The Costs of Transportation by Airplane, Bus, and Train Worldwide

Unless you are going to a destination which is only a few miles away — or unless you have a lot of time — walking is usually not an option when traveling. You must rely on some mode of transportation — whether it is an airplane, bus, train, boat, or car…

The Costs of Transportation by Airplane, Bus, and Train Worldwide

…but the cost of travel via airplane, train, and bus is different in every country in the world. Sometimes switching your mode of transportation as you cross the border can mean significant savings for your travel budget — but with language and currency differences to consider, figuring out a price-per-kilometer from one country to the next is not easy.

I have been given express written permission to use the images and the verbatim text from this article pertaining to the prices of transportation around the world — which was written for FleetLogging — to give more details about the costs of travel by airplane, bus, and train. Listed in this article is every capital city in the world — and the cost of a journey of 100 kilometers by bus, train, and airplane from each travel hub was calculated in order to take the pain out of preparing your international journey.

The result is a must-have index for comparing the cost of transport around the world. Scroll on for our guide to the cheapest and most expensive countries to travel by airplane, bus, or train.

The Cheapest and Most Expensive Countries to Travel by Plane

Our first infographic reveals the cheapest and priciest place to travel by airplane. Scroll on to see our full data mapped and charted.

Click on the image for an enlarged version. Source: FleetLogging.

Denmark is the most expensive country to live in the EU, but neighboring, non-EU Norway is more expensive. Still, the cost of a domestic flight in Denmark is the most expensive in the world, while a trip from Norway’s capital of Oslo to Bergen is one of the cheapest. One reason is that the Norwegian route is better served by a range of budget airlines, with Wizz Air, Norwegian, and SAS among those competing for customers.

However, Russian domestic flights are even cheaper. A trip from Moscow to St Petersburg costs around $27 — just $4.23 per 100km. As the heat map below illustrates, other countries in Asia and the Middle East also have affordable domestic flights. Western Europe, South America, and the east of Africa are all costly places for plane travel.

Discover the full list of domestic flight costs below.

Click on the image for an enlarged version. Source: FleetLogging.

USA Land of the Expensive Bus – Luxembourg Home of the Free (Transport)

We did the same for bus transport. First up is our infographic showing the best and worst country to travel by plane. Underneath, you can find a map and chart with more details.

Click on the image for an enlarged version. Source: FleetLogging.

Travelers think of the humble omnibus as a low-budget, flexible way of getting around. But it depends where you are. The USA — the land of the Greyhound bus — is actually the second priciest place on Earth. Our study shows that it can cost more than twice as much to travel by bus (48¢/km) as by plane (22¢/km). That’s based on a bus trip from DC to Hagerstown versus a flight from the capital to Pittsburgh.

You’re not much better off on the bus in Canada, although Malta is priciest of all. You’ll find Luxembourg at the cheap end of the scale for both bus and train travel. That’s because the tiny European country introduced free public transport in 2020.

Discover the full list of costs below.

Click on the image for an enlarged version. Source: FleetLogging.

Click on the image for an enlarged version. Source: FleetLogging.

Africa is the Continent of Cheap Train Travel

Here are Fleetlogging’s findings on the cost of train travel around the world. As before, the infographic summarizes the cheapest and most expensive countries, while you can find full details in the map and chart after the analysis.

Click on the image for an enlarged version. Source: FleetLogging.

Latin America is beautiful by train. But whether it’s affordable depends on where you are. Peru has the priciest train travel in our study, by quite a gap. A trip from Lima to Huancayo by train covers just 200km at a cost of $139. On the other hand, Cuba, Chile, Costa Rica, and Argentina can be traversed by train for pocket change.

Africa is the cheapest region to get about by train. Even Morocco, the most expensive African nation in our study, only costs 1/7th of the price of a Peruvian rail journey. A significant pattern can be spotted on our heat map of Europe, where train travel gets cheaper the further east you go.

Discover the full list of costs below.

Click on the image for an enlarged version. Source: FleetLogging.

It is possible to find a bargain when sifting through the complex transport infrastructure of foreign countries. But this guide to the cost of different forms of transport around the world provides an at-a-glance idea of what to expect. Weigh up this data against your need for comfort and speed, and your desire to protect the environment, and you’ll have a clearer idea of the best way to go.

Methodology and Sources

All figures are in United States dollars.

Plane Prices

  1. The distance between the capital city airport of each country and the second-largest city with an airport was calculated.
  2. If no airports with direct flights were located within a country, the nearest airport internationally with a direct flight was used. Any flights greater than 1,000 kilometers were disqualified.
  3. The average costs of flights were then calculated using Skyscanner and calculated the cost per 100 kilometers based on the distance between airports.
Luxembourg

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

Buses and Trains

  1. A bus and train route to a town or city that was 100 kilometers — or nearest to — away from the capital city was found.
  2. Then the most popular travel Internet web site was used to calculate the price of a ticket by taking an average from the highest and lowest fares.
  3. The price in dollars that would cost to travel 100 kilometers was then worked out.
Train from Helsinki Airport

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

As some countries did not actually have all the transport services, we could not collect all three transport costs for every country in the world. Another issue came with the current pandemic. As travel is restricted in most countries, transportation costs varied from day to day.

Summary

Admittedly, some of the information listed in this article may be incomplete. For example, I am not sure that ultra-low-cost buses — such as those operated by Megabus, with which you can spend as little as a dollar plus fees each way — in the United States and the United Kingdom were taken into account.

Also, the cost of transportation by boat or car was not taken into account for this article; and those modes of transportation can potentially be less expensive than airplane, bus, or train — depending on where you are located in the world and the time of year, among other factors.

The point is that you should always research all transportation options whenever you travel to optimize the customization of your trip — keeping in mind that the least expensive mode of transportation may not necessarily be the most convenient; and the most expensive mode of transportation may not necessarily be the most convenient either.

All photographs ©2017 and ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

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