Means of Transport for Adventure Travel

There are many different means of transport to get around. Nevertheless, most people take the plane to reach their destinations. And when they set out for longer journeys, they also take the airplane to move between destinations, even if they are not far apart.

According to us, taking the airplane is not the most adventurous way of travelling. It will only bring you to big cities or the most popular places, skipping the interesting countryside. And it will not bring you in contact with the locals, who are not using airplanes to get around.

And what about those of us who are afraid of flying? And what about the air travel’s contribution to global warming? So, lets find out about some alternative means of transport for adventure travel.

Overland truck in Ethiopia, surrounded by locals

Do you travel with the locals?

For us, adventure travel includes finding your way around by public transport. This is what is often meant by independent travel (or individual travel) as well. A drawback may be that it takes some more time to get around, but on the other hand it is a great way to meet local people, and that’s also what travelling is about, isn’t it?

In general, two types of public transport systems can be identified: the systems that take you from destination to destination, and local systems that help you get around.

Should you use the train or the bus?

To travel from one destination to another, we prefer to travel by train. Trains are comfortable, without sudden movements, and mostly you can move around in them. More information can be found on our page about Train Travel.

In some continents or countries, however, there are little or no rail tracks. To move between destinations there, you will have to take the bus.

But buses have their advantages, too. For one, they are often cheaper than trains. So check our page about Bus Travel to know when and where you can take the bus.

How do you get around?

The tuktuk, local transport in Thailand To get around within a city or region, you need to depend on local transport. However, in every continent, every country, and even in every city, the local public transport system can be different.

When travelling to the big cities in for instance Europe, be prepared to learn the specific details of the local subway or bus system again for each city. These are the general guidelines for this: find a public transport map; find out the payment type and discount cards; and get going.

In some continents and countries, however, you need to learn the general way of local transport. Read about a few of those on our Rickshaw page.

What is meant by Overlanding?

Apart from using public transport, there are other means of travelling overland. Bringing your own vehicle is also an option. In urban areas and developed country, this may have some of the disadvantages as air travel: you will only see your destination plus the highway, and you will not meet the locals.

In more remote areas, however, you will indeed see much more, and may end up sleeping at the locals in distant villages in the countryside. In these remote regions, you will most likely need a 4x4 vehicle or motorbike, allowing you to go offroad. You can read more about this in this article about Offroad Adventure Travel, written for us by offroad specialist Ron Douglas.

If you are adventurous, but not technical enough to go by your own 4x4, consider taking an overland truck. These are organized trips, but other than that, they offer all the excitement of adventure travel. Read more about this way of travelling on out page about Overland Trucks. And check out how to travel Africa Overland.

Last, but certainly not least, we would like to mention travelling by bicycle. Agreed, it is slow, but if you have more time on your hands, it is the best way to experience the country and region you are travelling in. You can read more about it in this article about Bike Travel, written for us by experienced bicycle traveller Peter van der Lans.

Pelni ship in Indonesia

Take your time and relax on a Boat

Where it is not possible to travel overland, consider travelling by boat. Boats are used in densely forested surroundings (Borneo, the Amazon area). But they are also an important means of transport in large Archipelagos, like Indonesia.

For travelling between the continents, and over the oceans, there are also possibilities like passenger ships, cruises, or cargo ships that take passengers. Check out how to travel from Europe to the United States by sea on this website.


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