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Transport Options & Safety

Your choice of transportation options generally fall into two categories; 'before you go' and 'in-country'.

 

Before You Go

Transportation is an area of travel planning where you have substantial choices. Do you book all your flights in the UK or are some internal flights cheaper to book once you get there? Should you get simple return flights or a round-the-world ticket? How flexible are tickets? How can you make up for the carbon emissions of your travel plans? Do you have to fly; can you drive, take a train or even go by sea?

The good thing is that generally speaking you transportation options departing from the UK are safe. The strict safety requirements companies have to satisfy to be able to operate ensures your research tends to only needs to surround cost, convenience, flexibility and personal preference.  

Once you leave the UK (especially to the developing world) regulations and safety standards can’t always be relied on.

 

In-country

Your options in-country will depend largely on the country you visit, some forms of transport are exceptionally cheap, others so convenient it can actually take away from your travel ‘experience’; some add to your personal safety while others are distinctly unsafe.

In 2006; Indonesia reported a serious aircraft related incident every 10 days, it had 8 maritime disasters every month (some resulting in hundreds of deaths) and 2 train crashes or derailments every month.

Does this mean that Indonesia is out of bounds to the independent traveller?

Not at all; Indonesia is a fascinating country and well worth visiting, you just need to plan your trip effectively, employ a great deal of common sense and have some knowledge of how to identify and reduce the risks to an ‘acceptable’ level.

 

Road Safety

Above all other headline grabbing incidents of plane crashes, ferries sinking, train accidents; by far and away the mo dangerous place for travellers to be, is on the road. This is not just the most dangerous form of transport it is the greatest danger to independent travellers generally.

Road traffic accidents account for more death and injury overseas than any other single danger. This is both people in vehicles, on vehicles and out of vehicles; in India alone over 250 people die every day on the roads.

The main reasons for the high rate of fatalities around the world can be put down to common causes:

  • Speed
  • Alcohol & drugs
  • Poorly maintained vehicles & roads
  • Obstruction on the road
  • Lack of safety equipment
  • Tired drivers
  • Overcrowding
  • Inexperienced / untrained drivers
  • Lack of adherence to road laws
  • Criminality

You do have an influence over your own safety, but it is up to you to be confident and insist that you are listened to. The easy option is to to sit back, say nothing and ‘pray’; it is not a safe option.

 

Our Independent Travel Safety & Cultural Awareness Workshop examines the different ways you can reduce the risk from transport related incidents, but we also look at the options available to you; now more than ever, there are many transport options to choose from and effective ways of reducing your costs without having travel via Timbuktu (now on the FCO no-travel list anyway…).

Transport options in-country include: Aeroplane (of all shapes and sizes and maintained to different standards), Train, Car, Camper Van, Taxi, Minibus, Private Bus, Public Bus, Rickshaws, Tuk Tuk, Bicycle, Boats / Ships (again of many shapes, sizes and standards), Canoe (motorised and manual), Horseback, Camel, Dog Sled, Elephant, Motorbike, Walking and even Military Helicopter…

Gaining a basic understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of each of your main options, as well as the costs, will help you make informed decisions on arrival. This advantage could prove to be the difference between adventure and disaster.

We may never (despite our best efforts) be able to persuade everyone that hiring a ‘motorbike’ in Thailand is not a great idea unless you have appropriate safety equipment, a licence, insurance and the experience to drive on the dangerous roads; otherwise it may invalidate your insurance.

However even if we just persuade you that wearing a crash helmet is a sensible idea, not a 'fashion faux-pas' and that there are in-expensive alternatives to driving after drinking alcohol, we will have reduced the risks you face; at least a little.

Travelling in-country can be one of the great pleasures of independent travel, it is a way to enjoy vast countries, to see ever changing environments, to meet and interact with local people and to visit new and exciting locations. A few precautions will mean that this can be achieved without the stress of uncertainly and having reduced the ‘risks involved’.