The Scrubba Blog

How to Travel: Car vs. Campervan vs. Public Transport

by Sam Stephens |

 

Feel the wind in your hair

 

There’s never been a better time to hit the road – or more options for doing just that. 

So you’re all set to start booking your latest adventure when it suddenly hits you: you haven’t given even a cursory thought to transport. With all the chaotic excitement that goes into arranging trips to new and unique destinations, it’s easy to forget to organise the small administrative details amidst the infinitely more enticing anticipation for the journey itself. If you’ve ever found yourself in this position before, it’s likely you recall the irritated pacing and frustrated wringing of the hands as you force yourself to return to the drawing board in an attempt to decide whether your journey will be best complemented by the tried and tested rental car, the mini home of a campervan, or the bustle of public transport. To help make your decision easier, both now and in the future, the Scrubba wash bag team lent their travel experience to the problem.

 

Rental cars:

Driving a rental remains one of the most popular methods for commuting while travelling. Many hotels and airlines offer package deals on rental cars to help keep things affordable, and as care hire makes it easy to cover large distances in a short period of time, you can also save a lot of money by selecting a less central and therefore less expensive hotel. Finally, many rental companies also permit pickup and drop off at different destinations, ensuring smooth and easy transport from place to place. The other main benefits include:

  • Freedom of movement
  • Easy to pick up the car right from the airport terminal
  • Save money with less central accommodation
  • Cut costs on public transport
  • Visit remote places
  • Explore at your own pace
  • Blend in and make like a local
  • See a different side of your destination by exploring its road network

On the other hand, hiring a rental car can be expensive, particularly when you factor in parking fees, road tolls, petrol prices, and other potential administrative costs. Furthermore, although greener, fuel efficient cars typically abound at rental companies, the very environmentally-conscious may still prefer to walk or opt for public transport in order to reduce their carbon footprint by as much as possible.

Top tips:

Rental companies are abundant and are in fierce competition, so shop around for the right deal. Select a hotel that offers parking and do your research about pickup and drop off locations so that you make the necessary arrangements prior to your trip. If you lack experience driving in your chosen destination, be sure to briefly read up on road rules and common road signage to familiarise yourself with the road system, keeping you safer and enhancing your confidence throughout your travels.

 

Campervans:

Vanlife and culture is becoming its own booming industry and it seems almost impossible to go a day without reading about a new group of enthusiastic travellers challenging themselves to convert an old school bus or the like into a pumping hotel on wheels. Indeed, from small vans to huge buses, the idea of pulling up roots anchored to specific destinations and moving like a nomad seems to be capturing the imagination of ever increasing numbers of wanderers determined to turn their backs on the standard 9-5. This is hardly surprising when we consider the benefits:

  • Freedom of movement
  • Self sufficient
  • Save money on hotels and restaurants
  • Cut costs on public transport
  • Visit remote places
  • Explore at your own pace
  • See a different side of your destination by exploring its road network

As you can, there is substantial overlap of the benefits of rental cars and campervans, a trend that also applies to the drawbacks. Indeed, as with rental cars, parking fees, road tolls and petrol prices need to be considered when planning a holiday by campervan. Furthermore, due to the increased size of vans, it should be noted that parking and driving in certain areas may be slightly more problematic. Weekly van rental unsurprisingly exceeds the cost of cars, although it is possible to buy or convert an old van on the cheap, which will save a ton of money in the long-run, particularly if you’re an avid adventurer who plans on utilising your van for years to come. If buying, be sure to carefully consider your insurance options.

Top Tips:

Whether you’re renting or buying, search around for the best deal from a trusted source. Plan your camping venues ahead of time to save money and choose free camping spots where possible to further save those pennies. Familiarise yourself with the road network and ensure you’re comfortable controlling a larger vehicle than you may be accustomed to. To add a laundry to your home on wheels and keep the troupe smelling fresh and clean on all adventures, why not pick up the famous Scrubba wash bag?

 

Public Transport:

Not always fun, but a necessity of certain types of travel, public transport remains a staple for locals and travellers alike. From trains and trams to buses and taxis, getting from point A to B in this method might not be glamourous, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t accrue its own benefits: 

  • Cut costs on parking, petrol, road tolls
  • Make like a local
  • Explore new architecture
  • Travel greener and cleaner
  • Relax and take things slow
  • Explore healthier options by walking the city

Although public transport can be costly, it’s undoubtedly one of the best ways to explore big cities in a short period of time. Better for the planet through its easing of congestion and reduction of emissions, public transport can also be better for your own health, as it encourages exploration on foot. Walking around new and unfamiliar cities is one of our favourite pursuits here at the Scrubba wash bag, as it enables you to explore at a local level, stumble upon new sights and get lost in something you didn’t even know existed, blend into your surroundings, and admire a building or attraction in detail – something that often isn’t possible when glancing out of the grimy window of rapid transit.

As an added bonus, some cities, like St Petersburg, Russia, are known for the beauty of their underground, rendering them worthy of a visit in their own right, regardless of whether you actually intend to take the train.  Finally, although public transport usually forces you to stay in the more expensive tourist areas, makes it difficult to visit remote areas, locks you into timetables and carries the risk of delays, undoubtedly offering less flexibility than its counterparts, a degree of freedom can be recuperated by exploring night trains and buses. Popular all over the world, these forms of transport enable you to save some money on accommodation and relax while you travel, reducing the stress of driving in a new, unfamiliar place.

Top Tips:

Research your options before you go to get an idea of routes and prices, as public transport can go from being inexpensive in one city to incredibly expensive in another. Furthermore, some – typically poorer – regions, lack a reliable transport systems, while others may lack guarantees of safety and comfort, all factors which should be considered before you go. If walking, the safety of the streets in a particular area should also be taken into account to help keep your trip running as smoothly as possible. Plotting your points of interest and accommodation on a map can be helpful, allowing you to visually gauge the best route and approximate time of travel from point to point. Finally, travelling at peak hour is much easier with minimal luggage, so check out our top 5 tips for packing light to see how you can slim down.

 

The Breakdown:

When to rent a car:

If you’re after a slower-paced, more relaxing holiday, car rental may be for you. After all, this option makes it easy explore at your own pace on your own terms, with the freedom to head out of commercial hubs and uncover the hidden gems of your chosen destination. Furthermore, rental cars pair well with hotels and similar types of accommodation, making it more likely to achieve a better deal due to your ability to stay out of the tourists zones. With transport right at your fingertips, you can forget the hassle of navigating metro systems and trying to distinguish fraudulent taxis from legitimate ones, although you should brush up on your map reading skills to prevent potential disputes on the road!

 

When to rent a campervan:

If you’re heading on a long road trip, enjoy driving, are eager for freedom and flexibility, and are visiting areas with a high cost of living, renting a campervan can be especially beneficial, helping you cut your restaurant and accommodation costs right down by switching to typically cheaper groceries and campsites. Additionally, the more people you travel with, the more a campervan can help you save and stay organised throughout your journey, while simultaneously helping keep your team alert by enabling for regular driver/navigator changes.  This makes it a great option for small families and other groups.

 

When to take public transport:

If you’re highly environmentally-conscious, content to stick to the city, don’t mind doing a little walking, and are keen to see how the locals live, public transport is a good option. For solo travellers or couples who enjoy travelling light, this form of transport can also be highly beneficial, as navigating heavy crowds without losing each other and finding space in packed carriages is unlikely to be a big issue.

 

 

There’s never been a better time to hit the road – you just need to determine exactly how. Use the above points and the quick reference guide below to do just that, then get out there and start exploring. Good luck!

 

 

Browse our store to find out how to bring the laundry right to you, no matter how or where you choose to travel.

Find out everything you need to know about eco-friendly travel.

Tags: campervan, eco-friendly, public transport, rental car, scrubba wash bag, Scrubba wash bagpolyurethane