Although many folk are tied to the land and seldom travel far from home, a surprising number of others crisscross the continent for years at a time for business and trade. The paramount travelers are merchants, peddlers, mercenaries, and drovers, all of them moving goods or services (their own) from one place to another.
Travel by ship on the many waterways is cheapest and safest. Hence the fact that most cities or Kingdoms have a sea-based city with a bustling harbor.
Most travel on the surface is by foot. The walking traveler often leads a pack mule or train of pack mules, tows a travois, or drags or pushes a small cart. She might ride in a wagon or cart, go alone by horseback, or travel afoot with whip or staff, guiding an oxcart.
Most of the roads are dusty tracks between cities and outposts, wide enough for one wagon and a horse passing in the opposite direction. Major trade routes connecting inner cities of a Kingdom are three or even four wagons across at the same time wide tracks of hard-packed dirt and grass over sunken cobblestones so that caravans escape the dust and mud plaguing smaller tracks. Paved roads are rare, but do grace the land between the largest cities of the lands.
Cities tend to have the best travel surfaces, streets of cobbles or gravel or hard-packed earth that turns to mud in wet weather. These tend to be choked with traffic and obstacles such as vendors’ stalls, wagons, and stacked goods at all hours, restricting the fastest movement to the walking traveler.
In a world abundantly supplied with brigands and predatory monsters, protecting caravans of wagons with mounted guards is almost a requirement. Caravans tend to be of two sorts: the closed or coster caravan (a highly disciplined group of employees working together, often in uniform) and the open or road caravan of mixed-owner wagons and other travelers, who pay a fee to a caravan master to travel under his or her protection. These can vary widely in size, fighting strength, and resources.
Almost every inn has mounts and beasts of burden that can be purchased by passing travelers. Many sell gear abandoned or left as payment by previous travelers as well. Caravan centers such as Gnomia can replace anything a traveler desires. So can almost all major seaports.
Successful caravan masters tend to be veteran guards who’ve survived the life for decade or more (though a few are veteran merchants), and both they and the mercenaries they hire have trade agents, usually called factors, in every settlement of trading worth in the areas in which they operate. Factors serve as spies, sources of information (about water sources, camping places, and perils), and local arrangers of storage, meetings with smiths, wheelwrights, alchemists and other useful crafters, and hiding places.