Vacations can be about a lot of things. They can be about relaxation or adventure, strengthening bonds with others or practicing self-care. And while for many the destination is the goal, for others the journey itself is just as important. A big part of that journey is the mode of transportation, and the different feelings those modes can evoke. As you are planning your next getaway or adventure, consider these six different modes of transportation and the benefits they offer.
Road trips are one of the most quintessentially American journeys, whether it’s in a sedan or an RV. Watching trees, lakes, and mountains pass by in the windows, stopping for gas, snacks, and strange road-side attractions are all ways of getting to know this country on a deeper level. Not to mention the camaraderie that is built by spending days talking, reading, and napping with any fellow travelers in the car. Not everyone appreciates the extra time driving can involve, and cars can get cramped. Try to get something roomy and bring plenty of entertainment options.
Many Americans have never taken the train for travel. Trains offer some of the same benefits of an automobile, with the added romance of a dining car—not to mention free Wi-Fi. Picking up a railroad map and sketching out a route that takes you through all the best views to select dream destinations is half the fun of the journey.
The other half is being able to lay down in a sleeper car bunk while being rocked to sleep, and waking up in an entirely new location with fresh coffee just a short walk away. If you are up for a longer journey that lets you take in the sites around you and doesn’t require you to drive, try taking the train.
Whether steam boats, sail boats, or enormous cruise liners, the lure of the ocean has drawn in humans for thousands of years. Many of our ancestors came to this country via a boat, irrevocably changing the course of their lives and that of their descendants. Of course, most sea journeys today are not quite as final, but stepping on a boat about to set sail can still can get hearts pumping and imaginations flying.
There are hundreds of destinations you can reach by boat in various climates. Whether you are taking your own boat or boarding a luxurious cruise liner, be sure to experience as many as possible.
For years, flying was considered an elegant and upscale way to travel. It can be easy to forget that in today’s high security world, but there is still a magic in flying that no other mode of transportation holds. It takes us into the sky, above the clouds, and draws a firm line between home and destination.
Unlike all the other ways to travel, any landmarks are so far below that they are indistinguishable. But somehow, magically, a journey that took weeks or even months just a hundred years ago can now be completed in hours, in a way our ancestors would certainly have thought was impossible.
This is by far the quickest way to travel, so if you are in a hurry, you will want to fly. However, that doesn’t mean you have to be in a hurry to fly. If you’ve got layovers that are long enough, take some time to explore the cities and towns you’re passing through, too.
Whether walking the Camino in Spain, the Great Ocean Road in Australia, or the Appalachian Trail in the United States, people can discover both new places and new inner strength journeying on their own two feet. There is an ancient tradition of getting away from the hustle and bustle of modern day living by undertaking a pilgrimage, and it’s as valid today as it was in the middle ages.
This method is best for those who are comfortable in the outdoors, especially for extended journeys that require camping. However, there’s no reason that non-outdoorsman can’t appreciate the beauty and power of hiking to your destination.
Less meditative than a walking tour, a biking tour is still a way to connect with your body while exploring your surroundings. Details of the landscape stand out more than when whizzing by in an automated vehicle, and bikers can take breaks to smell the flowers or pick some roadside berries. Groups can easily travel together, sleeping each night in a new town and trying new restaurants along the way.
Traveling is always rewarding, but there’s no reason to focus just on your destination. Take your time with the journey, enjoying the new sites around you, exploring the new towns you pass through, and engaging with the new people you meet. Then record your experiences to share with your friends and family back home.
Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. She recommends picking up a railroad map and charting out a train trip to reach your destinations.