Apart from hitchhiking, you will find that in most developed countries the cheapest form of transportation is the rail network. In third world countries where catching trains may not be an option, the public bus system will be a cheap way to travel.
Getting a rail pass is one of the most popular ways to get around large countries/continents but generally you need to buy your pass before you leave home. If you are traveling overnight to a destination, rail travel is also a good way to get cheap accommodation. Mostly trains are a quick way of getting around, especially the rail system in big cities. However in some countries where the rail system is not so advanced, trains may be more expensive than buses. They can also be cold and slow. Pick the right networks in the right countries for a positive and cheap rail experience – Europe, India, China are good examples of rail being the cheapest form of transport and having excellent networks.
Buses can be quite cheap, (especially in Britain), but also slower than rail. In under-developed countries they can be a unique way to experience the culture and scenery but prices vary from dirt cheap to outrageous. Consider that you might have to stand for the whole trip and share it with the local chickens! Night buses, like sleeper trains mean you get a free night’s accommodation thrown in. However a sleepless night on a crowded bus may not be appealing to many travelers.
Traveling by ferry or boat is another cheap form of transportation. Ferry travel can be cheaper than flying and can often get your there a lot quicker. Stories of over-crowding and boats sinking in some countries make the headlines. Ensure your ferry is safe and follows regulations.
Car travel can be a cheaper option if traveling in a group. Work out the cost of a rail pass for four people and then see how much you can rent a car for and divide it by four. Usually the car rental will come out cheaper. Cars also give you more freedom of choice when traveling and for families are probably the best option. Consider taxis when there are no other forms of transport available and you can share the cost with other travelers.
Flying internally around countries and continents can offer the traveler good value. In Asia and Europe it is worthwhile considering this form of transport as a cheap alternative. Although flying can cost more than rail and bus systems, the extra you pay is compensated by the time you save and the comfort you travel in. Many budget airlines are available now but avoid peak seasons if you can. It is cheaper to purchase your flight tickets from the country you will be traveling in.
Research the travel options in your chosen destination and work out the cheapest alternative for you. You may be surprised by how you end up traveling and be prepared for some culture shocks along the way!
This article is brought to you by: Stuart S. Travel – Your Online Travel Guru