Travel Style Pros and Cons: Private vs. Public Transport
A couple of years ago, I booked a trip to Ireland for a lovely couple. They were so excited to visit the Emerald Isle and spent weeks researching restaurants, castles, pub crawls, and ghost tours in the lead-up to their trip.
But they failed to consider one major thing - how to get around once they were actually IN Ireland! In the city, it’s easy enough - most people simply walk or grab a taxi if necessary. But they wanted to travel beyond the city into the countryside, which is an entirely different ballgame!
Had they told me their plans to venture outside of Dublin, I would have arranged a rental car, private driver, or train tickets, but they were feeling adventurous and made this decision after arriving in the country. In the end, everything turned out okay, but failure to plan for this can cause a lot of unnecessary stress on your vacation of a lifetime.
A key aspect of travel planning is considering how you will get from Point A to Point B, even after you’ve reached your destination. It seems like common sense, but I’ve found that travelers often get so wrapped up in the excitement of planning sightseeing and other activities that they forget to plan for daily travel!
While there are several options to choose from, in this article, we’ll look at the pros and cons of public transport vs. private transport.
Public Transportation: Not the Same in Every Destination!
Public modes of transportation are generally abundant in many destinations. They are also paid for by the taxes of the residents. But is it really the best option for you? Is it preferable to private transportation?
Undoubtedly, the use of public transportation is a cheaper way to get around rather than having to pay for a rental car or driver. You also won’t have to worry about the price of gas, parking, or tolls. Your only concern is paying the fare and getting to your destination. This approach can keep things cheap and simple.
From an eco-conscious perspective, the use of public transport creates fewer greenhouse gas emissions than private cars, reducing your carbon footprint while traveling.
But there are some limitations. Public transportation is not wide-ranging in many destinations, and may only travel to some of the most popular tourist spots. If you’re interested in traveling beyond the main highlights of your destination, public transportation may not be able to meet your needs.
For example, Seoul has one of the best public transport systems in the world. The subway is incredibly affordable, high-tech, and spotless. Getting around the city on public transport is a breeze. Their handy subway app even lets you enter your departure station and destination and the app will plot your route for you point-by-point!
But some of the most amazing temples and historical sites of Seoul are on the outskirts of the city where the subway doesn’t quite reach - so you’d need to consider another option besides public transport to get there.
Another downside is that public modes of transportation can be time-sensitive. In some destinations, it’s extremely difficult to get a taxi late at night, something travelers should consider when spending time in a new destination.
A final consideration is the fact that public transportation, while cheap and easy to use, can experience breakdowns, delays, or even the rare accident. If you find yourself stuck in one of these situations on public transport, you may just have to ride it out until the situation is resolved.
Private Transportation: Comfortable and Direct, But More Expensive
If you have a legal driver’s license, you can probably operate a private vehicle to get around in your travel destination, although laws vary by country, so make sure to verify with your travel advisor!
But is opting for private travel a better option than public transport?
Unlike public modes of transportation, having your own private vehicle or using a rental car means you can go anywhere at any time. Freedom!
But a major factor to consider is the cost of opting for a private vehicle on your trip. If you’re driving your own car, you’re putting mileage on it. If you’re driving a rental car, you’re paying the rental fee, taxes, gas, parking fees, and any other surcharges tacked on by the rental companies.
You also have to consider navigating around your destination. If you’re new to the city, you’re likely to get lost at least once or twice, which increases stress and wastes time on your trip.
To offset this, you might decide to hire a driver, but keep in mind that you’ll be paying a hefty fee for his or her services. Oftentimes this fee can be worth it, however, especially if you’re traveling in a non-English speaking country. Drivers often double as tour guides, and their in-depth knowledge of a particular area can be priceless.
Choice of Transportation During Vacation
The choice of using private or public transportation during vacation depends on a number of factors. You have to consider your budget for transportation and the number of people you're traveling with. You also have to factor in the number of places you will be visiting during your stay.
Another major factor includes the cost of your choice of either public or private. If you decide on a private mode of transportation, then you have to consider the price of gas, maintenance costs and insurance. Are you buying a new car or renting a car solely for this purpose? Or are you using your old vehicle? If it's the latter, then you'll probably have to budget for repairs and other additional costs.
If you choose a public mode of transportation, then you'll have to consider the cost of tickets, the number of places you’re visiting, and how long it will take to travel from place to place.
Note that even for public transportation, the prices may vary depending on the class of service you opted for. If you are traveling first class on a train where you get a convenient space to carry all your work belongings, food items, personal belongings, shopping, pets, etc., you will definitely pay more than those traveling in economy class.
The cost of traveling by public transport totally depends on how much you travel or the distance traveled similar to a private car. It also depends on the number of trips you make, and how far the places you go are from one another.
It takes about 3 times longer to reach a destination by bus vs. by car. Keep this in mind when planning for travel in your destination. Sometimes it can be worth it to hire a rental car just to save time, especially if your trip is already short to begin with.
Private vs. public transport each have their pros and cons, as we’ve seen. Depending on your unique travel style, time constraints, budget, and personality, either travel style could work for you.
Public transport can be a stress-free experience if you’re easygoing and never in a hurry. But if you’re the type who likes to keep a tight schedule, it might not be the best choice for you.
Likewise, private transport could be ideal for you if you prefer to be in total control of your travel plans. Just keep in mind that traveling by private car will add up faster than relying on public transport.
If you’re not sure of the best choice for you, talk with your travel advisor. She’s always happy to guide you in the right direction when it comes to designing a fantastic travel experience!
ENJOY THE BEST FOOD IN YOUR TRAVEL DESTINATION
One of the things to get excited about while you travel is food. Every location is unique for their food and how they cook it. There’s always a story to tell from different foods you try. That’s why traveling is essential. You get to try out new things. Download my FREE eBook HERE to see the ten ways you can turn your Vacation into a Culinary Adventure.