Which is our favorite way to travel? One of the questions we are often asked after 3 years of travels around the world.
There are so many different options to move around the world and explore!
However, for our full-time traveling family, it isn’t as much about preferring one means of transportation to another but rather deciding which works best depending on the place we are visiting. We have had the opportunity to try almost everything. Let me explain what we like and what not about each one.
Our travels started by moving around the world mainly on airplanes. We have been on over 50 planes in the past 3 years. We have traveled as long as 25 hours and as short as 30 minutes. Our full-time traveling family went on ones where we could barely fit as well as on giant ones with 2 floors! We have tried over 15 different airlines. Some we loved and some we dislike and are now officially on our “naughty list”. It has been a true adventure every single time!
What do we love about traveling by plane? First of all the fact that you can reach the other part of the world quickly. Instead, our kids will tell you that they truly enjoy catching up on all the movies they have missed. We also love our whole ritual on our travel days. We work very well together throughout the whole check-in and security process.
What we do not love about traveling by plane? We are not crazy about the food. However, most companies now offer more meal options. For example, vegetarian, child, diabetic, Muslim, and so on. This makes it a bit more pleasant.
However, keep in mind this was all before Covid started. Now it is a whole new way of traveling! Unfortunately, a lot more has changed, which explains what we dislike about traveling by plane NOW. We are respectful of the new rules and follow them of course. However, we do not enjoy wearing a mask for hours on a flight. This is the reason why in the last year we have done only the necessary flights! It used to be a fun day for our kids to go to the airport. Unfortunately now we dread it a bit. You have to be careful to social distance, keep your mask on, and don’t touch too much! Too many new rules to follow!
Will things go back to the way they used to be? I truly hope so! Anyway for the time being we have limited our flights to avoid having to deal with all the hassle. This gives us a chance to explore different options and at the same time slow down!
Check out how we plan our flights here.
We have not used trains for long trips. Mainly just short rides in Italy and Australia. It can be cheaper than a flight and also quicker since you don’t have to worry about arriving hours and hours earlier. We had planned on moving around Japan mainly by train. Unfortunately due to Covid, our trip there was canceled for the time being. So for now we can’t share much about that experience yet!
However, if you are traveling around Europe for example, this can be a great option. There are great deals if you buy an interrail or euro rail pass. Interrail Pass is a rail pass available to European residents. Residents of countries outside Europe may purchase the Eurail Pass instead. Types of Interrail Pass include the Interrail Global Pass, the Interrail One Country Pass, and the Interrail Premium Pass. The pass allows unlimited rail travel in (and between) all 33 participating countries for a certain period of time. High-speed trains and night trains often require a paid seat reservation. As you can see the train is a great way of moving around Europe especially when you have a set time to do so. We had an alternative plan to explore Europe so we didn’t go with this option but it is out there for anyone interested!
Trains are in most countries! We were also booked on one from Mumbai to Goa a few years ago. We ended up having to cancel it because the dates were not working for us. In this case, it would have been a 10-hour trip!
What do we love about traveling by train? You get to enjoy the scenery around you as you travel. It can give you a chance to meet and chat with people. If you are tired of sitting you can walk up and down the train. There is much more space compared to a plane! This is especially great when traveling with kids.
What we do not love about traveling by train? Honestly, we don’t have that much travel experience as a family to find things we dislike. I might have to come back to this later on in our travels!
We know a lot about his form of transportation!
Once Covid came into our lives, we decided it was time to evolve our travel lifestyle. So we bought a campervan!
However, during our travels, we have used camper vans for exploring Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand too. So we are not new to the mean of transportation.
What do we love about traveling by campervan? We love the independence it gives us. Our car and our house are always with us! It has happened more than once that we had to stop on the side of the road for the night because we were tired of driving or did not want to pay for a night at a campsite. We love waking up in different places, especially when we arrive late at night, and are pleasantly surprised the next morning with the surroundings! Plus if we don’t like a place we can easily leave, if we love it we can stay longer!
This type of lifestyle also gives us a chance to be more immersed in nature. We tend to stay outside a lot more. Incredibly we also love being cozily together inside when it is dark and gets cold! So we don’t mind sharing such a small space for the 5 of us!
What we do not love about traveling by campervan? Parking can be a real struggle, especially when stopping in a big city. Usually, we have to park it way out of the center! That is when our bikes come in very handy! The fact that different countries have different rules drives us a bit crazy. We need to be careful and figure them out before we get in trouble!
We have had plenty of experience with boats! Our full-time traveling family has had a chance to try many different types of boats in the past years!
From the short trips from one island to another in Bali and Thailand. To bigger ferry boats in Croatia and the Philippines. We also went on tour boats in Australia, Bali, the Philippines, Thailand, and Nepal, mainly to snorkel, swim with whale sharks and see gharial crocodiles.
We had a chance to live and be our own captains on a boat while navigating down the Canal du Midi in France for a week.
We enjoyed the beauty of navigating using only the sails and the wind in Italy and Croatia.
Last but not least, we experienced a week in the Caribbean on a cruise ship! We have tried different sizes and types. At this point, we have a very clear idea of how we feel about spending time on boats!
What do we love about traveling by boat? We love being in the water. It is especially cool when from the deck you can see dolphins or whales swimming around you! Or when you can simply jump in and explore the underwater world. It is also pretty amazing when you are on a sailboat and can open the sails and navigate only by using the wind!
What we do not love about traveling by boat? We don’t like being stuck in a limited amount of space for too long. Beautiful calm and sunny days are amazing on a boat but the wavy, stormy days can be a real nightmare! On a boat ride from Bali to the Gilli Islands the sea was pretty wild and we all have memories to this day of how awful it felt! This doesn’t stop us from jumping on boats whenever the occasion comes up, but we probably won’t be a full-time boat traveling family any time soon!
Road trips! We have done so many of those!
In most of the countries we visited, with just a few exceptions, we rented a car for at least a part of the trip. Being a family of 5, most of the time makes it cheaper and easier to pack us up in one car rather than try to catch a bus, train, or plane! Of course, we mainly rent them when we are moving around not when we are visiting a big city. That is the one time when we do not want to have a car!
What do we love about traveling by car? The freedom! We can decide when to leave and how far to drive. We are on our own and our kids can be as loud as they want. They are not disturbing anyone! When traveling with kids this is the biggest relief!
I love how well my husband has been able to pack up our stuff in the most impossible cars! In most countries, we visited we did at least a part of a road trip and that is the most memorable moment of the trip! In Morocco, I remember stopping on the side of the road to the fruit vendors to buy huge bags full of fruit! Healthiest and freshest meal for our road trip!
What we do not love about traveling by car? Distances can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming! On our last trip back to the US we decided to fly into Chicago and then drive to Arizona (over 1700 miles). The first days were fun, but then the road started feeling boring and just too long. That is when your kids start saying the magic words….”are we there yet?”. At that point, all you want to do is stop at the first airport and catch the first flight out!
Check out how we book our cars here.
Buses are another great way of moving around countries, and cities or simply taking you from point A to point B if you don’t want to drive or fly. We are 5 so it isn’t our go-to main means of transportation! We do take tour buses around cities though, the famous hop-on/hop-off tours are our go-to way of exploring cities such as Dubai, Cape Town, and so on. Where there is much to see but it is too distant to just walk around. In the long run, you are saving more money and time! Plus they offer great deals most of the time, especially on more days packages. We bought a 7-day ticket in Dubai and used the bus simply to get us from one area to another very distant area in our last days there.
What do we love about traveling by bus? We enjoy taking tours on buses that give you the option to hop on and off, especially in very big cities. This way if they are very spread out it makes it a better deal to see as much as we can in a limited amount of time, especially fit places that are very distant from each other. It is also nice for once to just sit back and enjoy the ride, at least till your kids don’t start getting bored…
What we do not love about traveling by bus? For our kids, it is not as fun as going on a plane. We know that after a few hours they would get restless and want to move. So we try to avoid this situation by avoiding traveling by bus as much as possible. Except of course when touring a city.
Alternative forms of transportation…
There are also other forms of transportation when you are exploring a new country. Sometimes you can’t simply rent a car, take a train or a bus but you have to find different options. Here are a few of the ones we used!
Depending on which country you are visiting the options may be different. Clearly, the costs are very different. Taxis are way more expensive but you will find them everywhere. When Uber or Grab (mainly in Asia) are available we try to use them instead. For a family of 5, they are way cheaper and everything is done through the app so I know exactly what it will cost once I get a ride. A taxi’s final bill can be a very unpleasant surprise! Especially when we fly into a new country unless we are renting a car, we have to rely on this form of transportation in order to get us to the hotel or Airbnb.
You can find them in many countries in Asia. We used them mainly in Thailand and India. They can be very small but you would be amazed by how many people they are able to squeeze in! We managed to tour some cities by simply riding on a tuk-tuk! They are a fun experience, but when in a city like Bangkok you will for sure breathe all the smog!
We love bike riding! We have rented bikes in Australia, South Africa, and Thailand in recent years. However, now that we have our “house on wheels” we each have our own bike! We have already explored many towns and lakes by simply biking around. A great way to get around altogether and also much easier than trying to park our camper van!
Hot air balloon
This might not exactly be the most convenient and cheap way to get around. But we do recommend it as once in a lifetime experience! We recently flew from the center of Firenze, Italy to the outskirts where our camper van was parked. It was an amazing adventure for the whole family!
You might want to check out the video here to see Firenze from a different point of view!
Family size motorbikes
In Thailand and the Philippines, we were able to rent this type of motorbike! We all squeezed in together and explored the little islands we were on. It is so much fun!
However, there is a downfall. When you have to go uphill, you have to get off and walk! Especially since we are 5 and not very light! But I wouldn’t change those moments for anything in the world! Plus it is great workout!
You might want to check out the video here of this crazy experience!
Camels have been used for centuries in order to transport people. We had a chance to go all together on them both in Egypt, Australia, and India. The weirdest feeling is when they get down so you can get off. They have to move forward as they bend their knees. The whole time it feels like you are going to fall off, but you actually don’t!
We went horseback riding in Mexico, and Thailand. However, our experience in Bhutan was the most unique. We actually traveled from one place to the other. We each had our own horse. Luca was barely 4 but he was fearless! Actually, all 3 of our kids were fearless and our horses were just perfect!
You might want to check out the video here of this amazing adventure!
As you can see there are many ways to get around. All I wanted to do was show you that you can experiment and find what works best for your family. Sometimes it is also important to simply think outside the box and be flexible to what the country you are in has to offer.
As I look back at everything we experienced I feel extremely blessed for each and every one of these forms of transportation. They are now part of our baggage experience as well as creating some incredible lifetime memories. Don’t be afraid just take a deep breath, look ahead and take the leap. Remember, it will be amazing especially if you do it together!
If you have more questions about our travels, you might want to check this post too Are we still traveling full-time around the world?