Planes, trains, automobiles?

Which one should you take to your destination?

There are many modes of transportation and, in most cases, the mode you choose depends on where you’re going and how fast you need to get there. This “efficient” travel method is usually our default method. We want to get there, and we want to get there NOW.

 But our obsession with efficiency can supercede our joy of the journey and we often overlook other ways to travel simply because they’re slower. Since we’re so wrapped up in arriving, we forget to experience the trip itself. Here are a few options (advantages and disadvantages included) to consider next time you plan a trip.


I live on an island. A big island, but an island nonetheless. If you live in a place that’s surrounded by water, boats and ferries are a great option to get from one rock to the other. On my island, it’s also usually the cheapest way to get to the mainland. The greatest thing about a boat trip is the fact that you’re surrounded by nature. Sailing through islands, seals and whales and dolphins visible from the ship’s deck, can make you really appreciate the beauty that exists away from the bustle of city living. It’s such a calming and relaxing mode of travel that I always find myself enjoying the trip. It is a bit of a slow way to go, especially if you have to navigate through islands and other obstacles. For those that get motion sickness, it might also not be the most fun way to travel. And if it’s a trip that you have to take too often, it can easily become as boring as the morning commute.

Nevertheless, a boat trip is a lovely change of pace for those of us that won’t spend too much time on the water otherwise. It’s a great way to see wildlife, relax a little, and enjoy some of the best views around.


Another great way to travel while still seeing your surroundings is by train. This method is relatively quick and is great for both shorter and longer journeys. In many countries it’s an easy way to get around that is still quite affordable while being efficient. When I think of train trips, I usually think of Europe, mostly because that’s where I spent the majority of my travel time on trains. As much as I sometimes didn’t enjoy the process of making my way through a packed train station at rush hour and trying to find a place to sit in a jam-packed train, I always liked the ride. The steady motion of a train is much like the gentle swaying of a boat, constantly felt, yet subtle enough to fade into the background.

The ability to look out a window into a sprawling pasture, a quaint countryside village, or the darkness of a mountain tunnel is what continues to draw me to train trips. The practicality of not having to worry about a vehicle and the relatively low-stress planning combined with the adventurous freedom up for grabs is what make trains a romantic mode of transport even today.


If you’re looking for the ultimate money saver, travelling by bus is most likely the way to go. You don’t have to worry about the drive, you can see a lot along the way, and you can use the time to read, write, draw, listen to music, or do whatever else you want to. However, it’s definitely not the way to go if you’re wanting to arrive somewhere on time or if you’re in a rush. And for those long trips, the comfort level is definitely questionable. While travelling by bus can leave you with some extra spending money upon your arrival, it may not be worth the stiffness and kink in your neck.

At the same time, it is another hassle-free method of travel. You hop on and hop off without needing to think about where to park, where to store your luggage while travelling, or the stress of driving in an unfamiliar place. What a bus trip may lack in speed and comfort, it definitely makes up for in price and ease of travel.


If you’re okay with driving in unfamiliar territory though, a road trip is a great way to get from A to B. Pack the car full of snacks and music and enjoy the freedom of stopping when you want and where you want. Taking your car, or even a rental car, on the road does have its downsides though. Having to find parking in an unknown city, worrying about accidents or breakdowns, and even just driving through a metropolitan centre is enough to make many people overlook this option altogether. Add the price of gas on top of that and it begins to look like a bad idea overall.

While it may not be the fastest way to travel, especially if you’re going very long distances, driving can be the most obvious way to see more of your surroundings. It also offers the freedom of transport anywhere and anytime. Your car means your rules and you can get out to stretch your legs at any point along the way which is a choice you won’t have otherwise.


Let’s face it though. These other modes are all well and good if you’ve got the time to leisurely make it to your destination and if it so happens that your destination is on the same continent as your starting point. But if you’re looking to travel across oceans in a time-sensitive manner, nothing beats a plane, at least for now. Planes are the fastest way to get somewhere, and you get to fly there which is pretty neat all on its own, but they tend to be quite pricey. A plane trip, unless it’s on one of those cheap budget airlines, usually sets you back at least a few hundred dollars. The jetlag isn’t much of a joy either, comfort is minimal unless you can afford first class, and you also don’t get to see too much besides during takeoff and landing.

But planes also have their charm. You can catch up on all the movies you haven’t made it to the theatre to see. You can spend some time offline, reflecting and thinking about whatever it is that’s on your mind with fewer distractions than an average day. And there’s not much that beats the view from 11,000 metres up if you’re lucky enough to fly on a clear day.

So which one’s for you?

At the end of the day, the method doesn’t really matter. The point is the journey. Don’t just rush to get to your destination and maybe pick a way to travel that you wouldn’t normally go with. Next time you take a trip, make sure you take the time to breathe a little, smell the proverbial roses, and enjoy your mode of transportation for both its benefits and its pitfalls.

Written by: Sonia Motisca




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