Why do people travel? There are many answers and reasons for it. The fact is that for many of us, travelling is a true hobby.
People travel to visit places that are close or far away, or they travel for fun or from necessity. Travelling takes up more time in our lives than most of us can imagine. Every day we must travel to school, to work, or for visiting friends. There are two ways of travelling. One is using our own means of transport and the other is to rely on the public transportation services. People and goods can be transported by land, by air, or by water.
The main fact that speaks for water transport is the relatively small costs. Ferries, ocean liners, and other steamboats take quite a lot of time to carry you to the place of destination. The advantage is that you can take more luggage. While traveling by sea, you can get sea-sick.
Going by air is very expensive but is the fastest way of travelling. An air ticket ensures us a comfortable seat on a plane which can fly us to any place in the world within a few hours. The air transportation system is strictly dependent on a timetable. At the airport, we go through passport control and a security check, have our luggage (which has a limited weight, of course) checked and then wait until the plane is ready for take-off. When we are lucky and our flight is neither cancelled nor postponed, we can look forward to a safe landing on the runway of another airport. For private use, helicopters are usually bought.
Land offers the greatest variety of means of transport. There are motor road vehicles and bicycles on one hand, and the railways on the other. As personal vehicles, motorcycles and cars are the most popular. There are also other means of transport on four wheels - buses and trolleybuses. Of rail vehicles, which are designed for public use, we could mention trains, trams, and the underground.
Cars and motorbikes are expensive to purchase and people also have to pay for petrol, which costs a lot of money. For short and medium distances, a car is fast enough so as not to get too tired of travelling, unless we get into a traffic jam. The best thing about cars is that they will take you almost anywhere at any time. Modern cars with soft seats and a lot of space for legs are sometimes even more comfortable than the interior of a plane. To get a driver’s license one must know how to drive and know the traffic rules well too. One of the rules says that cars are to be driven on the right side of the road. This isn’t true in Great Britain, where people drive on the left.
The most frequent public means of transport are buses and trains. A network of bus and train stops covers most inhabited places. Public transport is cheaper, but also less comfortable. The main bus and train stops in major cities are called stations. An ordinary railway station looks like this: a big hall with a ticket office where one can buy a single or return ticket and a seat reservation, the departures and arrivals board, a luggage office or lockers, telephones, waiting halls, a restaurant, a vending machine, a book-stall, and toilettes.
In big cities, undergrounds with several different tracks have been built to relieve the trams and busses (the most interesting of them are the famous double-deckers in London). They are the fastest means of urban transportation and the underground trains usually go every five minutes on average. Many workers and pupils depend on the underground every morning. It can take them at a low rate from the suburbs to the city and back. Taxis in big cities can just be called by phone or hailed while they pass by in the street, but they are too expensive.
Another popular means of transportation is bicycle riding. A very special type of travelling is hitch-hiking. Mostly it’s carried out by young people who are not afraid of taking a risk. Some travelers get to very distant countries this way. Young people travel mainly to improve their language skills and often also for the fun and adventure.
If we prefer not to travel alone, we can take advantage of the services offered by travel agencies, who will usually take care of all our needs. They will take care of our accommodation, transportation, health insurance, and accident and baggage insurance. It is very important to have a valid passport. It is also good to get an international health insurance card.
When travelling on vacation, we should look for accommodation. There are hotels and motels which differ in price and comfort. Before our arrival we should make a reservation and book a room in such a hotel. We can get bed and breakfast or full board at a daily or weekly rate. Then we can enjoy our stay with the help of some of the hotel’s services - a restaurant, a bar, a coffee shop, a travel desk, a theatre ticket office, a hairdresser’s shop and a beauty salon or sports facilities like a swimming pool or a fitness centre. Motels are situated mostly by roads. The guest can park his car at the door of his own room. A special kind of accommodation for young people are youth hostels, where it is possible to stay overnight at a low rate, but only for a limited time. Some tourists prefer to stay at a farm or they rent a room on their own.