There’s no shortage of ways to find flights online, but what if you’re traveling somewhere that’s best reached by train? Or ferry? Well, there’s a new travel search engine launching today called Rome2Rio that aims to get travelers anywhere by any means of transportation.
The site was created by a two-person team of former Microsoft employees, Michael Cameron and Bernard Tschirren. They noted that a lot of the information they want to feature on the site is already available in travel books, which may instruct readers to fly into a specific airport and take a specific train to reach a remote location. With Rome2Rio, Cameron and Tschirren want to make those kind of tips available online for free in a way that helps travelers compare different options.
To do that, Rome2Rio includes flight data from 670 airlines; train information in Europe, India, and China; driving directions; and ferry information. The data is drawn from a number of different sources (for example, the flights come from an international flight registry; the driving directions come from Google Maps), but from what I’ve seen, the experience is pretty seamless. You just type in the places you’re traveling to and from, then Rome2Rio will show multiple routes and how long they’ll take. Once you’ve added a travel date, it will also plug in air fares from travel deal site Kayak, and you can go to Kayak to purchase your tickets directly.
While the site will try to give you a route to any destination you want, the team suggested that the real sweet spot is Europe, where knowing about trains and alternate modes of transport can sometimes save hours of travel time and hundreds or even thousands of dollars. They want to build out the site by adding more data sources as well as new features like a “get me out of here!” option, or an app that lets users re-plan a trip on-the-fly when their flight has been canceled due to weather, disasters, or any other reason.
The company is based in Melbourne, Australia and is self-funded for now, but Cameron and Tschirren said they’re preparing to raise their first round of funding.
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