|by Jason Steele|
It is very easy for travelers to get trapped into the mindset of a a single mode of transit. Certainly, when traveling a great distance, air travel is probably your only option. Once you have scheduled your international flights, it may be easy to keep looking for additional flights to intermediate points along your itinerary. For example, I was helping some family plan a vacation around Greece and the Mediterranean. While they were able to find inexpensive flights to most of their destinations, they had not considered surface transportation. A little Googling turned up a fast ferry that was able to shuttle them between Greek islands faster and less expensively than the airlines.
The mindset does not only affect air travelers. A couple of years ago, I was in Chicago and was planning on visiting the airshow in Oshkosh Wisconsin. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a reasonably priced, one way car rental that would allow me to return the vehicle to Milwaukee. I knew that a cheap flight was not available or convenient. I even checked Amtrak and found it surprisingly expensive. Finally, I found a bus service that took me to downtown Milwaukee for almost nothing. There, I was able to rent a car that I could easily return to the airport. The trip went off without a hitch and was a triumph of multi-mode travel planning.
What About Flight Delays
It is sometimes easy and inexpensive to accept a change of plane, even if your destination is a short flight away. In college, I used to regularly fly from Philadelphia to Atlanta via Newark, as Continental was offering very low fares. Sure the flight between Philly and Newark was very short, but the trip worked. Today, such a trip would be ludicrous with all of the delays at those airports. Nevertheless, if you were to fly a similar itinerary today, it would make sense to know the train schedule as a backup in case the Philly-Newark segment was canceled. In many cases, it helps to have a good backup mode of transit. Now that we have the 3 hour rule, people aren’t being kept on planes all day when there is a delay. In my opinion, this is great news, even if my flight is eventually canceled. I appreciate the opportunity to de-plane, leave the airport and catch a bus, train, boat, or a horse and sleigh if necessary.
Efficient travel is quite an art form, and people who focus on a single mode of transportation are painting with whole world with the same brush. By keeping your options open, and all types of transport in mind, you will find that you can reach your destination in more ways than most people will ever realize.