I don't have a lot of MMO experience so could you humor me by explaining a few travel possibilities. The only method I've seen that isn't a time sink in both RPG's and MMORPG's are teleport or warp spells/items. I really liked the airships in FFXI, but as Jeuno became a ghost town and teleporting options increased, airships weren't needed any longer. The Astral candy teleports were a great way of getting around the ToAU regions. It appears that a crystal teleporting method will shuttle us around the region. I remember reading an interview where SE said our lovable Chocobo friends won't be a mode of transportation either. So I'm at a loss of words, any ideas?
Personal mounts are very common these days. They're a convenience that players love and they can represent a very reasonable and effective currency sink, since players are frequently willing to pay a relatively substantial amount of in-game currency for the privilege. If designed to accommodate it from the beginning, flying mounts are also an extremely fun and effective way of getting around in outdoor areas (and there's basis for it in the FF series). Player spells to summon or warp players are a huge boon for groups of all sizes (imagine how many hours of thumb twiddling it would have saved in FFXI if shells had been able to summon people to Sky, Sea, or Xarcabard for various different events (assuming players met the criteria where applicable to enter those areas, of course)). Accessible options to return home that don't come at a price are also extremely common. Options to travel from one place you have previously visited to another place you have previously visited with a minimum of hassle (though not necessarily instantly) are also well received across the board.
FFXI incorporated a lot of those options but in a way that could have been more effective from a convenience standpoint. Location of outpost warp NPCs in cities was frequently out of the way and while not necessarily a hassle to get to, they could have been located better. BLM Warp II was fine...just a shame that you had to pay for the quick trip home in the absence of a BLM. WHM teleports, assuming you had a WHM or /WHM to offer them, were okay but usually still left you with a chocobo ride at your destination in order to finish the trip. I stopped playing FFXI shortly after chocobo raising was introduced but my understanding of them as a personal mount was that the option was restricted...some would say unnecessarily...and that those restrictions didn't really preserve any quality aspects of the game.
It's not necessary to have instant travel to wherever you want to go whenever you want to be there, but at some point travel becomes less about exploration and more about tedium for a lot of players. The larger and more expansive the game world is, the more developers have to look at how players are going to navigate that world. Again it comes down to the point of view of both the new player and the veteran.