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These days, most people travel by plane or car. There are, however, many other modes of transport worth considering. Nothing is as quick for long-distance travel as planes are, but the alternatives offer a wealth of unique experiences. And while cars can be convenient for short jaunts across international borders, cycling or hiking are less common, but far more adventurous, options.
This article outlines the main transportation options available to travellers.
See also: Famous Trains
Road trips can be a great way to see a country or region. Remember that almost every country has different local laws on driving a car or bringing your car into a different country. A Carnet de Passage may be required if you want to drive your own vehicle to other countries. Many countries will let you drive a car with a foreign licence for 30 days but not more. Remember to check all local laws before driving a car in a foreign country. The best countries for great road trips are the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Namibia and most of Europe. Also, check the Famous Journeys and Famous Roads articles for more ideas about road trips in these countries.
Hitchhiking is a great way to get from point A to D, and sometimes it forces to visit B and C too. It has its dangers, which depend on geography, nationality and gender, but in general it is a recommendable transport option.
Cycling can be a great way to see more from a country than the big cities and the countryside flying by from the window of a bus, train or car. On your bike you are far more likely to interact with locals, spot the small things along the road and have the leisure to really enjoy some great scenery. Instead of hopping from one destination to the next, trying to cover a lot of distance in a short time and ignoring what is in between the road becomes the destination that you travel to. (It is thus no surprise that some dream cycling destinations for hardcore cyclists are trails like the Karakorum Highway, the full length of the Danube or the Panamericana.)
Aside from the necessary high-quality gear that is needed before the first trip (most essentially bike and panniers) cycling is generally a cheap and very environment friendly way to travel. When doing door to door cycling costs of transport are almost non-existent and when taking camping gear all you need is a patch of land to pitch your tent. It is much easier to transport heavy camping gear on the rack of a bicycle than in a rucksack on your back.
Cycle-touring is thus very popular in more developed countries that have good infrastructure catering to cyclists and are otherwise expensive to travel in. This is especially true for Western Europe. Of course there are also many cyclists heading for South East Asia or South America. On most airlines it is no problem to take your bicycle with you as extra luggage, just check for their fees for it before you book your ticket. It can make sense to buy a ticket that is more expensive if the airline allows you to take your bicycle with you for free or only a small fee. In many countries it is also possible to transport a bicycle in trains and buses.
On a bicycle a very fit cyclist can average more than 150 kilometres per day. People who are completely new to cycle-touring can plan on averaging around 30 to 60 kilometres per day depending on their personal fitness. Cycle-touring can be as strenous and as laid back as you want it to be, it is usually up to you to decide how many kilometres you cover each day.
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