A quick little experiment for you if you haven’t tried this before: Go to Google Maps and ask it for directions from San Francisco, CA to Beijing, China. Now, you wouldn’t imagine any other way than to hop on a plane, right? Instead, Google figures you’d like to drive, takes you to the beach and then, somewhere around step 32, advises you to make the 3,879 kayak trip across the Pacific Ocean. While the cross-Pacific directions are a perennial joke, they’re literally useless for travelers.
Rome2Rio, a site built on top of the much-loved Google maps interface, offers up directions by plane, train and automobile rather than telling you to hoof it to the beach and get to paddling.
Using the site is as simple as putting in a starting and ending point and clicking a button. From there, it will offer a medley of directions to get you from point A to B. It currently has flights from more than 670 airlines, trains in Europe, China and India and driving directions and ferries around the world.
The site is launching today and, while it offers a number of flights for each trip, it doesn’t appear to have a simple on-site booking functionality, which is a bit of a shame. Nonetheless, it quickly nails down the basic part of directions, letting you handle the rest from there. At least it isn’t telling you to take a kayak, right?
The most useful place for Rome2Rio, it would seem, will be where it has train schedules in addition to planes. Knowing the alternatives is always great when traveling and trains can be a great (and sometimes cheaper) alternative to zipping over the landmass in between two spots.
Founders Michael Cameron and Bernie Tschirren explain the site a bit more in the following video and Cameron told us that Amtrak and Greyhound itineraries are in the plans for the future. If you have itchy feet like me, I’d bookmark this site and keep it in mind for future travels.