The first several hours of Red Dead Redemption 2 can feel like a slog. You’re always trotting back and forth across the map, from your camp to one town to another, on a horse that’s never quite fast enough. Neither the Pinkertons nor the O’Driscolls are Arthur Morgan’s greatest nemesis—it’s the will-sapping weight of the open road. As Paul Westerberg sang, times ain’t tough, they’re tedious.
If you can stick it out, though, you’ll eventually unlock fast travel. It might take too long to get there, and it might be so limited that it almost feels like the game’s trolling you, but yes, fast travel does technically exist in Red Dead Redemption 2. Here’s what you have to do to make it possible.
Fast travel becomes available once you upgrade Arthur’s tent at the outlaw camp at Horseshoe Overlook. To do that you need to have access to the camp’s ledger, which isn’t available until after you complete the first five missions in Chapter 2. At that point you can go on your first mission for Leopold Strauss, the camp’s doctor and a predatory money lender to anybody in need. After finishing that mission, which is called Money Lending and Other Sins and requires you to ride out to various spots throughout the map to collect debts, you’ll be able to use the ledger, which appears next to Dutch’s tent. With the ledger you can keep track of money and items donated to the camp fund, and also use that money (as well as your own) to refill camp supplies or buy various upgrades.
You have to purchase two specific upgrades to unlock fast travel. The first is listed in the ledger as First Things First; it spruces up Dutch’s tent, and costs $220. After that you can then fix up Arthur’s tent by paying $325 for the Next in Line upgrade.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to find a map pinned to the other side of the ammo wagon next to Arthur’s tent. If you take a look at that map a menu will open that lets you fast travel to any town or settlement that you’ve already visited. You’ll be just a loading screen away from your destination.
There’s a pretty big catch here, though: it’s always a one-way ticket. Although you can fast travel from your camp, you can’t fast travel back to your camp. You’ll have to bear down on the trail and beat that out in real-time as you had been doing all game.
There are other options to help out with travel, but they’re not ideal. You can buy a train ticket to get from one town to another, but that costs money and is exclusively between towns. You can also use the game’s cinematic camera for an auto-run feature; you won’t have to constantly jab or hold down a button to make your horse move, but you won’t save any time. Also that doesn’t work during a mission, or when you’re riding and talking with any of your camp mates, so it’s not a great solution.
So that’s what fast travel boils down to in Red Dead Redemption 2: it takes hours to get to the point where you can pay for it, requires a fairly large amount of money to unlock, and once you have it isn’t even that useful. You’ll be glad you have it, though, even if it’s frustrating in how limited it is.