Purchasing a flight between two countries on opposite sides of the world is often easier than booking ground transportation between two local cities. Bookaway is a travel search engine that tries to help travelers fill in the gaps on the ground but has a few of its own blind spots to work out along the way.
Clarifying Ground Transportation
In short, Bookaway wants to be your search engine for bus, ferry, train, or car travel. Where it works, Bookaway is straightforward. For example, searching for transportation between Split and Hvar, Croatia, yields a number of high speed ferry options. Prices on Bookaway are competitive when compared with independent or using alternative services. Some routes offer a few option filters (e.g. air conditioning) you probably tend to ignore on most flight search engines.
Bookaway though tends to work best in certain regions, most notably southeast Asia, the Mediterranean, and Adriatic coasts. The gaps outside of these areas make finding a booking hit or miss, though one hopes Bookaway adds more destinations as the service expands.
Piecing It Together
The search function on Bookaway is also a little bit wonky – tending to guide you to where it wants, rather than accepting each letter of the search term. What I noticed though is using the suggestions that pop up can save you time since it’s really showing you what’s not available along with the destinations it serves.
A map or listing function would work great here, to help you visualize the routes possible. When you’re not too creative plus keep your route fairly local (for example Bangkok to Koh Samui, Thailand) you’re presented with a variety of ways to get to where you want to go. When gaps are present, a bit of guiding by Bookaway would go a long way to improving the user experience.
For Travelers With Cars In Tow
Despite its shortcomings, where Bookaway excels is car transportation. Specifically, if you’re traveling with a rented or your own car, the ferry options Bookaway returns notes boats and trains with car compartments. It’s a niche offering but a large one, particularly for road trips in southern Europe or southeast Asia.
Bookaway isn’t going to be your one stop search engine for all things not in the sky but if you’ve got 4 wheels with you, it can help bridge the gap between destinations. It’s a time-saver in these cases, since for now, a lot of the information blending ferry, train, and car bookings require precise, multiple online searches. Bookaway takes care of that for you while staying up-to-date. Provided Bookaway can fill in its own gaps, it might help you do just that for your particular itinerary as well.