How to Save Money while travelling - Transportation

A major expenditure when travelling is that of transportation, which usually consumes a large portion of your travel funds. Below are some tips on how to reduce your transportation expenditures during your travels.

1.) Slow Down and Save Money

Depending on how much time dictates your schedule, you can often save money by downgrading your mode of transportation requirements. For example, f you need to fly somewhere, consider driving, taking a bus or perhaps a train.

Similarly, instead of driving a car,consider taking a bus or train. If you need to take a taxi, think if a public bus or metro will work instead. If making use of public transportation is your plan, see if you can reach your destination on foot instead. This last consideration is a good way to get a bit of exercise in as well. 

2.) Visit fewer places along the Way

TA member Riff_M (Bargain Travel forum post) makes good reference to the added transportation costs for trying to see too many different cities or total destinations when making a big trip somewhere.  Just think about the 10 day European vaction that takes in 4-5 cities spread out around the continent.  Well, you guessed it... traveling cross continent costs a lot of extra money.  

Instead focus your sightseeing efforts on fewer total number of places and visit these more comprehensively.  Alternatively, if you want to see different places, think about choosing those within close proximity to each other instead of those spread over greater distances (ie. New York City, Boston and Washington D.C. instead of NYC, Miami and Los Angeles). 

3.) Advance Bookings

Low Cost Carriers (LLCs) offer cheap airline tickets but these seats are usually sold on a first-come-first-serve basis. If you can book well in advance and be ready when promotional sales come up, you can save quite a lot of money on flights.

Long haul carriers, similarly, offer promotional fares from time to time. Best to sign up for the email notifications so you can be aware of these cheap fares when they come up. Just be ready to book when they discounted fares are available as they don't often last for long.

Train and bus transportation often come with opportunity to secure deeply discounted tickets if you can book well in advance. Further, an advantage over air travel, is that these discounts are much easier to predict and plan for compared to airfare discounts, due to the impossible nature of predicting if/when the cheap fares will occur

4.) Off-Peak Travel

If you can travel during the times of day, month or year that others are less willing, then you can usually save money on your transportation. For example, red-eye flights and overnight bus rides are usually much cheaper than similar daytime journeys. 

Travel during the midweek or away from public holidays, especially when it comes to flights can also be a good way to save. Additionally,travel during low season (winter) is usually cheaper than during high season (summer).

Further, in large cities with mass public transportation, can can often avail of special Off-Peak travel rates if you are willing to travel outside of high usage (traffic) times. These discounts can be found with inner-city metro systems, public buses as well as regional rail and bus routes.

5.) Fly into Neighbouring low-market Airports 

TA member RojBlake (Bargain Travel forum) suggests looking into flights to neighbouring airports and taking local transportation to your final destination.  This approach works well in Europe where flights to smaller neighbouring airports can be much cheaper than flying into the large major airports, especially if there is a intensive bus or rail network connecting the two locations.  

6.) Car Rentals from non-Airport locations

If you intend to rent a car, consider picking up from non-airport locations, which can save you money vs using the airport car rental agencies. This doesn't always work but there are times when it can be worth making your way into town to pick up a car hire compared to picking up directly from the airport (see link) 

6.) Free Hotel Shuttle Services

It is also worth checking hotel shuttle services. There are some that offer free airport pick-up and drop off saving you the price of a taxi ride to your hotel. 

7.) Travel Passes and Travel Cards

In many large cities, you can often take advantage of travel cards, passes and other schemes designed to help you save money by making use of public transportation (metro, bus and trams) networks. London has the Oyster Card and Weekly Travel Card, Paris has the Carte Orange and Hong Kong has the Octopus Card for example. Other cities have similar travel saver schemes. 

8.) Public Cycle Hire

Public cycle hire programmes that seems to be sweeping certain cities. This can be an affordable , environmentally friendly and healthy way to make your way around certain cities. See Barclays Cycle Hire in London for an example. 

These are just a few examples for how you can reduce transportation expenditures while traveling. There are many others as well, feel free to share your ideas on this thread.