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Planes, trains, automobiles: Picking transportation for vacation

What we'll cover

  • How to pick the perfect travel transportation

  • Find the best way to travel based on time and cost 

  • Pros and cons of transportation options

If you’ve ever planned a vacation, you know deciding how you'll make the journey is an important part of the process. By thinking outside of the box, you can save money and have a more memorable trip. 

Check out these travel transportation tips to help make for some smooth sailing on your next adventure.

Hop on a plane

Planes are a popular travel choice — and for good reason. If you’re traveling cross-country or overseas, there's really no competition for speed and convenience. While you might not save money, you’ll certainly save time.


In most cases, planes are the quickest and most convenient way to travel across the country, transforming an otherwise day-long road trip into a few hours. You’ll also typically find multiple options for arrival and departure dates to fit your ideal schedule.


You'll often pay a premium for its speed and ease, making air travel one of the most expensive options available — especially if you’re traveling with a family. Choosing alternative modes can minimize transportation costs but sometimes sacrifice time and comfort. 

Read more: How visualizing your savings can help you plan for your next trip.

Take a train

Especially in Europe and Asia, riding the rails can be a cheaper alternative to flying without sacrificing much time. Whether you’re squeamish about flying or you just enjoy the extra leg room, trains are a great option for intracontinental trips


Most trains are reliable and moderately fast. Often times, routes pass through mountains, remote villages and even seasides - providing beautiful scenery not often visible from the roads. You can also walk, read or enjoy a meal at top speed. And a bonus – it’s one of the most environmentally friendly ways you can travel.


With trains, you might find limited destination options and the experience can be inconsistent in terms of cleanliness, space and number of passengers. One train station might be in the city center, while another stop might be a little far from your final destination. Compared to driving, trains can be more expensive and you'll have less control in terms of where you’ll stop.

Create trackable goals and budgets for any vacation travel destination with savings buckets, a feature of Ally Bank's Savings Account.

Go for a drive

Who doesn't love a great road-trip story? Whether it's a car or an RV, driving can be a great way to get around depending on your destination. If you already own the vehicle, driving can be a very economical choice, but if you have to rent, it can get expensive. 


You can travel at your own pace when you’re behind the wheel and you’ll have lots of control and flexibility both on your way and once you arrive at your destination. Being on your own schedule might make your trip more enjoyable. If you opt for an RV, they serve up the same benefits of driving with a side of homemade breakfast.


Distance can be a serious limit when traveling by car. Driving for long hours (or over multiple days) can be tough on your body and you may need to find lodging along the way. You’ll need to budget for things like gas, food, snacks and maintenance. If you're in an RV, these costs could grow considerably, so be sure to take that into consideration first.

Get nautical

If you can get to your destination by sea, you might want to consider a boat, ferry or cruise . Traveling by boat can be a memorable (and scenic) part of your vacation. 


Many cruises offer all-inclusive or tiered-package options, allowing you to predict costs without budgeting what you might spend on food and activities. Meanwhile, if you’re just boating from point a to b, many island or waterfront destinations have ferry options that can be cheaper and more convenient than flying. 


You’ll want to consider if you or anyone you're traveling with gets seasick. Keep in mind that if you’re cruising, your itinerary will be relatively strict, so spontaneous side trips are probably off the table. 

Take a savings journey

The trek can be just as important as your destination. But whatever way you choose to travel, make sure it’s enjoyable and affordable for you. Create trackable goals and budgets for your road trip to Montreal, your flight to London or any vacation travel destination with Buckets, a feature of Ally Bank's Savings Account.

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