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When you look at a place with fresh eyes, even the mundane becomes extraordinary. Everyday modes of transportation become Instagram-worthy when tourists ride them. Here are five cities where the public transport deserves its own spot on your itinerary.

New York, New YorkIn the city that never sleeps, every hour is rush hour. The Big Apple’s subway system is one of the fastest, and cheapest, ways to get around — so much so that even some politicians and celebs join the huddled masses on the train. New York’s subways have inspired music from Duke Ellington’s legendary Take the A Train to J.Lo’s album On the 6, and they provide riders with endless entertainment — from people-watching to struggling musicians looking to make a buck.

On New York's subway platforms, the musicians almost make up for that questionable smell. Almost. Photo by David Shankbone/Wikipedia.

On New York’s subway platforms, the musicians almost make up for that questionable smell. Almost. Photo by David Shankbone/Wikipedia.

 

London, England: In the United States, nothing screams “tourist!” like riding a double-decker bus. But across the pond, these two-story vehicles are models of efficiency, carrying everyday commuters to work, school and home. Americans who wouldn’t be caught dead on a bus in the States gladly board these iconic red buses for a photo op.

Afraid of looking like a tourist if you ride a double-decker bus? No worries, mate. Photo by John Clouston/Flickr Creative Commons.

Afraid of looking like a tourist if you ride a double-decker bus? No worries, mate. Photo by John Clouston/Flickr Creative Commons.

La Paz, BoliviaLike other places in South American — including Medellín, Colombia; Caracas, Venezuela; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — Bolivia sought to relieve traffic congestion by turning to a higher power, literally: Gondolas. The first line of electric gondolas went up in May, connecting La Paz to El Alto, and it’s already a hit with both commuters searching for a quiet, stress-free ride, and tourists awaiting the breathtaking view from the top.

It's not a ski resort. This is one way to get around in Bolivia. Photo by TheGamerJediPro/Wikipedia.

It’s not a ski resort. This is one way to get around in Bolivia. Photo by TheGamerJediPro/Wikipedia.

 

Bali, IndonesiaCountless soul-searchers have recreated the itinerary outlined in Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir-turned-movie Eat Pray Love, which (spoiler alert!) culminates with the author meeting her future husband in Bali. Whether or not you find your soulmate, you’re sure to fall in love with Bali’s tropical landscape and long to explore the rest of the country. An easy way to start is to take the public ferry from Bali to the nearby island paradise of Lombok. The journey takes four of five hours, but the schedule often runs on island time — so sit back and enjoy the ride.

Eat, pray, love... and then ride. Photo by Frank Douwes/Flickr Creative Commons.

Eat, pray, love… and then ride. Photo by Frank Douwes/Flickr CreativeCommons.

San Francisco, CaliforniaForget Rice-A-Roni. Cable cars are the real San Francisco treat. The tradition dates back to the mid-19th century, and these cars are still one of the most affordable ways to get around the city. As the car winds its way through San Francisco’s steep streets with the help of underground cables, take in views of colorfully dressed denizens, blue bay water and Victorian-style homes (Cue the Full House theme music.)

Cable cars: The real San Francisco treat. Photo by Kārlis Dambrāns/Flickr Creative Commons.

Cable cars: The real San Francisco treat. Photo by Kārlis Dambrāns/Flickr Creative Commons.

CTIXblog CTA _ cheap of the week

Tagged: California, International, New York City

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