Traveling by Cargo Ship
There are hundreds of millions of people traveling every year all over the world. And they get around the world using every type of transport solution you can think of. No matter where you are and where you are planning to go, there’s a path between you and your destination. You only have to make the right choices and take into consideration your needs, your budget, and your schedule.
When thinking of methods of transit, one can always expect to see the obvious: cars, trains, buses, airplanes and river boats. There is, however, a different type of transport available for many travelers, especially for long-haul travel: the cargo ship. Yes, that’s right, the cargo ship is the new way to travel if you hate flying or don’t like to change trains and buses.
Hitching a ride across the ocean is not something every traveler has in mind when scheduling their trip, but it can provide you with a unique experience and will most likely get you to your destination safely and cheaper, albeit much later.
Where From and Where To?
Travel agencies that sell cargo ship travel tickets have sprung up in the United States, as well as many other countries. The main starting points for these trips are in maritime ports that can support ocean-going vessels. The destinations are also going to be major shipping hubs and ports — something you’ll need to remember that when planning your trip. After all, the same goes with flying; you have major airline hubs to fly between, and arrange local transportation from those locations once you arrive. For example, you can travel from San Francisco to any major Asian port, like Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei, Bangkok, and Singapore, as well as Australian destinations, like Sydney or Brisbane. Other ships and routes may get you as far as Rotterdam, Portsmouth, Hamburg, or Buenos Aires.
Cargo Ships vs. Cruise Liners
While both cargo ships and cruise liners get you to the destination, the similarities stop once you get inside your cabin. Comparing cargo ships with cruise liners is like putting a truck next to a limousine (you only get leather seats in the limo.) Most times, you won’t even get a proper passenger cabin in a cargo ship.
Similarly, fancy restaurants, pools, and other luxury amenities are out of the question. What you will get is a simple meal, served three times a day, just the same as the crew, who will be working alongside you during the trip.
When it comes to socialization, you definitely won’t meet any celebrity at a party on a cargo ship. You will see a few fellow passengers and your trusty crew, hailing from many nationalities, and a great many shipping containers. It’s not uncommon to meet sailors from countries as diverse as Kiribati, Vanuatu, Ukraine, United Kingdom and India, all on the same ship.
How to Plan Your Trip and How Much Will it Cost?
There’s a lot of information about cargo ship traveling available online, and many travel agencies offer multiple destinations and can assist you with your itinerary planning. As not all the information is available in English, you may want to book your trip through a travel agent. Keep in mind to check the available routes and the timelines of major shippers for special discounts and offers.
Cargo ships are still more expensive than flying, and it is certainly slower. The good part, however, is that your lodging and food are included in the fare, and at a rate much lower than a cruise ship — frequently under $100 a day. Besides it being a cheaper, if more relaxed way to see the world, you’ll be in for a unique experience. Be sure to invest in some waterproof gear if this is your first trip over water — you can check out Adventure Lion for a selection of sturdy dry bags to keep your valuables protected from the spray. Bon voyage!