When we head out to travel the world, most of the time we assume this will involve taking flights.
‘Got your plane ticket? Got your passport’?
These are two things that everyone checks.
But taking to the skies isn’t the only way to see the world around us. While you could travel by car, rail, bus, or plane, there are an array of alternative options out there that can give you a unique insight into the culture of the place you’re visiting.
And these modes of transport will be even more memorable than the flight you’ll probably sleep through anyway!
Unique and Interesting Ways to Travel
Camel / Horseback
The earliest wanderers traveled the world on camel / horseback, so why not go back to basics and channel your inner ancient explorer?!
Not so long ago, horses were the fastest and easiest way to move from place to place. Horseback travel was once used for everything from the expansion of Empires, to trade, though nowadays it’s a form of adventure travel, and you can take horseback safaris.
Similarly, camels have served humans in cross‐continental caravans, transporting people and goods, connecting different cultures and providing milk, meat, wool and draught since their domestication around 3000–6000 years ago.
So why not head out on a camel safari?
Whether you’re travelling through the Sahara Desert or Western Australia, riding camels allows you to travel through more remote destinations where roads are absent, and they can probably carry more than you can fit in the trunk of your car.
Tour guides will supply you with native camels and lead you across the copper-coloured dunes under a stunningly clear sky, and absence of light pollution. When you reach camp, you can enjoy an authentic meal … despite the heat in the day, it gets cold at night, so bring plenty of layers.
On Two Wheels
Many travellers will use a bus or even a taxi to see the world and get from one destination to the next. But from cycling to scooters, why not see the world on two wheels, on your own schedule?
There’s a liberating sense of freedom winding a scooter or motorcycle through mountain roads or taking a Covered Bridge Tour. You feel the wind in your face, and even if you’ve never ridden a motorbike before, it’s easy to pick up.
Also known as mixed terrain cycle touring, bikepacking is a new trend; a hobby where cyclists looking to get well and truly off the beaten path take on a variety of surfaces and topography.
This type of two wheeling is a mix of backcountry backpacking and mountain biking; you leave the pavement behind to take on roads of dirt, sand, mud, and rock, and there are epic routes throughout countries like New Zealand, America and Scotland.
From gondolas in Venice to Dhow boats in Dubai, and Ngalawa canoes in Zanzibar, getting off land and onto the water is a tranquil way to see the world from a different perspective.
These historical means of transport can stretch back as far as 1400 years, for instance, a Dhow is a traditional wooden boat that dates back to 600 BC that was historically used throughout the Middle East for trading.
Having played such a crucial role in the history and evolution of the gulf, these iconic boats have been repurposed for tourism, and while no longer used for trade, visitors can board historic boats for a dinner cruise across Dubai Marina.
However another way to see the world by water, without necessarily taking a crowded ferry or cruise, is to kayak. It’s relatively simple to pick up kayaking, and this is a great way to get close to nature, and access remote sightseeing that you wouldn’t usually be able to enjoy on land.
There are many fantastic kayaking spots around the world, even for beginners, from Hawaii to Scotland, Mexico where you can swim with whale sharks, and even Antarctica.
Kayaking in Antarctica specifically allows you to explore the smaller inlets that cruise ships can’t get through. It’s an intimate experience among the grandeur of the frozen continent, and you’ll come face to face with penguins, seals and possibly whales as they swim around your kayak.
On A Sled
If you want to check out parts of the world that few people get the see, a dogsled ride through the backcountry of Alaska, Canada, or the arctic could be the answer.
While leading a group of sled dogs won’t get you places as fast as a snowmobile, the experience is much quieter and keeps you more in tune with nature. And while there’s a growing awareness around ethical animal experiences, dog sledding is a perfectly responsible activity.
Always pack snowshoes in case your dogs decide to call it quits and refuse to pull you any longer, although a bribe of a few dog biscuits usually will get them back on their feet again!
Should you be allergic to dogs, try being led on a sleigh by reindeer. It works for Santa and he manages to make it all the way around the world in a single night … even our finest passenger planes can’t manage that speed!!
Seeing The World Your Way
Other means of transport may be more convenient, and they might help you squeeze as much as possible into your adventure, but slowing everything down via alternative transport will make for a much more memorable experience!