A backpackers guide to transportation
The bulk of transportation costs
Transportation costs eat up a big portion of a backpackers travel funds. Expense for backpacker transportation may include air, ferry, train, bus and subway fares. Renting cars or bicycles are possible additions to this expense.
Reducing transportation costs is possible through several simple strategies. Some of which are:
1. Take advantage of consolidation fares or bulk tickets sold to travel agencies with the savings passed on to the consumer. A better option may be when airlines put their tickets on sale as they are usually lower than consolidation fares.
2. Choose the airline offering the lowest fare.
3. Time your trip during off-season as the lowest amount of travelers result to the lowest fare.
4. Purchase rail passes most suitable for your travel requirement while availing of discounts.
5. Take advantage of backpacking bus tours.
6. Purchase flexible bus passes which cover more popular travel destinations.
7. Renting a car may be a cheaper option for those traveling in groups.
The Best Way to Get Around
Inter-continental or long distance trips should be done by air. Choice of airline is wider than ever before with the steady rise of the number of low-cost airlines. Moderate distances can be covered by land. A trip on a bus or train allows the traveler to check in the local site at an unhurried pace. For short hops to islands, ferries are the ideal means by which to reach your destination.
Buses are a cheap alternative means to travelling from place to place, ably covering large distances easily. Bus stations are usually easy to find, but some bus companies have initiated an improvement to its service by picking up and dropping passengers from youth hostels. This provides an increased level of security and convenience as passengers are assured of finding places of accommodation in the place where he decides to alight from the bus.
The most popular way of traveling in most countries is by train. Some countries like France and Germany have a very advanced rail system that has become effective both for local and tourist use. Its main advantage over the bus is the speed which greatly reduces travel time. Each country has its own rail provider but some companies have started to offer rail pass schemes that are accepted on other rail networks. A lot of money is saved by calculating the best combination of train passes and tickets that will serve your itinerary.
In case you are one of those few backpackers who can afford the luxury of hiring a private car, it is best to familiarize yourself with the nuances of local driving. Hired cars should be carefully examined for any existing damage as some unscrupulous car for hire companies might try to charge you for damages you are not responsible for. Return the car with a full tank of gas or at least to the level when you first got the car.
Transportation costs cannot be totally avoided. There simply is no way unless you just walk everywhere which is not always possible. Some countries would require constant air travel due to their sheer size, while others would require some unique local form of transportation to reach your specific destination. One way of saving cost and time would be to board trains or buses with sleep carriages or coaches. This enables a traveler to continue travelling while resting and also guarantees them a place to sleep at least for a night. Several trips of this kind would add up to substantial savings in accommodation costs. Adequate precaution however should be taken as crimes on tourist properties are quite common during trips like these. Circumstances like this are probably taken advantage of due to lowered alertness during sleep.