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How to Use Prepositions for Travel

Do you like to travel? I certainly do! But do you ever get confused about which preposition to use when talking about your travel plans? That’s okay! Prepositions are challenging in all languages. You basically need to memorize them to know how to use them correctly. Why is it that you travel ON a plane but IN a car? The answer is simple. There are simple rules! In this lesson, you will learn how to use prepositions for travel correctly 100% of the time. 

1. General Travel

In the case of general travel, we use the preposition BY. To get from one place to another you travel by car, by bus, by train…etc.

I am going to get to Toronto by train. 
I get to work by car. 

You also use by for the environment.

You travel by air, by sea, by land, by land…etc.
To get to Australia you need to travel by air.

2. The preposition ON

There is a very simple rule for using the preposition ON. You use ON when you are speaking about large methods of transportation. The rule is if you can get up and walk around inside the method of transportation then you should use the preposition on.

For example, you can stand up on a plane, but not in a taxi. Using this rule we travel, on a train, on a plane, on a subway, on a ship, on a bus, and on a boat.

I’m on my way, I just got on the bus. 
I am on the plane now. 

We also use on for transportation we sit or stand on.  For example, you travel on a horse and on a bike because you sit on a horse and on a bike. You also travel on skis or on a snowboard because you stand on these too.

3. The preposition IN

What is left are vehicles we cannot stand up in. There are only a few of these. You travel in a car, in a van, or in a helicopter. Most of the time it is impossible for you to stand up and walk around inside these methods of transportation.

4. Walking

When you speak about walking you use both the prepositions BY and ON. Remember how we use BY to get from one place to another. Well, since we are using our feet to get from point A to point B we use BY.

I will go by foot to the office.

You can also use the preposition ON. Do you remember the rule for the preposition on? If you can stand on the method of transportation then you can use the preposition on. Since we stand on our feet you can use this preposition.

It is best to go on foot, the parking is a nightmare.


And there you have it you’re now an expert in prepositions for travel!


In the case of general travel, we use the preposition BY.
If you can get up and walk around inside the method of transportation use the preposition ON.
If you cannot stand up and walk around inside the method of transportation use then preposition IN.
To describe walking you can use the preposition ON and BY.

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