Ditch Your Car: 10 Alternative Ways Of Getting Around
Folks living in wealthier countries often believe that owning a car is essential to a comfortable way of life. We, in less civilized parts of the world, know that that’s just not true. Yes, you need transportation. No, owning a car is not necessary.
How We Live Without A Car
1. Walking. We live live close to schools, shopping and work, so a car is largely unnecessary. Instead, we walk to most places. Groceries are bought home in a shopping cart we bought for that purpose.
Actionable Idea: Next time you move, consider finding a place convenient to where you do most of your errands.
2. Bicycle. My husband has been nagging me about purchasing a bike for years. The only reason I don’t agree is that our neighborhood is known for its poor drivers. If you live in a less accident prone area, why not give it a try?
Actionable Idea: Consider purchasing a bike. Besides saving money, they are a terrific form of exercise.
3. Buses. Usually, when I need to travel further than 1/2 mile, I go by bus. For about $1.00 US, I can get virtually anywhere. Many buses even have storage spaces for purchases. Most have child safety straps.
Actionable Idea: Plan your next errand day on the bus. Be sure to inquire ahead of time about schedules and location of bus stops.
4. Cab. Once in a blue moon, I take a cab. Most often it’s when I’m sick, going to someplace new, or the weather is unbearable. I figured out that even if I take 60 cabs a month (I don’t) it would still be cheaper than owning a car.
Actionable Idea: Try out the cab service are in your neighborhood. Determine the cost and reliability.
5. Train. For city-to-city travel I take the train. It’s convenient and extremely comfortable. I love having access to a bathroom and a food station.
Actionable Idea: Locate a schedule and map of nearby trains. Try the train out on a non-urgent trip.
6. Motorcycle. We have never owned a motorcycle, and I hope we never will. But for braver souls than I, a motorcycle makes cheap and convenient transportation for longer distances.
Actionable Idea: Look into the cost of motorcycle lessons, purchasing a motorcycle and insurance.
7. Ride Sharing. My husband’s boss gives him a ride to work most days. My husband has tried repeatedly to pay him, but he refuses money. Instead, he just asks that my husband engage him in conversation, rather than reading a book or using his laptop.
Actionable Idea: Ask a co-worker if he or she who would be willing to trade rides for gas money.
8. Mooching Favors. My brother-in-law’s sister used to always do her shopping on the same day as her car-owning parents. Her parents enjoyed the company and she got a ride back and forth to the store.
Actionable Idea: Speak to friends, relatives and neighbors. Offer to barter gas money, help carrying groceries, or help putting them away in exchange for a ride.
9. Renting A Car. Occasionally a friend of mine rents a car. They’ve used a rental car for vacations, moving and major shopping sprees. Rental cars seem to work well for them.
Actionable Idea: Find out how much car rentals are in your neighborhood. Make sure to ask if the price includes insurance and gas. Also find out when the car needs to be picked up and returned. Be cautious to avoid being ripped off.
10. Google Lists. I wouldn’t recommend this to everyone, but in a close-knit neighborhood, with active email lists, rides can frequently be found via the internet. I’ve never done this myself, but I know plenty of people who have. To be safe, only go with someone you already know or a friend of a friend.
Actionable Idea: Sign up for a local email list where subscribers can offer or request rides.
If anyone knows of another car-free methods of transportation, please send me an email or a comment. I’d love to hear about it.