How the Amish get from here to there

Amtrak Train Passenger

  1. How do Amish get around?
  2. How do Amish travel long distances?
  3. Can Amish fly in airplanes?
  4. Why don’t Amish drive cars?
  5. What is an Amish taxi?
  6. Do Amish travel by train and bus?
  7. Do Amish stay in hotels?

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How do Amish get around? The horse-and-buggy is useful for longer trips, but when wanting to travel relatively short distances, hitching up may be more trouble than it’s worth. In these cases, Amish may use bicycles, kick scooters, rollerblades (more common with youth and children) and old-fashioned walking. Riding horseback is not common, though seen in some communities.

Pony-pulled carts are popular for short-distance travel and recreational riding. For longer distances, rides from English friends, neighbors, and co-workers, hired “Amish taxis”, buses and trains are the most common options. More on how Amish travel.

How do Amish travel long distances? Hiring a van and driver is a popular way to travel long distances in small groups. Amish also make use of coach and train services (Amtrak). A number of bus lines, such as Pioneer Trails, transport Amish to and from popular destinations including the Pinecraft settlement in Florida. The majority of Amish churches do not allow air travel, except in emergency situations.

Can Amish fly in airplanes? Generally, only New Order Amish churches permit travel by air. They comprise only a few percent of the total Amish population, however. The handful of Amish who travel to visit Europe each year go by sea. Amish will fly in emergency situations, such as in a helicopter Life Flight to a hospital for medical treatment.

Why don’t Amish drive cars? Amish feel that driving or owning a car would lead to families spending more time apart and would in turn weaken communities and the church. Car ownership makes visiting towns and cities easier and makes one less reliant on neighbors and community. Furthermore, the horse-and-buggy is an important symbol of the Amish separation from the world.

rollerblading-boy-lancaster-county

Rollerblades are popular in Lancaster County

Amish realize that car travel is a necessity at times, and thus most permit using hired drivers and riding with English (non-Amish) friends and neighbors. Amish youth in some cases do acquire licenses and vehicles for a period of time before joining the church.

What is an Amish taxi? The colloquial name for any vehicle driven by a hired non-Amish driver. Amish taxi drivers may provide their services on a full-time or part-time basis.

Drivers advertise their services on message boards, in community papers and newsletters, and by word of mouth. For a look at the experience from a driver’s perspective, read the story of Debbie the Amish taxi driver.

Do Amish ride in trains and buses? Yes. They are a common means of travel for Amish needing longer-distance transportation. Even the most conservative groups permit travel by train and bus when necessary.

When Amish travel, do they stay in hotels? Can they use electricity when away from home? Amish people do stay in hotels sometimes when traveling long distances from home or from family or friends in other Amish communities. Amish do use electric lights and other amenities when in a non-Amish setting.

More questions on the Amish? Get answers to 300+ questions in 41 categories at the FAQ main page.

References:

  • Scott, Stephen E. Plain Buggies: Amish, Mennonite, and Brethren Horse-drawn Transportation. Intercourse, Pa.: Good Books, 1998.
  • Kraybill, Donald B. The Riddle of Amish Culture. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.

To Cite this Page: Wesner, Erik J. “Travel.” Amish America. Erik Wesner, 8 Apr. 2015. Web. [Date Accessed]. < http://amishamerica.com/travel/>.

Image credits: Amtrak- kittymeetsgoat/flickr; boy on rollerblades- ShipshewanaIndiana