Is Flying Always Preferable to Overland Travel?

 

Lumbini, Nepal
Lumbini, Nepal

Is Flying Always Preferable to Overland Travel?

by George Rajna

When traveling abroad, the majority of travelers fly between locations with the obvious advantages of speed and convenience despite the far higher costs associated with air transportation. Even though air flights have advantages, going overland between countries can lead to visiting locales that are often overlooked because they are inconvenient to travel to from airports of capital cities.

My wife, Lisa Niver Rajna, and I have been traveling in Asia since July 2012 for well over a year. During our travels throughout countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, India, and Nepal, we use public land transport to meet the majority of our transport needs. As a general rule, we avoid air transport if the trip by land is less than eight hours. The reasoning is that quite a few preparatory hours are necessary to be able to fly. Airports are generally located far out of town both in the departing and arriving cities. Also, people flying must arrive to the airport at least two hours in advance. Therefore, the minimum time necessary to prepare to fly and transfer to the arriving city hotel will take a minimum of four hours, not including flight time. Hence, it makes sense to fly only when land travel time substantially exceeds the time it takes to prepare for and take the flight.

However, even when travel time by land is extensive, the reward of visiting sites and remote towns can easily outweigh the convenience of a flight. For example, while traveling from India to Nepal, we were easily able to reach Buddha’s place of birth, Lumbini, since we arrived by land rather than the distant airport in Kathmandu. A structure that houses a stone marks the spot where Buddha was actually conceived. From Lumbini, we headed to Tansen – an authentic, non-touristy town – situated near a variety of day hike trails. The friendly local people were sincere and curious about international travelers. School children and young adults frequently struck up conversations at restaurants and other establishments that cater to both locals and tourists.

Don Det, Laos
Don Det, Laos

Another example of advantageous overland travel occurred when we traveled by land between the countries of Laos and Cambodia in South-east Asia. The Laos side boasts beautiful scenic jungle islands including Don Det.; this remote island is home to lush jungle, water buffalos and friendly children. In the tropical climate, floating downriver in inner tubes is a pleasant way to spend the afternoon. Not far from the Cambodian side of the boarder is the town of Kratie, famous for viewing the pink river dolphin.

In addition to opening possibilities of traveling to out of the way destinations when traveling overland, travelers are literally able to feel the change from one country to the next as it actually occurs. For example, when we departed India after having traveled there for three months, our arrival by land to the Nepali boarder town Bhairawa located only perhaps ten kilometers from India, was a world away in the manner that people interacted, with an evident and tangible change in the local culture.

Of course, flying between destinations using air transportation has its place in both domestic and international travel. However, with an open mind, time, and a sense of adventure, travelers can take advantage of cheaper land transport to save money and see worthwhile sites at the same time.

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. She is the founder of the website WeSaidGoTravel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. Niver is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, Inc. With more than 150,000 followers across social media, she has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on Twitter and listed on IMDb, and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. You can find Lisa Niver talking travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, Satellite Media Tours, The Jet Set TV and Orbitz travel webisodes as well as her YouTube channel, where her WeSaidGoTravel videos have over 1.6 million views. After three months on TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels and YouTube Shorts, she had over 500,000 (1/2 million) views. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors and been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She has been a judge for the Gracie Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media, and has run 15 travel competitions on her website, publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty times.   Niver has published more than 2000 articles, in more than three dozen magazines and journals including National Geographic, Wired, Teen Vogue, HuffPost Personal, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, AAA Explorer Magazine, American Airways, Delta Sky, enRoute (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, BuzzFeed, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, USA Today, TODAY, Wharton Magazine, and Yahoo. Awards National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards 2021 Winner: Book Critic: Ms. Magazine “Untamed: Brave Means Living From the Inside Out” 2019 Winner: Soft News Feature for Film/TV: KTLA TV “Oscars Countdown to Gold with Lisa Niver” 2019 Finalist for: Soft News, Business/Music/Tech/Art Southern California Journalism Awards 2022 Finalist: Book Criticism 2021 Winner: Technology Reporting 2021 Finalist: Book Criticism 2020 Winner: Print Magazine Feature: Hemispheres Magazine, “Painter by the Numbers, Rembrandt” 2020 Finalist: Online Journalist of the Year, Activism Journalism, Educational Reporting, Broadcast Lifestyle Feature 2019 Finalist: Broadcast Television Lifestyle Segment for “Ogden Ski Getaway” 2018 Finalist: Science/Technology Reporting, Travel Reporting, Personality Profile 2017 Winner: Print Column “A Journey to Freedom over Three Passovers” Social Media Presence YouTube Channel: We Said Go Travel (1.6 million views) Short form video:TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels, YouTube Shorts Twitter: lisaniver (90,000 followers) Instagram: lisaniver (24,000 followers) Pinterest: We Said Go Travel (20,000 followers and over 70,000 monthly views) Facebook: lisa.niver (5,000 followers); We Said Go Travel (3,000 followers) LinkedIn: lisaellenniver (9000 contacts)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

We Said Go Travel

We Said Go Travel