While the heroes of the Harry Potter universe can use their magic to travel in a variety of ways we can't, that doesn't mean they're always comfortable. Getting from one place to another, even with magic, can be a bit of a nightmare. Even magically-enhanced vehicles have flaws. While some forms of Harry Potter transportation are better than others, even their best is not much better than our real-life versions.
Consider this: Harry Potter broomsticks seem cool from the outside, but unless you've got a good grip, you'll go tumbling right off. Flying cars can crash. And Harry Potter apparition, while convenient, can also make you leave bits and pieces of your body behind, a horrific process called "splinching." Leaving half an eyebrow behind, as Ron did in his apparition test, might not be so bad - but a faulty spell could mean you leave half of yourself behind, killing you.
Sure, wizard desserts might be great and it would be awesome to have magical powers, but taking a closer look at the average ways that wizards get around leaves much to be desired. Unless you want to ride a rickety minecart into the bowels of a bank, scrabble for grip on the back of a hippogriff, or end up sick and lost thanks to an unfortunate Floo Powder incident, it might be best just to play it safe and take the bus - the regular bus, that is, not the Knight Bus.
How it feels: Harry has to travel to Diagon Alley via Floo Powder in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and it doesn't go well. According to Harry:
It felt as though he was being sucked down a giant drain. He seemed to be spinning very fast - the roaring in his ears was deafening - he tried to keep his eyes open but the whirl of green flames made him feel sick--something hard knocked his elbow and he tucked it in tightly, still spinning and spinning - how it felt as though cold hands were slapping his face - squinting through his glasses he saw a blurred stream of fireplaces and snatched glimpses of the rooms beyond--his bacon sandwiches were churning inside him - he closed his eyes again wishing it would stop, and then -
He fell, face forward, onto cold stone and felt the bridge of his glasses snap.
The Knight Bus
How it feels: Harry takes the Knight Bus in a moment of desperation in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. During the ride, Rowling writes:
Harry wouldn't have been able to sleep even if he had been traveling on a bus that didn't keep banging loudly and jumping a hundred miles at a time. His stomach churned as he fell back to wondering what was going to happen to him, and whether the Dursleys had managed to get Aunt Marge off the ceiling yet.
How it feels: Apparition is an incredibly useful skill, but it's also dangerous - Ron splinches himself multiple times, and even side-along apparition is quite unpleasant, as Harry discovers in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince:
Harry felt Dumbledore's arm twist away from him and re-doubled his grip: the next thing he knew everything went black; he was pressed very hard from all directions; he could not breathe, there were iron bands tightening around his chest; his eyeballs were being forced back into his head; his ear-drums were being pushed deeper into his skull.
How it feels: Portkeys play a huge role in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Harry's first trip feels pretty awful, as Rowling writes:
Harry felt as though a hook behind his navel had been suddenly jerked irresistibly forward. His feet left the ground; he could feel Ron and Hermione on either side of him, their shoulders banging into his; they were all speeding forward in a howl of wind and swirling color; his forefinger was stuck to the boot as though it was pulling him magnetically onward...