Tips for vacations using public transportation

Tips for better trips

In 2011, 54 percent of travelers surveyed by the American Public Transportation Association planned to use mass transit on their summer vacation. Of the 34,460 respondents, 65 percent said that the availability of public transportation influenced their choice of destination. The group’s sister site, www.publictransportation.org, is a great resource for finding systems in every state, from urban rail networks to rural bus loops.

Here are a few tips for using public transit, culled from personal experience and the APTA experts:

● Look into transit day passes. You’ll get unlimited trips and won’t have to worry about carrying exact change. Just read the fine print: Some aren’t valid during rush hour, and others must be shown to employees before boarding.

●On your phone, use apps such as Google Maps or HopStop to plan your routes. Check whether the transit system has a mobile site with real-time arrivals and timetables.

●Don’t be afraid to hoard a little paper. Brochures and maps can be lifesavers when your phone battery is wheezing after a long day on the move.

Ask for help. Station managers and tourism ambassadors are there for a reason.

●If you’re traveling as a family, hold on to your children so that no one gets left behind. Make sure they know your basic contact information in case you get separated.

●Visit the transit system Web site before you go. Many have visitor guides with important information for out-of-towners.

RELATED:

A public transportation vacation: Philadelphia shows pros, cons of carless trip

One-tank trip from D.C. to West Virginia

Becky Krystal covers food for the Going Out Guide and Weekend and Food sections. In her spare time she loves to, of course, eat and cook.

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