HOW TO FIND TRANSPORTATION FOR YOUR NEXT VACAY
As I was napping one day, all of a sudden my brain started spitting out words for a new blog post. Funny how when I am trying to rest, all of a sudden my brain is like “NOPE 🙅 get to writing!” and I never actually went to sleep. Being that I have traveled to 13 countries by age 24 (woohoo!) I have taken nearly every transportation method abroad in a variety of cities and countries. In September 2021, I hired a private driver in Ecuador and El Salvador who really showed me that traveling with a private driver is top tier. Hence my inspiration to share this great information with y’all.
So here it is, a quick blog post on the pros and cons of each transportation method abroad and what may work best for you on your next vacation, with a slight incline towards heavily encouraging and enticing you to hire a private driver to make your life a x1000 easier. 😉
Top 5 Transportation Methods Abroad
1. RENT A CAR
Renting a car abroad has become easier as rental car companies have gone global and offer the same check in or booking structure as the United States. Similarly, you can rent cars directly out of the airport and be on your way to starting your trip. In addition, rental cars come in handy when public transportation or taxi’s are not as common in specific cities. If your itinerary requires traveling city to city which may be hours away from each other, then renting a car can save a lot of time and money as you can freely explore.
In January 2021 my friends and I rented a GMC SUV in Los Cabos, Mexico. That was my first time renting and driving a car in another country, and quite honestly it wouldn’t be my first choice as transportation abroad. The price we originally booked online nearly tripled in price upon arrival, so it’s important to double check any additional fees or charges and to second guess if a super cheap price is actually cheap. Overall, it was fairly easy to find parking and travel around the city from our resort. My mind was mainly racing because I couldn’t stop thinking of everything that could go WRONG and how I did not want to waste time handling any potential chaos that could ensue if it did. Who wants to deal with a small accident, dent, parking ticket, or police stop while abroad? NO ONE. But nonetheless, nothing happened and the traffic laws were very similar to the United States which made it easy to navigate. In other countries like Iceland, I’ve heard that renting a car is nearly a must since a lot of attractions are farther away from each other
2. Taxi / Uber
Taxi has been one of the main modes of transportation for years and Uber is readily available in 80 countries worldwide. Depending on your itinerary, a quick taxi or Uber can get you to where you need to go BUT can also add up fairly quickly, especially if you are traveling solo. In Latin America, Ubers and Taxi’s are literally as low as $2 one way (holla!) and won’t break the bank. Yet in Europe, Taxi’s can cost even more because they have better public subway or train systems to use instead. Uber’s now have enhanced safety features on their app and you can check the license plate and see driver history. Since they are readily available, cost efficient depending on the country, and easy to use this is also one of my top recommendations for most travel. Splitting an Uber between friends during a group cheap is even more budget friendly and all you have to do is hop in and go!
3. PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
Taking the subway system in London was probably one of my favorite experiences of getting around an international city. Once I mastered the train system it was so easy to get to all of the central attractions, restaurants, my hotel, and also see the city at the same time. The people were also friendly enough to explain how to get to certain places.Not to mention it was affordable to load the Oyster card, swipe, and go on your merry way. Although I struggled with figuring out how the train system worked in Japan, it was also super efficient and easy to use once I figured out how it worked. In Latino America, tuk tuks, buses, and shuttles are more common to use and usually easy to book. Public transportation is usually the cheapest option for your travel budget and one I recommend as well if you prefer to explore freely, don’t mind walking, and like to immerse with the locals. Once you muster up the courage to ask people where to go or how to use the transportation system you can master it in no time and live like a true local.
4. HIRE A PRIVATE DRIVER
Without further ado, my top and favorite choice for transportation abroad is hiring a private driver! I recently hired a private driver for my trips to Ecuador and El Salvador. I happened to find a trip advisor post talking positively about company owner Angel Rea in Quito, Ecuador and reached out to him via email (email@example.com) for prices. Then a couple of weeks later I traveled solo to El Salvador after my Guatemala trip, and booked a private driver for my trip (@danielsurfguia on IG) via a friend’s recommendation. Check Instagram, Get Your Guide, Viator, Facebook Travel Groups, or Trip Advisor for private drivers for your next vacation.
With a private driver you have the luxury of having a safe drive with a tour guide that knows how to maneuver their city and provides recommendations for places to visit or restaurants to indulge in. The guides know some of the best places to visit including those that are off the beaten path that you otherwise may miss if you use other transportation (because sometimes you can’t just know every amazing thing a country has to offer!). You can also store your valuables, and have a keen sense of safety when riding with a reputable driver that yearns to provide you the best service possible to enjoy your trip. The main downside to private transportation is the costs can be higher than public transportation or taxi’s. Yet, it depends entirely on what you plan to do on your trip. For Ecuador, we visited a new city each day and had little time to spare. Since the cities were hours away from Quito, a private driver was going to be able to drive us there safely while also saving time and energy.
5. Walk, hike, or climb (kidding…..or am I?)
When you can’t find a taxi or an uber and haven’t rented a car….sometimes you just have to hike up your pants and get to walking. But hey, that's why you hire a private driver to call at your disposal and come save the day!
The best mode of transportation can differ per country so choose a transportation method that aligns best with your budget and your itinerary.
What has been your favorite way to travel around a city or new country? Did I miss a favorite transportion method of yours? Comment below and let me know or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!