How to Save Money on Transport Costs

Ditching your car in favour of using public transport more often is great for the environment and by not having your car on the road as much, you can do your bit for the planet. As well as being more green, it can also be good for your wallet too. Here’s how to save money on getting around.

Saving on Train Tickets

Many people are reluctant to travel by train because of the high ticket prices but there are ways to cut the costs:

Time your ticket purchase right. You can make good savings by booking tickets early but there may also be savings available on last minute buys. The latter can be much cheaper than buying at the station on the day so if you were going to buy your ticket this way, it’s worth checking the evening before to see if you can save.

Travel overnight. If you’re going to need to stay overnight as part of your trip, you can save money by travelling through the night on a sleeper train. Because these journeys are during off-peak times, they can be a lot cheaper and as an added bonus, you can sleep on the train and avoid the need for accommodation expenses.

Returns aren’t always better. It’s logical to assume that buying a return ticket will always be cheaper than two singles but this isn’t always the case. Many good deals are only available on one-way trips so it can be more beneficial to opt for two single tickets to maximize the potential savings. Before you book a return, check to see whether it will actually cost less to get two singles instead.

Split up your journey. It can be a lot cheaper to buy tickets covering separate legs of your journey compared to one return or two singles. For example, if the train doesn’t go straight from A to B but instead stops at X along the way, it can be more cost effective to get tickets for A-X and X-B (rather than the most common tactic of buying a ticket for A-B) and for the return, B-X and X-A (rather than B-A). It may not be the obvious way to book tickets and it does take a bit more effort to check the prices for each of these ticket options to make sure that they are a) available and b) cheaper than buying a through ticket but it can get you a much better deal.

On longer journeys, if even part of your journey is in peak time, a return ticket will often cost peak prices. Splitting tickets means that if only one leg of your journey falls is at peak time, you won’t be charged peak prices for the trip as a whole – just for the leg(s) that is at peak time.

Buy a season ticket. If you’re travelling by train most days, you can save with a season ticket. These can be quite expensive as they usually cost the equivalent of around 40 weeks of travel (on season ticket prices) but you’re essentially getting 12 weeks worth free.

Using the Car Less

Beyond using public transport more, you can also save money and be more green by cutting down on how much you use your car:

Don’t use the car for short trips. It’s not fuel efficient to use the car for short trips and you’re be using more fuel than you need to on these kind of journeys. If you can walk, do so.

Join a carpool. By agreeing to share lifts with someone who is heading to the same place as you, you can cut your petrol costs (and parking costs if this is also a factor) for the days that you won’t be doing the driving.

Combine activities to make less trips. If you’ve got an appointment or meeting one day, decide if it’s feasible to do your shopping while you’re already out and about so that you’re making one less trip.

Walk or cycle instead. These can work out cheaper than both driving and using public transport and are much healthier options too. If you don’t live too far from your destination and you won’t be lugging heavy bags around, try getting into the habit of walking or cycling instead.

So, how have you been able to save on transport costs? I would love to hear your ideas.


How to Save Money on Transport Costs — 34 Comments

  1. This is one issue where conveinence often cross-sections with pragmatism. Still, you ofter some great tips on saving money in an eco-friendly way regardless. Personally, I do have to check the prices of single trips more. I would love to find more deals by breaking up my trips.

  2. My new teaching assignment is have the distance, but I still use as much gas because it is all surface streets. I have cut down on some of the extra driving, but still have to fill up every two weeks.

  3. I bike to work every day, and it’s been a huge savings over owning a car and driving instead. Plus I find it a lot more enjoyable and less stressful.

    When traveling by train I look for promo codes for Amtrak which have saved me a few bucks here and there.

  4. I’m a big fan of using cars less and bikes more. I have determined that it’s possible to commute by bicycle to any part of Virginina Beach from my home on bicycle, weather permitting.

  5. Well living in Manchester sometimes the rain gets the better of you. In the UK where train travel is really expensive (well over $1 a mile), the split journeys are commonplace – most websites offer them I think. And the pokey small trains are a pain too! Oh for the Continental European idea of charging by the mile (kilometre).

    But the question that needs to be asked is – do you really need a car at all? Or do you just need one not two? Sometimes I think we only have a car (5000 miles a year) for our son. As we live on a frequent bus route and generally work at home, a car is really not necessary. But I don’t suppose we will get rid of it because when the chips are down, they are very useful!

    • Glad to hear you are taking advantage of the split journey rates. As far as whether you need to own a car really depends on the family. If you can walk to anywhere you need to go then I would say no. But if you have to commute to kids sports games and to work then you will need at least some of kind of wheels. I wish we could live in a world with no cars but it seems that things are so spread out now that this wouldn’t be possible. We try to carpool to cut down on gas as we can and then we try to walk the rest of the time.

  6. A few days back, my boyfriend and I decided to walk to the store instead of driving. It was good for the environment and also for us to get some fresh air and exercise 😉 Great tips about train and airplane tickets.

  7. I would love to take a sleeper train somewhere. I fall asleep on trains pretty much immediately anyway, so having that be my accommodations too would be a bonus.

  8. I now drive my car mostly on the weekends only, which really helps to save a lot of money, time, and reduces stress during the work week. I am only able to do this cause I live close to downtown, though.

    • That is awesome. Good for you. Living central sure has it’s perks. We also live central and this is something we take advantage of. We try to walk to as many places as we can. I used to be able to walk to work too until my office got moved. Now I have to go through the ghetto which my husband is not so keen on. Next year, I am going to get organized and ride my bike to work. I really miss the bonus fresh air, not to mention the money savings.

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