The Pros and Cons of Riding Local Public Transport While Traveling Abroad

Going on trips abroad is fun but challenging at the same time, particularly when you are not really knowledgeable and skilled about the twists and turns of it. In some countries, walking is their common way of going to and from different places. Though it could be tiring, it would not be a problem for you since it’s very much doable. But you can consider their local public transport as well! Many are just the same in your homeland, and many are quite unfamiliar, but for sure, there are some ways you can move from place to place. 

Private rentals are a thing, and many tourists prefer them for safety and early reservations. However, local public transport is also very common and needless to say, necessary in so many ways! It’s not always perfect, but you get boons from it too.

Take a lot at both angles. Check out this list that will help you make your choice of  transportation during your international trips. Here are the pros and cons of riding local public transport while traveling abroad.  


1 – It’s crowded.

The biggest concern that many travelers experience with regards to local public transport is that it’s swarming with passengers. It’s crowded most of the time. You’d be grateful to ride them during non peak hours, but if you are traveling in rush hours, you’d definitely feel like you’re at war with everybody. 

Populated local public transport is very common in countries where population is huge and regulations are not very strict, like they don’t really prohibit overloading vehicles. When you ride such, you will surely feel like you hopped in fresh but have to come out of it haggard. Even as a tourist, you might need to riskily throw yourself in the sea of people trying to get on the local public transport. There’s no exemption and exception if you choose it.   

2 – It’s not the safest option.

Oftentimes, unfortunate events are unforeseen, however, many of them can be ‘expected’ and thus, prevented and/or avoided. Nonetheless, talking about your safety and security, local public transport is not the best and safest option. 

That’s simply because you ride the transportation with many other people who are all strangers. You never know if you are sitting beside a thief or if delinquents are observing other passengers just around the corner in that seemingly peaceful ride. 

Furthermore, some drivers of local public transport are sometimes reckless in driving. These kinds of drivers should be reported to the authorities for them to be reprimanded. The way they drive their passengers to and from their destinations should be safe and sure at all times. They have lives in their hands as drivers, so they must be mindful and not only skillful. The existence of such drivers is another reason why local public transport is not always safe.  

3 – It’s more time consuming.

Especially in countries where traffic is often heavy, local public transport is more time consuming than private vehicles. Why? 

If you are riding a public utility vehicle, none among the passengers is the number one priority because all of you are priorities in the same levels. The driver’s goal is to bring each of you to your individual destinations, based on the route they take and not on who they favor more. There’s no such thing. You have to wait for your turn to be dropped off to your stop. 

On another note, waiting for local public transport is also one of the most time consuming parts of it. You have to wait at designated stations or just anywhere in the road. Especially if it’s the latter, then you might be uncertain when a public vehicle will arrive or pass by. 

In terms of value for your time, riding local public transport is like the option least recommendable. If you have travel itineraries that are scheduled in specific and fixed time slots, you might not get there on or before the assigned time if you go for local public transport.  


1 – It’s cheaper.

Local public transport is always cheaper since locals use it. It’s every local’s go-to; it’s a major part of the nation’s daily life. It cannot be expensive because the public will suffer or not be able to use it at all. 

Compared to renting private transportation and vehicles provided in luxury escapes packages, local public transport is very budget-friendly. There’s no need for booking or making reservations in advance, so it’s fairly more economical. Rates are predetermined, so you can watch your wallet for sure. 

For travelers who aim to control and ensure responsible spending, in order to save money for other expenses, local public transport is the ideal pick! 

2 – You can always ask locals about it.

Have questions about directions? About where the bus stations and train terminals are? About routes and shortcuts? You can always ask locals about these as they also know everything about local public transport. They are the first-hand users of these public modes of transportation, so no doubt, they can help you. 

They will not need any online riding application or virtual map to understand your inquiry and to explain the answer. They know the details by heart. As local transport users, they are reliable, and you can count on them!

3 – It’s easy to find and access. 

Public utility vehicles are everywhere the public is! That clearly means it’s easy to find and access. For foreign tourists like you who are afraid of getting lost while traveling abroad, local public transport can give you a sense of  relief. Their drivers know the ins and outs of the city’s roads, near and far. You can always ask them or just follow their lead behind the wheel. 

No need for Internet access to access local public transport. They can arrive in front of your eyes even before you start looking for them.

4 – Contribute to lessening road congestion.

Countless cars, motorcycles, trucks, vans and other sorts of vehicles for transportation are filling every road in the world. Choosing to ride local public transport allows you to contribute to lessening road congestion. Even if it’s not your own country, you could and should care. 

Although the deed seems small and simple, it’s not irrelevant. Big help cannot exist without small efforts. Moreover, helping in lessening road congestion means you’re helping lessen air pollution too. While traveling in a foreign country, you can show that you respect and love it like your own. After all, it’s one of the places in this home you call the world.   

5 – It’s a great way to make friends with locals and other tourists. 

This benefit is much enjoyed by travelers who are totally extroverted, like those who can initiate conversations with strangers. Being in local public transport is also a great way to make friends with locals and tourists. With a simple question or a randomly shared thought, you can start a dialogue with your seatmate in the train or with the ticket collector in the bus. Especially if you are a solo traveler, this makes your trip less lonely if you’re lonely. 

What’s more, you can meet and interact with fellow tourists too. This is something you cannot do if you are riding your own private rental car while traveling abroad.  

6 – You really get that local travel experience. 

Last but not the least, if you really want to get that local travel experience, ride a local public transport. This one’s not about the budget or the convenience but about your desire to experience what it’s like to be in that country apart from your own country. It’s a good item to include in your collection of travel memories. You can view the foreign land from different perspectives – be it literally or figuratively. 



Just like anything, local public transport has downsides and upsides. To know if it will work for you at a certain time and situation, know if it matches your speed, your budget and your needs. If you are saving money, it’s the best pick; meanwhile, if you’re in a hurry, you can save it for later instead. 

Other factors to consider have been mentioned in the list as well, so all you have to do is to think and plan wisely. Get to your itineraries without worry with the right means of transportation while traveling away from home! 



Nicole Ann Pore is a writer, an events host and a voice over artist. Quality and well-researched writing is her worthwhile avenue to enlighten and delight others about things that matter. She is a daytime writer for Kims, a beachside retreat in Australia offering awesome beachside lodges like no other. Nicole graduated Cum Laude from De La Salle University Manila, Philippines with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts.

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