Fast Travel is a method of travel in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It is a way of quickly "teleporting" to any previously discovered location. The travel takes place almost instantaneously in real-world time through a loading screen, but in game time will still pass by as if the Dragonborn had walked there. When using fast travel, the time elapsed may be longer than the time it would have taken to run to the destination, especially when the distance is short.
Fast Travel can be done via the world map or by using one of the carriages stationed near the main gate of many cities. Fast travel via world map is free, but can only be done to a location that has already been discovered. Travel via carriage is limited to major cities, regardless if they have been visited or not before, with a fee relative to distance and the size of the destination city (for example it costs more to travel from Whiterun to Dawnstar than from Windhelm to Solitude even though the distance between Windhelm and Solitude is greater). The Hearthfire DLC allows the Dragonborn to hire a carriage for their homestead, which will also go to smaller cities and towns (Darkwater Crossing, Dragon Bridge, Ivarstead, Karthwasten, Kynesgrove, Old Hroldan Inn, Riverwood, Rorikstead, Shor's Stone, and Stonehills).
With Dawnguard, fast travel can also be done between Castle Volkihar and the main island of Skyrim by boat. With Dragonborn, the initial trip to Solstheim must be by boat. (Conventional fast travel can be used later, between the docks at Windhelm and Raven Rock.)
The fast travel cannot be done while in any of the following conditions:
- While indoors
- While jumping
- While falling
- While mounting or dismounting a horse.
- While being too close to enemies
- While being pursued by enemies/Hold Guards
- While taking health damage (e.g. from poison)
- While overburdened on foot. This condition can be avoided by:
- Riding on horseback.
- Under the effect of a Fortify Carry Weight potion that is strong enough. There is no limit on fast travel distance while the potion is in effect. However, the effect of the potion immediately wears off after the arrival causing the Dragonborn to be overburdened again.
Fast travel time
Approximate time to travel between cities/towns wearing Light Armor, measured by in-game hours:
- The amount and type of armor worn affects how much time passes during fast travel.
- Fast traveling while on foot or on horseback takes the same amount of time. The only difference will be how the Dragonborn arrives: on foot next to the horse, or on horseback.
- Any positive or negative effects (such as from a disease) will still progress during fast travel.
- Neither the Dragonborn, their horse, or any companion will encounter any enemies during fast travel.
- Due to the respawning of enemies, dragons and creatures being scripted to happen when fast travelling; if fast travel is never used, after a certain time, encounters with them will reduce noticeably.
- Falkreath, causing all of the Hold Guards to spawn at the entrance to the city. When arriving at a location by fast travel, random creatures can spawn in front of the Dragonborn. For example, a non-hostile bandit might spawn every time they fast-travel, who can be talked to but will become hostile if attacked. A similar bug happens when fast-traveling to
- Windhelm or the College of Winterhold can trigger a sliding effect on arrival. Normally, this effect is not critical; however, it is possible to sometimes slide for a very long distance and fall from a cliff. Fast traveling with followers to northern cities like
- After waiting in a location for a long time (two or three weeks), or if multiple other characters have been played before returning to play as the affected character, fast traveling to a location might spawn enemies that have made into thralls (or raised as zombies) in the past. They will attack each other unless they are in the same faction. (Only bandits or spiders, for example).
- If fast travel is selected to any location and the back button is immediately pressed, the fast travel will not occur, the game will no longer be paused and the character menu will not be able to be opened. The pause menu can be opened, but saving the game will be the only option that functions, not loading an existing save. The "quit game" option is available, however, allowing a more time consuming reload of the game by saving and exiting the game. Reloading the game will fix this.
Fast traveling to certain locations will cause the game to freeze upon loading. This glitch is possibly due to the game being unable to render the location fast traveled to correctly. It also may have to do with the auto-save function while the area has loaded. Disabling auto-save before fast traveling is a possible remedy.
- Manually shut down the console, as any attempt to open the Xbox or PS3 menu will result in the loading circles on every option and they will never load.
- College of Winterhold may cause one to appear several feet above the bridge. Fast traveling on horseback to the
- Bend Will shout after dismounting an owned horse and then fast travels to a place (e.g. High Hrothgar), the horse may spawn in mid-air next to the dragon-riding Dragonborn and quickly fall off instead of spawning on the ground.
Rarely, if the Dragonborn rides a dragon using the
- Quickly Fast traveling to another place before the horse falls off may solve the problem.
- Sometimes, when attempting to fast travel, the game will say "You cannot fast travel while guards are pursuing you," even if guards are not pursuing the Dragonborn.
- Fast traveling from a snowy location can sometimes cause it to snow in areas that do not normally experience snowy weather conditions.
Sometimes when fast traveling water, the Dragonborn will arrive at the location but everything is seen under water while the player walks normally as if on land.
- Fast traveling to any location will fix this.
The fast traveling map may have different colored stripes all over.
- Exiting the game to the desktop restarting will fix this.