Airplanes aren't for everyone. Maybe, like me, you rode one once and realized that there's nothing between you and the ground but faith. Or maybe the mere thought of them sends you into a frenzy about how bad they are for the environment. No matter what your reason is, it might be that traveling by plane isn't for you.
But between all the conferences and meetings with stakeholders, planes sometimes feel like a necessary evil. After all, how else are you supposed to get around? The good news is that there are multiple ways to travel that don't involve flying, but are still comfortable, affordable, and won't affect productivity. Here are four alternatives for business travel that don't involve taking a plane.
Train tickets aren't considered cheap, but with trains you're not just paying for the travel; you're spending money on a comfortable journey and a memorable experience. You arrive at the train station, hop on board your train, and get to work if you need to. There's no need to put away laptops or turn off cell phones (though you should still be courteous to other passengers).
Trains are my favorite alternative way to travel. You're not as crammed into a tight space as you are on a plane, you have more food options, and you can walk around or upgrade to a private room or quiet car if you want uninterrupted time to work. I've worked, taken in incredible scenery, and eaten excellent steaks while traveling by train. Plus, I've gotten to see many beautiful and ornate train stations I probably wouldn't have visited otherwise.
On the Amtrak, you can bring two personal items and two carry-ons onboard. Plus, you can bring four checked bags--two free and the other two for $20 each. You might not need to carry that much with you for a business trip, but having the option is nice. Amtrak also allows bicycles on trains.
Driving allows you to stop to eat and rest when you want to, plus you'll have a car when you arrive at your destination. You may even get there in the same amount of time it would've taken you to fly.
Think about it. You travel to arrive at least two hours early at the airport, wait to check-in, wait to go through security, and then wait to board. When you arrive, you wait to get off the plane and get your luggage. That time adds up.
If your business travel isn't too far and the time spent in the car is similar to the total time spent at the airport, consider driving. Plus, if you need to rent a vehicle, you can use a credit card to score extra points and car rental insurance. According to a Forbes guide, not all credit cards offer the best car rental protections so choose which one you use carefully.
Driving helps me clear my head before a big event. I crank up my music, roll down the windows, and hit the road to shake off any anxiety. I focus on one task--driving.
Traveling via bus can make for a luxurious and convenient trip. For instance, the Vonlane bus is known as the "private jet on wheels," containing only 22 first-class seats, complimentary food and drink, and WiFi and outlet services so you don't have to stop your work. While this bus built for business travel serves cities in Texas, there are other options available around the country.
Greyhound is a low-cost alternative with WiFi and outlets. I've taken coaches a number of times and have found them to be much less stressful than planes. Because they're usually quiet, I've been able to finish work and even get some rest while we traveled.
This isn't the cheapest or quickest way to travel, but this increasingly popular option is worth considering if you have to travel overseas. A spot on a cargo ship can cost you an average of $100/day, which usually includes food, accommodation, and port fees. A cargo ship isn't going to have the luxuries of a cruise ship but it can get you from one point to another if you can't travel by plane.
A colleague of mine spent a week at sea, crossing the Atlantic, then flew back to the USA when he was done. He said he was able to get a lot of work done because the cargo ship didn't have distractions. When I asked him if he'd do it again, he said he definitely would as it allowed him to go off the grid for a small while.
Only you know what's best for you and your trip. Whether your trip is tomorrow or next year, planning ahead is always wise. It doesn't matter what form of transportation you take. Each one offers its own beautiful experience.