A thread about car-sharing on the LFTO forum got me thinking about the various ways I travel to Scotland. It's six hundred miles from Sussex, and I have three options: the plane, the train, and the automobile. (There's also the coach, but a never-to-be-repeated 24h from Melbourne to Brisbane cured me of that mode of transport.)
The cheapest option (from £26 each way, or free with Airmiles!), and, on paper, the quickest (1.5) - but let's not forget all that mucking about at the airport. In addition, Gatwick is one of the most inhuman places on the planet, and when I last flew in after a week on the hills I felt like a rabbit in the headlights. In reality, it takes about 6.5 hours, and involves an appalling assault on the soul. Flying is not for me, even if the take-off is fun.
Following a 1976 ride on the Motorail (the most civilised form of transport ever invented), I developed a bit of a taste for overnight rail-travel. The Caledonian sleeper takes 7-9 hours from Euston, depending on which train I catch, and gets me to within a few miles of my destination by breakfast time. The hours travelling are spent being rocked in sleep, rather than staring at six lanes of traffic or a departures board. It's not the cheapest option (£60 for my last berth - though bargains are available); but it's my favourite.
The most expensive (£100, one way), but obviously the best in terms of door-to-door convenience. However, it is also the most irksome is some ways - including the fact that I pay two hundred quid, and have to drive the damn thing too. On the plus side, I get to breathe only my own germs, the kids have no rampaging opportunities, I can take any amount of stuff important equipment, and I already have transport when I'm there.
How do you get to where you want to be? Do you have options, or are you stuck with a single form of transport?