¨Every day I walk down the street or hop on the subway, I am reminded that I am a citizen of a very big, incredibly diverse world.¨
Introduction to Subway Travel Tips
When I am on a short trip to a new city, I take the subway as often as possible and encourage other Fifty-Plus Nomads to follow in my footsteps.
After taking subways in 20 cities worldwide, I confidently can take subways anywhere since subway routes are easy to understand, and most tourist sites are less than a twenty-minute walk from a station.
I also love looking at the subway stations and just observing locals.
11 Subway Travel Tips
- In larger cities worldwide, take the subway. Make sure that you know the name of the last station on your route, and you will get on the right train.
- The name of the subways vary. The most common name throughout the world is the metro. However, there are many exceptions, including the tube in London, the U-Bahn in Berlin,
- The most significant problem with the subway is buying the tickets to enter the subway. Unless there is a lengthy line, I would recommend buying tickets at a kiosk staffed by a human being, especially if you will only use a metro system a couple of times. Many stations, especially in Europe, do not have these kiosks, unfortunately.
- The machines can be complicated to use at first, particularly since some systems have several diverse types of tickets available. (Note: Many of the kiosks do have screens available in other languages. Usually, you can access these screens in English by looking for the US or UK (Union Jack) flag).
- If you will be in the same city for a while and plan to take subways a lot, invest in a smart card (usually less than $10 US). Once you have the card, you will not have to waste time buying tickets. Plus, the fares are reduced when you use the card.
- Keep your ticket until you finish your ride. Sometimes you need to insert your ticket into the turnstile to exit the station. In some places, you need to show the ticket to inspectors as well.
- Connections can be confusing. Make sure that you carefully check the signs to make sure that you connect to the correct line. I have made more mistakes in connections on subways than anything else. Check the maps inside the subway trains if necessary to ensure you know how to get to your destination correctly.
- Listen for announcements and look for electronic billboards indicating the stop names along the subway route. If you can, sit near the subway map (or carry a map with you) and follow the stops, so you get off at the correct stop. The names of most subway stations are on display throughout the station.
- If you miss your stop by mistake, go to the other side of the tracks. Then, backtrack on the train heading in the opposite direction. (Don’t cross the tracks, though).
- If possible, avoid traveling during rush hours. Overcrowding can be very uncomfortable and make it difficult to get off at the right station. In addition, you are more likely to get pickpocketed on busy subway trains.
- It can be tricky to figure out where to exit a subway station, try to find a landmark in the same direction as your destination, and follow the signs to the landmark. Often the subways have maps of the neighborhood at their exits to help you find your destination. You can use Google Maps to help.
Want More Subway Travel Tips?
- Though it is specifically about European subways, most of Rick Steves’ advice on riding European subways applies to anywhere in the world.
- Here are some tips for using subways in New York City, London, Mexico City, Tokyo, Paris, Rome, Buenos Aires, and China.
- Here are the ten best subways according to Frommers and the 12 most beautiful subway stations according to Mapquest. (I have been to the ones listed in Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Naples, Bilbao, and Washington DC and agree that they are spectacular. I also love the Hollywood and Vine station in Los Angeles).
Additional Transportation-Related Posts
- 200+ of the Best Expat and Long-Term Travel Quotations From Fifty-Plus NomadAll of my blog posts lead off with a quote that is relevant to the subject of the post. I also frequently post quotes on my Facebook group page: Long Term Traveling and Living Abroad Over the Age of 50. This page of quotes is from my blog and Facebook group page mostly. However, I have added a few extra of my favorite travel-related quotes.
- 7 Secret International Public Transportation TipsRead these seven secret international public transportation tips and save money and problems when taking public transportation abroad.
- 10 Taxi Travel Tips: A Guide to Safe and Trouble-Free Rides at Bargain PricesDiscover 10 tips to help you avoid being ripped off or worse (I was once kidnapped) while using taxis or tuk-tuks.
- Top 9 Train Travel Tips for a Comfortable JourneyTrains are my favorite ways to travel: relaxing, comfortable, and convenient. However, they can be problematic unless you follow these 8 train travel tips.
- Top 11 Subway Travel Tips: The Ultimate Guide to Trouble-Free Subway TravelI love traveling by subways whenever possible, They are much easier and more convenient than intracity buses. After being on twenty subway systems worldwide, I developed this list of 11 tips to help you use subways trouble-.free.
- 4 Car Rental Tips: How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off at the Car Rental CounterRenting a car is probably the travel decision most fraught with potential problems. Long-term travelers should ask themselves if a car rental is essential, and they should also watch out for car agency rip-offs and other issues.
- Top 13 Little-Known International Bus Travel TipsA basic primer on finding the best international bus travel options for travelers. Learn how to avoid costly mistakes and potential safety issues on busses.
- 15 Uber Travel Tips: A Guide to Best Safe, Budget, and Trouble-Free RidesThis post contains a list of 15 tips to make your Uber trips safe, convenient, and low-cost. It also explores how Ubers are different from traditional taxis.
- 8 Horrifying Lessons From An Express Kidnapping In MexicoIn January 2020, I was a victim of an express kidnapping in Puebla, Mexico. I discuss what happened to me and what I learned about travel safety from the incident.
- Ancillary Travel Fees: Why Are They Increasingly Becoming An Industry Lifeline?More and more the travel industry depends on the sale of other products to expand and maintain its profitability. Expect to be bombarded with hints to buy other things (ancillaries) on your next cruise, flight, etc.
- Why the Sharing Economy Has Become So Popular in the Travel Industry?The sharing economy like Uber and Airbnb has made a major influence on the travel industry and will continue to affect the industry far into the future.