Everybody knows it, Canada is a big place. I’m sure you’ve heard tales of these “silly tourists” who ambitiously plan a week-long coast-to-coast holiday with side trips to the US—this is not Europe, where you can have breakfast in London and lunch in Paris two hours later.
It’s a fact, distances are huge. Vancouver to St. John’s is about ten centimeters on my map… I mean, 7250 km in the real Canadian world. So whenever locals or tourists need to travel, their first thought is to fly.
But really… is this the only way to get around?
Hold on a minute. We have buses and trains too!
Here are a few reasons to consider ground transportation for your next trip.
Easy booking process
Booking a plane ticket is a headache—airlines fees, taxes, layovers, etc. can be time-consuming to decipher. In comparison, bus and train routes are more predictable, more transparent, there is less fine print and you can research your options easily. Websites such as GoTicket Canada—this is a giant user-friendly database of bus and train tickets and schedules between more than 100,000 routes—make it easy to find the best option for you.
I keep on hearing people complaining about airport security and long checking and boarding process, especially in North America. While they are security measures in place for bus or train trips, they are much more reasonable and won’t delay you much. You won’t have to show up hours before your scheduled departure and be a captive audience at the gate. You can even—gasp!—travel with a bottle of water and your shoes on!
Flying must have been a treat at one point, a long time ago when meals didn’t suck and when you could stretch your legs. Nowadays, I find buses and trains much more comfortable. In trains, you can get up and move. In buses, you can often recline your seat to your liking without bothering other passengers.
Take off and landing are often the highlight of a flight. But for the rest of the time, you’re staring at the flight map on the entertaining system—or at best, at the sky and the clouds. Watching the scenery going by from a train or a bus seat is much more entertaining and let you experience what the country really is about—long stretches of roads, small towns and open space.
Convenient arrival and departure
Most airports are located far from the city centre. Whether you take a taxi or a shuttle, the trip is often long and pricey. Bus and train stations are usually much closer to the action and they are often a stop on main public transportation systems, like local bus or subway routes.
Finally, remember that these different transportation systems aren’t mutually exclusive. For instance, we often bus to the nearest large airport, Montreal’s Trudeau, to get better airfare deals instance of suffering through yet another connection from Ottawa.