Times may be tough and money may be tight, but we’ve all still got places to go and things to do. Whether it’s traveling for work or just running those necessary errands, transportation costs can eat into anyone’s budget. Here are a few ways you can take the financial pain out of getting around.
Public Transportation. Maybe you’re already taking advantage of public transportation where you live — but if not, why not look into it? Consider buying a season pass for that train or bus ride you take to and from work each day. You can also sometimes save money by getting off public transit early and walking home for the last few blocks.
Don’t Warm Up. Are you taking an extra few minutes to let your car get warm and comfortable on winter mornings? It may not be worth it. An idling engine uses up fuel and is bad for the environment. Skip warming up and get on the road right away — as long as you can do so safely.
Track your Traffic. Smartphones and apps have made it easy to navigate traffic and find the fastest route home. Save on fuel costs and time by getting a read on traffic before you end up in the middle of it.
Carpool. Why does every article on saving money on travel costs include carpooling? Because it works! Carpooling lets you split fuel costs, helps the environment, and lets you use the coveted carpool lane. It’s win-win.
Travel Off-Season. You can’t always pick and choose when you travel (such as when you’re traveling for work). But when you can, choose to travel in the off-season. Chances are airfare, hotel fare, and everything else will be cheaper. If you know some locals and aren’t sure when the best “off-season” is, ask!
Eat Locally. As any well-traveled foodie will tell you, the touristy places are almost always the most expensive. When eating out in a new locale, seek out local restaurants and order what’s in season. You’ll spend less money — and probably have a better experience.
Share the Load. A great way to save money while traveling is to make use of the sharing economy. Forget expensive hotels and rental cars. Try staying at an AirBnB and getting around with Getaround.
Bring Your Own Food. While planes and trains might have rules about bringing liquids on board, there are often no such rules against food. If you anticipate spending the next few hours on a plane or in an airport, pack some snacks and avoid the temptation of food courts and ten dollar sandwiches.
Grab a Gas App. Your vehicle will always need fuel. You might as well get the best price. A good fuel app can help you find the cheapest gas near you and help you save a few bucks here and there.
Maintain Your Vehicle. Fuel isn’t the only vehicle-related expense you have to deal with. A well-maintained car will actually save you money in the long run. Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Stay on top of the oil changes. Compare your car insurance to the competition’s to see if you’re getting the best rate.
Slow Down. Do you know what else saves money? Not getting in an accident or earning a parking ticket. Safer driving means fewer maintenance costs, too — rapidly accelerating and slamming on the brakes can cause undue (and expensive) wear-and-tear on your car
Learn Simple Repairs. Another major source of expense is car repair. This isn’t to suggest you endanger yourself by attempting a major repair yourself with the help of a YouTube tutorial — but fixing that side mirror or replacing a broken brake light yourself instead of paying someone else to do it can be a
Other Ways to Save Money
Walk. Walking seems like the first low-effort thing people mention when you talk about saving money on transportation costs. But walking is actually a great way to cut costs, save money, and get some exercise. It’s even better if you can find a buddy or an app to help motivate you and even gamify your experience. If you live in a walkable city, you might even be able to make walking part of your routine and skip the gym membership.
Go Remote. One of the best ways to cut travel costs is just not to go anywhere! If your workplace offers a way to work remotely, look into doing your job from home a few days a week. If they don’t have a remote work program, see about starting or encouraging one .
Bike. A bike requires no fuel, costs relatively little to maintain, and can even save you money on auto insurance. You’ll also get some easy exercise and save a ton on parking. You might even look into a bike rental or sharing program in your city, and enjoy the benefits of a bicycle without having to buy one!