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How to Save Money on Transportation Costs While Traveling

Travelers Today       By    Staff Reporter

Updated: Jun 04, 2019 10:56 AM EDT

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(Photo: Tobias Bjørkli)

As a traveler, your ultimate goal is to stretch your vacation money so that you may enjoy as many activities as possible without temporarily bankrupting yourself. After all, no one wants to overspend on transportation and miss out on visiting a certain attraction as a result.

Since transportation is a department where you can cut on costs if you have the know-how, it is the focus of this piece, and we recommend you follow the advice given as closely as possible to enjoy the most out of your traveling adventures.

1. Book close to main attractions

Regardless of your travel destination and how spread out most important attractions in that specific area are, you are bound to find a hotel that has a relatively central location.

By booking in this brilliant manner you won't be too far away from any of the places you want to visit, thus cutting on costs involved with reaching target locations. Obviously, it is impossible to be close to all attractions and sights you want to visit, but at least by booking smart you are as close as possible to most destinations that interest you.

Tip: If certain attractions are absurdly far away from you, ponder whether or not the trip is worth the financial effort. We don't recommend you miss out on any touristic destination when you are on vacation, especially if you travel to a foreign country as you might not come back there anytime soon. However, we do advise you balance how much you want to see certain attractions as you won't only save money, but you will end up saving time that you can spend doing other fun activities as well.

2. Take public transportation

Public transportation is considerably cheaper than taking a cab or renting a car, regardless of the country we are talking about. Thus, one of your best strategies to save money as you travel is to rely on public transport, whether it is the bus, subway, trolley, or train as much as possible.

  • Tip: Understanding the routes can be a bit difficult, especially if you don't know the language of your destination. In case you have difficulties, take a bit of time and ask locals about stops and schedules so that you don't accidentally lose yourself or take the wrong ride.

  • Fun fact: In the small country of Luxembourg, all forms of public transport will be free from March 2020, a move that greatly benefits residents, commuters, and evidently, tourists. This initiative intends to solve the traffic issue in the country and prevent inevitable air pollution issues caused by heavy traffic down the road.

3. Take up alternate transport means

What we refer to by alternate transport means are e bikes, electric scooters, tuk-tuks, and whatever other form of transport is available in the destination you visit. Costs are as low as they can get with the alternate commute solutions, and there are other benefits involved with opting for them in addition to saving money.

In major cities you can even find electric scooter rental services that allow you to locate and unlock scooters with an app and, once you reach your destination, simply leave the scooter there for some other user to ride it from that point on. It usually costs about $2 per ride, so you can see why it is an advantageous alternative to taking the cab, for example, not to mention the fact that you participate in reducing carbon emissions by choosing electric scooter. As the transport means is not a new release and its popularity is on a constant upraise, it has seen major improvements in departments that were once problematic. Now, climbing hills with the electric scooter isn't an issue as the powerful motor makes it possible to tackle any type of terrain, people in cities all over the world making it their preferred method when commuting.

In most European countries, you can even rent and ride bikes as it is common for people to commute in this manner. Take Amsterdam and Copenhagen as an example, major European cities where cycling is a vastly popular mode of transportation.

It would be a shame to visit these locations and overspend on a cab rather than ride a bike, save money, and get to enjoy the view a lot better than you would from the backseat of a fast moving car. With the rise in popularity of electric bikes in the past years, rental services are bound to multiply even further and spread out in more areas of the world.

The rental principle would be the same as it is with scooters, and the electric bike, as opposed to its classic counterpart, provides benefits in the speed and physical effort department, which is bound to make it a more appealing choice for tourists who want to save their time and energy on activities rather than commuting.

4. Ride share

In major cities, you have the possibility to opt for ridesharing or carpooling services, and if the destination you visit offers these services, you should take advantage of them.

Depending on the situation at hand, you can save a pretty sum on the ride fare by sharing with another person.

There's the added benefit of chatting as, regardless if you ride share with a local or a tourist, you never know what interesting info you can learn in regards to activities, what to visit, and so on.

Fact: It's no coincidence that big cities where air pollution levels tend to be high offer ride sharing as efforts go towards creating a safe habitat for all forms of life everywhere on the planet. As a tourist, you should help as much as you can when it comes to reducing pollution in your travel destination as, although air purification technologies are in constant evolution and development and officials in problematic areas try to solve the pressing issues, efforts are futile without the active implication of people.

5. Research taxi rates

While buses, trains, subways, and all other forms of public transport are constant when it comes to ticket prices, the same cannot be said about taxi fares as these can considerably differ from one company to another.

When traveling, no matter how much you try to avoid taking the cab, at one point you might not have another option. If taking the taxi becomes inevitable at any point, be smart and check and compare taxi rates before you hop inside a cab to not overspend foolishly.

Tip: When possible, check online to get an estimate of the ride price from your current location to the destination you want to reach. You should also discuss the rate with the cab driver beforehand and get an estimate upfront.

6. Walk as much as possible

Walking is the ultimate manner to save on transport costs when you travel as it is 100% free, and it offers a perk that almost no other means can - enjoying sceneries in great detail and at your own pace.

Many city destinations are easy to navigate on foot, and if your hotel is relatively close to attractions, we recommend you walk to as many of them as possible.

Who knows, you might stumble upon interesting shops, pubs, and other locations along the way, destinations that you might not have otherwise known about as they don't appear in top Google searches for the area you are in.

Tip: While your smartphone is the most reliable tool when it comes to directions, it can run out of battery when you need help the most. Thus, it's smart to carry an up-to-date map with you to stay on path. Don't shy from asking locals for directions either when you feel uncertain about the direction you are on. 

See Now: The U.S. had the highest number of Most Wanted properties, dominating the Hotels.com Loved By Guests Awards 2018

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