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Urban & Travel Photography 101: Use public transportation

Updated on February 21, 2016
Bus ride at 6am
Bus ride at 6am

Why should i use public transportation?

“The first thing I do, when I arrive to a new place, after getting rid of my luggage of course, is to take a ride with public transportation. It really helps me to get a better picture of the place I’m staying at”

The main reason for this topic, besides the fact that I’m sometimes really lazy and quickly annoyed by walking through a place I really don’t know anything about, is that this is the most comfortable and effective way of getting to know an entire city or just a specific part of it. You’ll save a lot of time when you drive around in busses, trams or trains instead of walking around without any clue of where exactly to go to. Especially when it’s your first time somewhere and you’re just staying for a couple of days.

The first time i arrived in Budapest, a couple of years ago, I was curiously wandering around the area my apartment was located in but quickly felt kind of lost and soon had no idea about what to do and where to go. So I decided to sit down at a nearby restaurant and started thinking about ways of exploring Budapest effectively. Well, actually I sat down because I was bored and therefor hungry but anyways. Since I sat right next to one of the main streets leading to the Oktogon, I noticed a lot of those typical busses of Budapest passing me and I decided to just hop in one of those after lunch and drive through the city and wherever it’s going to take me.

The Oktogon in Budapest

Buy a ticket, take a ride!

So i did it and it was a revelation! I drove around for a couple of hours, saw so many different parts of Budapest and took a ton of pictures through the windows. My decision really helped me to see as much as possible within just a couple of hours of driving plus I was able to discover many un-touristic and more urban areas of Budapest. The only problem with this was, that I had no clue how to get back. The bus had reached its final destination and I had to get out, just to find out that I actually drove through the whole city and now was located on the complete opposite side of Budapest. So, since i’ve pointed out the benefits of using public transportation and assuming that you neither speak the language of the country you’re in, nor people speak english somehow well, here is some generally helpful stuff and some tips to avoid having a damn hard time to get back to your place, especially when the bus is only heading in one direction..

Line 72
Line 72

8 Things to keep in mind when using public transportation

  1. Get a bus or tram plan.
  2. Mark down the busses or trams you’re using
  3. Use tall or special buildings for orientation
  4. If you can, use maps on your smartphone and mark down locations with a needle
  5. Keep some change in your pocket, you might need to buy some new tickets
  6. Start early in the morning so you still have the rest of the day to discover
  7. Take your time, it might get boring for a while but it’s worth it
  8. Keep your camera ready, you might see some stuff you’ll probably never see ever again

One of the public busses right after crossing over to Buda
One of the public busses right after crossing over to Buda

What's your conclusion?

Since this day, the first thing I do, when I arrive to a new place, after getting rid of my luggage of course, is to take a ride with public transportation. It really helps me to get a better picture of the place I’m staying at. And as I already said, you’ll be able to discover a whole lot more and diverse areas than solely by foot.

So, what do you think of this 101? Was it helpful? If you have any questions, critique or just some thoughts you want to share, feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me an email.

© 2016 Alexandre Kurek

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