Getting around in any location can be a stressful experience. It’s rare that you will arrive at the right place at the right time without having to at least run for something, be it a bus, tram, train or flight. Travellers have a tendency to overestimate how much time they have to get somewhere, while not factoring in unexpected delays that will have inevitably knock on effects further down the line. On top of that, it can be a struggle to work out which mode of transport to take in the first place, as well as how to book it, arrive to the correct station or bus stop and where to get off. All of this can be extremely draining and leave you exhausted by the time you finally reach the ‘incredible waterfalls’ or ancient ruins’ that everyone you meet has been raving about. However, having the best resources right at your fingertips can make this process considerably easier, getting you from A to B without the stress and headaches that typically come with it.
For that very reason, we have put together a list featuring the top ten platforms for getting around, be it for booking a train, finding people to ride-share with, or simply finding a parking spot for your rental car. Finding transport, particularly when in a foreign country where you don’t understand the language can be exceedingly tricky, yet with this carefully curated list of websites and smartphone apps it should make life a whole lot easier. Each site was thoroughly assessed to ensure that a selection of only the best were selected, with each review containing a brief summary of the service, its highlights, what makes it unique and its potential drawbacks, while the pros and cons of each one are listed in an easy-to-read set of bullet points below each review. Naturally, there are hundreds of platforms all promising to offer you help with getting around, however we’ve chosen only the ones that most suitably fit our criteria by considering a number of factors that have been summarised below.
Although each service provided a different service, one feature that was assessed across all of them was the level of customer service offered by the sites. Included in this was the range of options for actually getting into contact with customer service in the first place, as just one form of contact can feel limited, especially when abroad and making a phone call has the potential to be expensive. The presence of an live online chat was considered a great addition, where customers are quickly put in contact with a travel agent who is on hand to clear up any queries they may have without the need to login to their email or wait in line on the phone. Rail Europe, for example, is a service that sets itself apart due to their impeccable customer support, both before and during travelling. You can easily request a live chat with an online travel agent to quickly answer any queries you may have about making or managing an existing booking, allowing you to save time and money speaking on the phone, or waiting for an email response. In addition to ways of getting in contact, the level of attention is also important, as there is little use in having instant messaging capability without someone quickly responding to your queries on the other end. Each one was therefore tested to see how prompt the agents were at replying and how fast they could get you an answer.
Understandably, a primary factor that should to be taken into consideration when reviewing any type of website is its user interface and, ultimately, how easy it is to achieve what you set out to do. A good, user-friendly interface with simple aesthetic is an obvious, yet often underrated, aspect of many websites, and something that can ultimately influence the entire experience for customers trying to find details of the best way to get from one place to another. While a website may offer a vast array of options and added features, an overcrowded and confusing homepage can make using even the platform’s most simple function difficult for many users. Frequently, the best sites are those with a simple, minimalistic aesthetic that make no attempt to over complicate the service offered by adding too many extra features, while they also seem to be the ones with the fastest loading speeds. Those that have an abundance of pop-up adverts and promotions can also make searching for information a more stressful experience than it ought to be. Therefore, we made sure that, when reviewing the various transportation websites and apps, we considered the overall usability and how easy it was to find what you were looking for before going on to assess any other factors.
When finding transport, a number of different factors have to be considered to ensure the most personalised and comfortable experience possible. The ability to quickly narrow these parameters down so that they match customers’ specific requirements is a useful feature to have included, saving time in scrolling through pages and pages of suggestions, none of which are of interest to you. The option to narrow down and sort through search results often comes in the form of filters and ‘Sort By’ options. By applying various filters, you will be able to view all options that match your requirements, while the ones that do not match will disappear from view. ‘Sort By’ options, meanwhile, work in a similar way to filters, however as the name suggests, they sort the results once users have added the appropriate filters, so that they can view options in either ascending or descending order depending on what they have selected. If, for example, you are looking for overnight trains that include free wifi at the lowest cost, you will be able to do so by applying filters and then sorting in ascending order by price.
Finally, we considered not only whether the site offered a selection of itineraries, but also the range of budgets and traveller types to which these catered. Travel itineraries offer travellers suggestions, day-by-day guides, advice and tips for journeys to different locations. Rail Europe, for example, has on its website a ‘Travel Itineraries and Inspiration’ section, which provides fantastic ideas for those looking to book a rail pass in Europe. With over 75 years experience in the travel sector, their resources, including city guides, itineraries and travel tips, are some of the best around for gaining insight into travelling abroad. This content makes for a great additional resource for planning a trip and getting the most out of your trip, rather than having to work everything out for yourself or by referring to a different source. As a result, we made sure to factor in the presence of travel itineraries and guides across the sites, ensuring that there were ones that provided for all budgets and traveller types, whether young backpackers or more elderly couples.
Overall, this list provides a selection of the ten most helpful transportation sites and smartphone apps from among hundreds, combining all of the above features to single out only the top ten. Getting from A to B is not always as easy as it seems and any additional help you can get from online resources is well worth looking at. Hence, we have taken into account the aforementioned factors to provide you with only the very best sites for finding all the best modes of getting around, be it booking a seat on a train, sharing a car journey with other travelers or simply discovering the best way to get to the next destination. With this list you have everything you need in one convenient place.