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10. SIT Transportation: (full)

Transportation pervades all travel including SIT (solo, independent travel) from the minute you leave home until you return weeks or months later. The kinds of transportation vary and the vehicles used will vary even more.

Some  travelers simply want to ‘get away” --escape societal control; ‘figuring it out after arrival.’ They happily trust serendipity & luck to book a train or bus only when ready to move on.      Bon voyage!!!

A. My purpose is explain what SIT's (solo travel) transportation info I research and how I use it in my itinerary so my SIT visits are fluid and time efficient. 

Traveling in large cities is relatively easily; grab an Uber or if adventurous, take a bus, trains or a tuk tuk (Asia.), but to do so, you need to know how & where you're going.

Once you have your transportation info, it needs to be in your Personal Itinerary for quick, easy access.  Remember, SIT traveler’s research is same research tour companies must do except:

    1) companies must limit # of sites to contain costs, BUT they will re-use their research multiple times, 

    2) you probably do even more research because you want to discover all sites & activities and then discard the uninteresting.

Travel companies do their research well in advance as should you because both of you rely on it.

Fortunately, (, bus & train companies provide easy access to their multiple transportation options, and lots of related detail information, including booking. You just have to do the work. [pplk: Resources: rome2rio]  

Seems foolish to waste time researching en route to & in each city, when all can be done at home before you depart. This convenience was never possible 30 years ago.

Please jump to this link for a very detailed discussion of the kinds of travel of transportation and vehicles. [pplk: Safety: Airport to Town]

B. My transportation research PROCESS:    
      1. Define “Travel From” point: 1) the city you are leaving for another city, or 2) your lodging or a site you are leaving en route to next site, etc.

     2. Define “Travel to’ point: ...  another city, or site, specific intersection, or any other description that the online resources can identify.

    3. Plug your ‘from’ & ‘to’ points into your online resource,, and ... voila, multiple transportation, vehicle options, or a mix of, & all kinds of scheduling information and including booking options.

    4. choose what you like, & book, if you wish

Believe it or not,  that is it.     25 years ago I would spend hours with the travel agent who would search information and then feed it to me in their curated form. I had little input.

C. Your Itinerary’s Transportation Section: 
In my itinerary’s outline structure under main TRANS headingI have a synopsis of my 3 key chunks of important transportation info.   

  Please see [pplk” Itineary] for detailed explanation of abbreviations. 

   1. International Flight Arrival : [pplk; Safe:Airport].        

        a. Flight info for all in-coming flights from home USA airport to host country’s airport.       

          b. Flight-related details: 
             1) Arrival & departure dates & times are important when crossing many time zones. Can be very confusing when you're tired and navigating new airport terminals.

             2) ‘Duration’’ layover time may allow lunch without missing next flight

             3) Seat info: to double check correct seat when checking in & boarding. Although, seat assignments have become more confused & rapacious in last decade. 

             4) ‘Ter:’ :    Terminal Info useful for arrival orientation

   NOTE: All info & abbreviations in my illustrations below are described or will be obvious when you visit my itinerary post at . … [pplk” Itineary] 

        c. Relevant ‘arrival’ info:
In addition, I may add: 1) airport-specific entry procedures, 2) terminal navigation directions, 3) shuttle bus or light train info,4) useful multi-day passes & 5) currency exchange kiosk.

    2. Airport to MY city hostel transportation [pplk; Safe:Airport]
Airport > City options often depend on city size: Airport light rail, Airport Shuttle, Uber, tuk tuk, (limo 😃). 

I make different choices based on my time of arrival, speed, price, or safety.
        a. I will pre-book or arrange ONLY if some compelling reason. 

            Anecdote: Quito’s early morning arrival:  With a 12:09 AM early morning arrival AND my hostel high in the hills, …. safety & convenience demanded taxi. Fortunately, Hostel Revolution owner, Sandra, facilitated my easy arrival with her driver & a dorm bed waiting.

        b. If my arrival is 2-3 hours before hostel opens, I may take the slowest most scenic transportation. OTOH, if the mix of transportation modes is too complex, I may use Uber to simplify.

    3. Local city Transportation:    [pplk; Safe:City/Country]
Local city transport options often depend on city size, but may include walking, light rail, bus, Uber, tuk tuks & motorcycle taxis.                                                  

While local city transport modes are developed for the populace, they can be inexpensive, flexible, culturally immersive & fun for SIT travelers.

I make different choices based on speed, price, site location & fun —tuk-tuks are always fun. When you develop your daily walking tour/walkabout, you can tailor it for speed, and efficiency with local transport.


TIP: I often take city transport to my day’s site farthest away from my hostel on my day’s walkabout & spend day working my way back to each site back to my hostel. Very time efficient; see/do more.
      1) If several of my day’s sites are on same light rail or bus line, I just hop on & off between them.
      2) If a side trip is too far to walk off my main walking route, I’ll grab a tuk-tuk or Uber over & back.
      3) If I want to move quickly from hostel to airport, train or bus depot.
      4) If I want a tuk tuk’s deep immersion thru the daily tempo of a city like Mandalay, Myanmar; its smells, sounds, visual chaos & the jostling street's surface.

    4. Long Distance TRANS-OUT & TRANS-IN for each new city: [pplk; Safe:City/Coun].  
Long-distance rail & bus, Uber (?), motorcycle, scooter or bike rentals. 

There are 2 sub-headings: (a) TRANS-IN & (b) TRANS-OUT, when traveling from 1 city to next city’s hostel. 

          a) TRAN-OUT of a city: 
Transportation out of 1 city may be direct to your next city’s hostel, a distant OVN village stay, or a site in between cities; maybe a mix of transport modes.

Your TRAN-OUT itinerary includes all transportation details for each transport mode from last city to new city.           

        b) TRANS-IN is, in fact, a duplicate of last city/site ete. (above)
Your TRAN-IN itinerary’s includes all transportation details for each transport mode from last city to new city.

My Hanoi, Vietnam Itinerary EXAMPLE           


              Anecdote: From Trapani, Sicily I was going to Agrigento, but stopping at Selinunte Archaeological Park’s Roman ruins en route requiring the following: —-
    1. Train from Trapani to Campobello de Mazera
    2. Walk from train station to cafe/bus stop & left my bag until my return)
    3. Bus to Selinute
    4. Local shuttle bus to Selinunte Archaeological Park
    5. Then, bus back to Selinute & 2nd bus back to Campobello de Mazera
    6. Finally, TRANs info ALSO included all transportation from Campobello de Mazera Agrigento.


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