Oftentimes, the destination dictates the transportation mode. For instance, if you are traveling abroad, you will have to choose mainly between plane and boat. If you want to explore Peru, you would probably rule out those two options and opt instead for car or bus.
But there are times when you have the choice of transportation and picking out the right one ends up being more difficult than it should be. Most solo travelers base their transportation decisions on how much hassle, time and money they save. Things only get more complicated when traveling in groups.
To help you choose the best transportation mode for your next group travel, here are the pros and cons of traveling by car vs train.
Travel by Car
Cost: With a gas-efficient vehicle, a car is a cheaper way to travel than a train. Road trips within less than 6 hours are usually less expensive by car, especially when you consider the drop of gas price and all carpoolers agree to split the cost.
Space: When you take your car on a trip, you have much available space to fill with friends and goods. Yes, space is still limited but not as much as on a plane or train.
Family-friendly: You do not have to worry about your kids or pets bothering other passengers. And it is easier to travel together without worrying about the group being split.
Flexibility: When traveling by car, you can change your plans as you go. For example, parents traveling with kids rather take the road at night when the little ones are at sleep. Road trippers have the luxury of pulling over at any point on their journey to enjoy sceneries and go on side adventures.
Time: Often, traveling by car takes longer than by train, even when you factor in security check, etc.. Congestion, traffic jams, and lack of parking space will only remind you of how annoying cars can be.
Environmental impact: Road tripping in a car packed with friends and family has the same benefits as carpooling but it is still less environment-friendly than taking a bus or a train that follows the same route.
Driver needed: Well, someone has to operate the vehicle. Unless you pay a driver, one of you will have to fill that role. Driving long hours can be tiresome which will reflect on your mood and how much you enjoy the trip. It also means that before going out, the group has to designate a driver who won’t be able to party as much as the others.
Travel by Train
Time Efficiency: Train travel is fast and direct between major cities. It only gets better in countries with high-speed trains… that’s almost all over Europe.
Productivity: While traveling by train, you can easily read, sleep, or chill with your travel mates. Everyone can truly relax without worrying about crashing or violating any local laws.
Cost-Effectivity: When traveling within the same area like the US or Europe, you and your friends could get rail passes which can be very cost-effective. You can use more of your travel time and money seeing and experiencing new things.
Meeting new people: You and your group have more chance of meeting new people when traveling by train. There will be locals and other travelers sharing the ride with you. Make friends.
Expense: Without a pass, train tickets can be costly, regardless of the distance. Imagine if you have multiple cities to visit and every single member of your group has to pay the fare every single time, the total cost can add up pretty fast.
Schedules: Trains run on a schedule, and you, your group or your family have to adapt and adjust your itinerary. Sometimes, you even have to cope with delays and cancellations.
Not practical for exploring large or remote areas: When exploring a large or remote area, traveling by train is not the most efficient mode of transportation there is. You will still have to take a bus or a taxi from the train station to your final destinations.
Passengers: You do not really know who you are traveling with (except for the members in your group). Among all the interesting passengers on a train (or any other public transportation) you will also find petty criminals, etc.
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