What is the best way to get to know the city? If you’re traveling to New York, for example, do you want to walk around Midtown Manhattan? Or, do you prefer to take those famous yellow cabs and see the sights from inside the taxi? Have you been to Coron in Palawan, Philippines? It’s consistently voted as the most beautiful island in the world. Do you think a day or two is good enough for the best island in the world?
If you are going on a vacation, you better know how to get around the place. New York’s cabs are famous, but it’s the same thing you’ll find back home. When visiting Southeast Asian nations, you should try the Thai rickshaw or Samlo. It’s a bicycle with a trailer behind it. It usually sits two people or more depending on how strong the driver is.
Modes of Transportation
In the Philippines, there’s a jeepney, baby bus, and tricycle. You won’t see these anywhere else. Locals use these modes of transportation to get around. These are parts of their routine. But for tourists like you, a Samlo and jeepney are experiences you can never get anywhere else.
Can you imagine riding a cab when you’re in Bali, Indonesia? A lot of Balinese people go around riding their all-terrain vehicles because of the unpredictable terrain of the island. There are plenty of places to rent these vehicles, and you might just enjoy it so much you might choose to purchase your own ATV when you get back from vacation.
Even if you are not too keen to walk, at least do so an hour or two when you are traveling. There’s nothing like walking around town to get to know the place. Do you think you will ever get to know Tokyo the way locals do if you just sit in the cab and look out the windows? How will you ever have a feel of New Yorkers rushing about at 6 PM if you don’t walk to Times Square?
Of course, walking is a great way to squeeze in some exercise, too. Since you’re traveling, you might have a hard time squeezing in an hour in the gym. A walk to the park or a jog to the convenience store from your hotel is a great way to get to know the city and get some cardio workout going.
If you only have a short time traveling, then taxis will get you everywhere you need. But in places that have heavy road traffics such as Beijing, you may want to rethink this option. You might end up spending more time inside the cab than in the places you want to visit. This might work for smaller cities, but not for densely populated ones.
Motorcycles and scooters are the preferred mode of transportation in countries like Vietnam. If you can rent one, it might be better to go around town in this motorized bike rather than hailing a cab every time you need to go someplace else. However, make sure that you have the necessary license and permit to drive the motorcycles. Also, if the last time you’ve ridden one was a decade ago, rethink this option as there have been a lot of accidents involving motorcycles.
How about renting a car? That works better, right? Car rentals for tourists is a big business. It costs nothing but less than $50 to rent a car for a day. All you have to do is fill the tank and you can drive as far as you want—from Rome to the Amalfi Coast. At just short of four hours of driving, you can see much of Italy’s countryside by navigating it on your own.
Aside from walking, this might be the best way to go around the country you are visiting. It puts the power in your hands. If you want to walk, leave the car in a designated parking space in the hotel. If you want to take a car and go somewhere far, you can do it, too. You should think about including car rentals in your travel budget.
Traveling isn’t just about seeing the sights. It’s more about experiencing how these different cultures and traditions make up the world that you live in. It’s about knowing the place and taking a bit of it with you once you leave. You can only get that kind of experience if you spend time roaming around the city or town, whether by car or by walking.