to meet and get closer to local people. But it gives you freedom!
If you rent the same things locals use, then you got the local touch too (more for motorbikes here though).
- Be independent
- Explore, get lost (without really getting lost thanks to offline GPS app), off beaten track (yeah! ;).
- Get out of the tourist trail.
- Have your private space to store your bags, stuff.
Renting a vehicle with some other travellers is he occasion to go on a road trip, to change some of your travel habits (and get a good balance again). It will be more expensive than public transports but some countries have good deals and if you share the costs with 2 or 3 people, then it could be all right.
Locals are still surprised to see travellers in the middle of nowhere travelling independently and would be often welcoming. Just don’t rent expensive stuff, it will obviously create a bigger gap between you and local people.
In many countries, rental companies offer very attractive deals to relocate, bring back their cars/vans that their clients dropped somewhere else.
No trick here, it is a very good deal that works and is worth considering. Just check hidden costs and watch out for the time you have to bring it back, you don’t want to drive just for driving and not having any time to visit a bit.
Here we are! My favourite way of discovering lands. Ok, this is maybe not the safest and not that enjoyable in case of shitty weather but apart from that…
- It feels like you are part of the landscape, it gives you a way better impression of visiting a place while commuting (rather that not seeing much looking through a bus/car window).
- Go where 4 wheels+ vehicles don’t go.
- Stop whenever you want to enjoy a view, take pics, etc. without bothering anyone (use no space).
- Local motorbikes are cheap and easy to get fixed in countries where local drive them.
Don’t worry if you are not a motorbike driver back home. It is just like a bike after all, just do it! You will learn quickly and won’t regret it. Don’t worry about driving license, I have never been asked in Asia and drove motorbikes in pretty much all countries.
- Get international Driver License (well, not really asked most of the time but just in case, for the peace of mind).
- Try to rent vehicles local people use, you will feel closer from them and they would be way easier to fix if something happens
- Don’t be too afraid driving somewhere you don’t know. The roads and local drivers behaviours are not that bad. You will learn by doing and be ok following them.
The point is trying not to fly but well, you might have to at some point (continent with islands, etc.). It’s ok, flying has never been as cheap and is now common everywhere in the world.
Not a big section here as I am not a big fan of flying but here are few tips and websites to use:
- Local flying (within the same country) using local companies is often cheap.
- Book from destinations of departure or arrival, some say your IP address can change prices companies offer you. For similar reason, use the incognito feature (private navigation) or try to delete the cache and Internet history of the device you use.
- Use different comparison websites, at different times. It is hard to know how it works and how to trick airlines companies (or more how they trick you) but sometimes, you randomly get different results. Don’t try to get it, just try different options.
Websites to check and book flights:
I don’t want to be a pain here but just think of your carbon footprint also, flying is the worst by far! 😉
What is more adventurous than sailing the world?
Finding a boat to jump on is not that hard and you don’t need to have that much experience to get accepted.
Just head to a marina or popular mooring spot and ask around. I’ve met dozens of people who have travelled around the entire Caribbean for free using this technique.
You can also try to find ads online (more for longer journey/transat). There are less and less free websites but here are a few of the main ones:
– Bourse Aux Equipiers (French website)
– Sail The World (French website)
Don’t ask yourself too many questions and follow locals whatever dodgy transport they take.
- Safe enough, many people take it every day, don’t worry too much
- Meet locals and get respected for taking the same transport they take. Show them that you can share these things and that you don’t need to be treated differently.
- Have an authentic experience is what you are looking for right?
- They will most frequently treat you better than other local passengers and you often end up having more space than them
Easy and cheap access to motorbikes (buying and renting)
Cheap and safe transports everywhere
More options for train transport than other countries
Cheap local flying
- South / Central America:
Slightly more expensive transport in some countries
Lots of travel distance, renting a vehicle with people could be a good option
Cheap and accessible local transports (often in minivan/combi) but waiting time and lack of space