When you’re travelling independently, you’re faced with various options to get around. You can fly, take the bus or go on an organised tour. Using public transport in a foreign country can be problematic and daunting but for us, there’s no better way to see the country you’re in and here’s why;
1. You will meet people
It’s amazing how far a smile will go when there’s a language barrier. We have met some wonderful people on trains and buses in far flung places. Whether you’re squeezed in between livestock and somebody’s grandmother or hurtling down a river at breakneck speed there’s always somebody to make friends with. It’s empowering and humbling at the same time to use the same transport as the locals.
2. It’s Cheap
In the UK you could be forgiven for thinking that public transport (especially trains) is actually an expensive deal but in many countries buses and trains are still the only option for the majority of the population and it’s certainly the most economical way to get around. Even in places where foreigners pay more, you’re still going to get a good deal. PLUS if you get an overnight train or sleeper bus, you save on a night’s accommodation!!
3. Once you’re on the bus, you’re on
Once you’ve bought your ticket, you can be almost certain the driver knows where he’s going and you won’t have to direct him. Taxis often get lost. Just don’t spend too long at the rest stop and let them leave without you!
4. You will see parts of the country other people don’t
Travelling with regular people on public transport means you’re likely to stop in less glamorous but more down to earth places for lunch, breakfast or dinner. Or just to have a wee. Stepping off a bus into the middle of the jungle in the middle of the night to relieve yourself with everyone else is quite an experience.
5. Thinking time
There’s something very relaxing about staring out of your window as the countryside streams by or standing by the open door of a train moving through lush greenery. Read a book or just stick on some music and unwind. Even if he old chap next to you has fallen asleep on your shoulder.