Freighter travel is an alternative to the more traditional methods of traveling. You are essentially paying a cargo freighter to transport you as opposed to traveling by commercial airlines and cruise ships. The reason many people choose this method usually comes down to cost. It is usually cheaper to use freighter travel than most commercial methods.
It is not just be a case of phoning your local travel agent and booking passage on a freighter. Most freighter travel opportunities are by introduction or invitation only. There is really no need for a freighter to carry extra passengers alongside its business cargo. There are, however, some specialized agents that deal in freighter travel and there are a few Internet sites that have the details of these.
The alternative would be to become part of the freighter crew. Again there are a few enterprising agents and travel Internet sites that deal with this. Remember that freighter travel will limit you to countries that import and export goods. There are be some out-of-the-way countries that freighters will not go to. Freighter travel does not include the usual luxuries of a cruise ship. Swimming pools and restaurants are not usually included, although there should be a canteen. A passenger would have to be in charge of their own activities, unlike a cruise ship. The crew of the ship is usually happy about the extra company onboard long hauls. There will usually be a television area and most stock a good number of videotapes.
The maximum number of people that can be carried on a freighter is twelve. The reason for this number is that regulations state that for more than 12 people on board, there must be an onboard doctor. There are some cargo ships that are designed to carry passengers and these usually carry a doctor onboard.
The type of passenger found using freighter travel varies. Any form of travel that seems unusual will attract a variety of people. Because of the long-haul aspect of some freighter travel, it attracts a lot of artists and writers. They seem to love the solitude and use this form of travel in order to work uninterrupted. With some of the huge cargo ships it can feel as if you have the whole ship to yourself.
The cost of the freighter travel trip usually depends on the number of days of travel. You may pay by the day or there may be a fixed price for the whole trip. Booking around 3 to 12 months in advance is advisable. You will of course need the appropriate passport, visas and inoculations fir the particular country you are traveling to.