“Rome2rio is an online multi modal transport search engine that launched in April 2011. … Users can input any address, town or landmark as the origin and destination and Rome2rio searches a database of flight, train, ferry, bus and driving routes to present route and price options for traveling to that destination.”
That is the Wikipedia definition on what Rome2Rio is all about – and mine? “It’s fantastic!”
I’d never heard of it before. It was only after a discussion with my son’s Speech Language Therapist – a very well traveled lady who was full of tidbits and information for our upcoming trip. In fact, it was an invaluable tour from the planning stages right up until we returned home.
Let’s find out how to use it in the context of planning our round the world trip, shall we?
WHERE SHOULD WE BEGIN?
The first step, when we’re trying to decide where we’re going to go, is to gather together the information on where the members of your party want to go – their bucket list. The first part is pretty easy, because you are going to enter your leaving point, although I don’t mean your hometown, I mean the cities within your own country from which you can depart. For example, from here in New Zealand, we can depart from Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch. We’re not going to look at getting from your hometown to the international departure point from your country, as this is something you are probably familiar with, and of course there are many ways to get to this point, depending on your situation.
From there, the first leg you want to look at is the general destinations on the bucket list that are relatively close to home. Then we need to take a step backwards, because this would normally be your first stop, although not always. What I mean by that is that sometimes it can be cheaper to fly to a large “hub” because airlines generally have discounted flights to what we call “hub” destinations.
DON’T FORGET THE FILTERS
Before we start, lets take a look at your filters. These will be different from person to person, but if there are things that are important to you, it’s wise to exclude those first. Ask yourself things like:
1) Is the price important?
2) Are you happy to have stopovers or do you want a direct flight? If it’s direct, is it too long?
3) Do you prefer traveling at night or during the day?
As these criteria will change, you also need to ask yourself which of those points are most important? Are you willing to sacrifice a dearer flight to get a direct one, or one that departs at night? Look at the needs of your party and then, put those points into priority.
So in our case, we want a reasonably priced airfare, we prefer direct flights, but not ones that are too long, and we prefer to travel at night.
The first place we really wanted to travel to was Dubai. Once we have entered our information into the search fields and applied the filters – in this case, we filtered for direct flights and then sorted the list from lowest to highest price. Direct flight – check, leaving at 2115 hours – check…… and then whammo! A whopping USD$1,261.00 price tag. So that one is very quickly shelved, considering the cheapest flight was USD$700!
The cheapest flight on the list looks attractive, however it has 2 stopovers, which results in a total trip time of nearly 43 hours! One stopover is 5 hours, and the other is 18 hours. I would never entertain stopovers of this length, so that one too is shelved.
CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER
While looking through the various flights, I notice something. A lot of the cheaper flights with stopovers are going to Dubai via Singapore. Now, I happen to know that Singapore is a “hub” destination – in fact, it’s one of the busiest airports out there – so that puts another dimension on things. What did everyone think about going to Singapore? Getting a positive response, I started to look at direct flights from Auckland to Singapore. It turns out that there are many direct flights to Singapore from Auckland, by various airlines. This is a win/win for us, because it means that the trip is going to be competitively priced. Not only that, but there is also a choice of traveling time. So let’s first look at Singapore as a destination, before going on through to Dubai.
Applying our criteria, there’s a flight that suits us down to the ground. It’s direct, only 10 1/2 hours in duration and flies overnight, arriving in the early hours of the morning. The only compromise is that its slightly dearer, but with all the other criteria satisfied, I decide to accept that compromise.
ONLY IF TIME IS YOUR FRIEND…
The other point is that we decided to spend a couple of days in Singapore too. It wasn’t actually on the bucket list, but seeing it is somewhere my hubby and I had never been, and Mum and Dad said it was worthwhile, we thought that was the best option. Bear in mind that we didn’t really have a time limit on our trip, so we were able to make these compromises along the way; you may not be able to, but it is a way to get the best of both worlds.
That is just one example on how we were able to use rome2rio.com to save ourselves either time, money or both. Because we didn’t have time constraints, we were also able to add a couple of extra destinations onto our itinerary.
The other time that the website was invaluable was in traveling short distances. We were able to put in our starting point and our finishing point, and rome2rio would show us the best way to get there. With options like taxis, Uber, buses, ferries, rental cars and even just plain walking, we saved ourselves a lot of money and time.
The website took one opportunity to remind me that it was just a computer, and only as good as the data I fed into it. Sometimes when I was working on our trip, I would put the starting point in first, so the search read, for example, London to London. The search engine went off and did its thing, but came back with only one choice: WALK!
ARMCHAIR PLANNING IS THE BEST KIND!
I was able to use the website to work out how we were going to get from place to place, but there were other options for actually booking the trips, but we’ll talk about that in another post. The purpose here is to show you that you can DIY very successfully when planning your trip from the comfort of your armchair!