With the price of cars and fuel, automobiles can’t be the only way to get around. Perhaps peeking into a few international transportation alternatives will inspire you to take on a more pocketbook-friendly form of commuting.
1. Dog sleds
Although dog sledding has largely been replaced by the snowmobile, you can still mush for pleasure or competition. How many people can say they hug their ride and keep it running on kibble?
2. Tuk Tuks
Travelling via tuk tuk means sitting inside a cabin precariously perched atop three Vespa-like wheels that take you whizzing through people-packed municipalities and dusty rural byways, some as fast as 30 miles per hour.
In Africa and the Middle East, the working camel can be easily loaded with goods or passengers, thanks to their ability to kneel, while domesticated camels can take you for scenic traverses alongside the Pyramids of Giza.
If your hometown’s nickname is City of Water,
you’ll need help crossing Venetian canals via a traghetto, or ferry (unless you’ve mastered a more holy form of traversing watery byways). Just don’t expect any serenading.
5. The Shinkansen
If you were traveling 199 miles per hour and were never more than six seconds late, then you’d be hurling along aboard The Shinkansen, or bullet train. With the speed and visage of, well, a bullet, this spectacular feat of Japanese engineering can also be seen in France’s Train Grande Vitesse, or TGV.
6. Horse Driving
From Egyptian chariots to Russian troikas to English hansoms, horses really were the original car. In some parts, harnessed horses are still used for transportation. Horse driving has largely become a competitive sport, or a pleasurable way to see the countryside.
7. Aerial tram
Once used for hauling ore, aerial tramways now carry passengers along mountainous peaks. The Wings of Tatev—the world’s longest aerial tram—travels from the base of Armenia’s southern mountains, over the Vorotan River Gorge, to the lofty Tatev Monastery. At its highest point, you’ll be 1,049 feet in the air.
8. The Air Car
French company MDI have unveiled a car that is literally like riding on air. The Air Car runs on compressed air—nary a drop of gasoline required. This bug-like beauty recently made its debut at the New York Car Show, and production of vehicles is slated to begin in Switzerland in 2011. Incroyable!
9. Tap Tap Cab
They may look like part of a county fair parade, but these elaborately decorated trucks, complete with
benches in the bed, are actually public transportation, so named for the tapping you do with a coin when you wished to stop.
A good choice for the lonely commuter, a boda-boda is essentially a two-seater bicycle taxi found in Africa and Asia. The driver will take you to and fro as fast as his legs can carry him, but if you’re in a hurry, you may opt to hail the boda-boda’s successor: a piki-piki, or motorcycle taxi.
Any of those options sound like feasible alternatives to the conventional and pricey automobile? Yeah, didn’t think so. Of course, you could always walk…now that’s unusual!