We’ve been writing a lot about road trips recently, and that’s because we’ve been doing a lot of research and we are very excited that we have a monster one coming up in June, through California – CAN.NOT.WAIT. I’m sure, like many, when you think about taking a road trip, you automatically think about taking it by car, I know I do. But through my research, I realised that there are lots of ways you can actually take a road trip, each with many benefits, depending on what you want to get from your journey and experience. After all, the main aim of a road trip is to travel a long distance and see as much as possible. Therefore, we have put together a list of alternative modes of transport you could use to take your next road trip.
The mode of transport the most similar to a car is, of course, motorbike. Many countries allow anyone to hire a motorbike or should I say scooter, regardless of licence, especially in the Far East – yes even us. For around £6 a day the open road and the freedom to explore it is in the palm of your hand. However, if you plan to take a proper road trip on a motorbike you must ensure that you take it seriously.
One of the main things to consider is what to pack, as space is limited and over packing is out of the question. You also need to ensure that you carry out maintenance checks before you set off and at regular intervals, regardless of if you hire the motorbike or if it is your own. The maintenance checks include – ensuring the motorbike is in good working order, check your coolant level, chain and your battery and of course, ensure your motorcycle tires aren’t damaged in any way and that they are inflated to the right level. If you do come across any problems with your motorbike ensure you buy replacement parts from a reputable motorcycle parts store because if you are out on the road for a long time, you will want to ensure you are using good quality parts to combat a mid-journey break down.
Of course, you need the correct licence and insurance before you set off and the initial outlay of cash may be a lot, but just think of the freedom taking a motorbike road trip will give you and the sights that you will see.
So what if you don’t have a driving licence or don’t like the idea of driving a long way or for a long period of time, but still want to take a road trip? A great option would be to take a bus or a coach from place to place. When you are the designated driver you have to concentrate completely on the road, which means that you may miss out on seeing the amazing scenery you are passing through. On a bus, this isn’t an issue, as you can simply sit back, relax and watch the world pass you by.
Another great pro of taking a bus or coach is the cost. Bus tickets can be extremely cheap, especially if you book them in advance. For example, using a company such as Megabus or Greyhound can allow you to travel from city to city for only a few pounds, which is great if you are travelling on a budget. It means you will be left with more money so you can travel further or gives you more money to spend on food, activities or even souvenirs on your journey.
The biggest down side of taking a road trip by bus or coach is the time it takes to get from A to B, especially if there are a million and one stops on the route. Therefore, if you have limited time, perhaps this mode of transport isn’t for you. Also, depending on what country you are taking your road trip in may determine the quality of the bus and the facilities available on it. Yes you may only be paying pennies but can you live with no AC, no toilet and no wifi on a 9 hour journey?
Ok, if we’re getting technical this would actually be a rail trip but in reality the outcome is the same – long distance and seeing lots of places. Again, taking a train is great for people who can not or do not want to drive. Railway lines often run through scenic landscapes meaning that you get to see some great places from the comfort of your seat and places you certainly wouldn’t see if you were driving a car or even a passenger in one.
Train tickets are often not as cheap as bus tickets but compared to car hire or car maintenance and fuel, tickets usually do work out a lot cheaper. Again, this can save you money for use elsewhere on your trip or to allow you to travel for longer. In the UK, the cheapest train tickets are available 12 weeks in advance of your journey. Therefore, if you can plan your journey taking that into account you can save even more money. Trains, especially high speed ones can get you to your destination very quickly, which is a big bonus, giving you more time to explore the place you are visiting or allowing you to visit more places during the duration of your trip.
A downside of using a train for your journey is that you do not have the freedom of just up and leaving when you fancy, instead you can only take a journey when there is a train scheduled. Depending on the country you are travelling in, they could be very frequent or there could possibly be only one a week, make sure you check out the time-table to ensure you don’t get stranded.
There are also a range of other options you may want to consider such as plane, ferry, bike or even walking. Obviously, the mode of transport you choose depends on a range of factors, including how far you want to travel, how long you want to travel for and how much money you want/have to spend. Perhaps an option would be a combination of a few or even all of them.
So weighing up the pros and cons, how will you travel when you take your next road trip?