If you have enough time on your hands, local means of transportation - no matter how annoying they might be - can turn out to be a shortcut to the greatest experiences of your trip. Here you can read about the pros and cons of different local means of transportation.
Busses are often the cheapest and easiest way of getting from one place to another, and are regarded as the backpacker's favorite means of transportation. It can, however, turn out to be quite an unpleasant experience to find yourself cramped into a seat designed for an Asian half as tall as you. If you're traveling in a developing country you also risk being confronted with unbelievably bad roads and a high frequency of sleep deprived bus drivers on speed.
In Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, United States, Mexico and Canada you can buy a special bus pass. With a bus pass you can travel all over the country and get off and on the bus pretty much as you like. Some of these busses are often downright party busses for backpackers and a fantastic way to socialize with other travelers and meet new friends.
Trains are often the most comfortable means of transportation
where you can stretch out your legs and enjoy the beautiful view
outside. On the other hand, trains are generally more expensive and
have fewer departures than busses. And don't expect high speed
trains in all places - some trains seem to drag along at turtle
speed as soon as they've left the European continent. This is,
however, an essential part of their peculiar charm.
Always remember to keep an eye on your belongings when you're using local means of transportation - and especially on trains. Many thefts take place on night trains while the owner is sleeping and the world has its back turned on events. Also be aware that you can seldom keep your backpack next to you when traveling on a bus. In most cases it goes in the trunk or up on the roof.
To rent or buy a car is the most expensive form of transportation. But this solution will offer you the most freedom and give you complete liberty to decide where you want to go. In countries such as the United States and Canada the vast landscapes are almost begging to be explored by car. In other large countries with low population density and long distances between cities, such as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, it's very popular to rent/buy a campervan or motorhome where you have transportation, accommodation and kitchen all in one.
It's often more affordable to buy a used car or campervan - instead of renting it - if you need a vehicle for more than 2 or 3 months. Backpackers often buy and sell cars from each other, particularly Down Under.
If you don't feel safe buying a vehicle, then KILROY can help you rent one. In the United States and Canada, for example, we offer the best deals on car rental for youth and students if you order in advance from home - that way you don't have to pay an extra fee for young drivers, and you get a free tank of gas with your rental.