Transportation

By definition, traveling involves going from one place to another. This because a way of life, second nature, and it will feel strange when you stop. Here are tips to get you ahead in the learning process:

Walk – If you packed light, walk as much as you can. You get to see the whole city by walking and you save money. Not only that, but this will make you hungry, and that means you can eat more delicious food.

Plan Ahead – Always know how to get to your hostel/guesthouse/host/whatever before you get to a city. Know where the train station or bus station is, and how far it is to your destination. It really helps to have a map, which often times you can get at a tourist information booth nearby or within your arrival station.

Learn to read a map – This may be a challenge to some people, but it is a skill that has saved me many hours and many miles. It also lets you get off at the right train/bus/subway station if you cannot read the local language.

Use your hostel/guesthouse staff – If you are in a situation where you cannot read or write the local language and you need to get somewhere, have someone write down the destination you need to get to.

Never, ever use taxis – I might be unfair, but 90% of the time I have a negative experience. They will take you to the wrong place, drive you in circles, charge you more, use a specialized meter, take you to their friend’s shop before your destination, or any number of other tricks. The best thing is just to avoid them altogether, but if you have to use one, negotiate the price to get somewhere beforehand, and if you have to use one multiple times, try to find one you trust and specifically call him to take you places.

Busses are cheapest but uncomfortable – This is something you might have to build some thick skin to deal with. Often times it will be your only option to get some place incredible.

Trains are best – So so so nice. I particularly enjoy sleeper trains, even when I’m not taking an overnight.

Bags – If you travel light, like I suggested on the equipment page, you should keep your bags close to yourself, and even keep physical contact with the bag in some way. Put the strap around your leg, or put it between your feet, or on your head or anywhere. I use mine as a pillow sometimes. But don’t be paranoid about it, you might make others uncomfortable.

Motorcycles and Rental Vehicles – Definitely a good alternative to getting around, especially if you can afford it. Motorcycles / Scooters are a very popular option in Southeast Asia and some other countries. But it can also be very dangerous. If you have a vehicle you’ll also have to think about parking.

Planes are worst – If you want to save money and if you want to really experience a country, you’ll avoid flying. You also (ironically) don’t get a good sense of how large a place is when you’re in the air.

Bicycling is challenging – I can’t say much towards this besides I admire those who go for it, and it’s entirely possible.

Walking… you better have good shoes.

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