Contributed by Info Guru Lindsay Shugerman
It seems like life in the U.S. and owning a car go hand in hand. Our cities and suburbs were constructed around the idea of car travel. And highways just keep growing. Is it really possible to live, shop and work without owning a truck, car or van of your own?
The answer is yes. More and more people, especially those under age 30 are discovering that life can go on without the hassle and expensive of auto ownership. If it seems impossible to you, here are ten ways to live without a car, and some creative ways many people are choosing to get around.
10. Move to a city with good mass transit
Whenever I spend time in Washington, D.C, New York City or Boston, I get the urge to get rid of my car and just use public transportation. It’s so nice to sit back with a book or listen to music on my phone instead of fighting traffic and dodging accidents.
If you’re serious about looking for ways to live without a car and still get to work, the store or that awesome restaurant downtown, consider moving to a city with a solid mass transit system in place.
9. Get a golf cart
Right now, I live in the ‘burbs with the schools, a couple of markets and a Starbucks within a mile or two. My neighbors could take their cars to run the kids to school or grab a latte, but they’ve come up with a different solution. They own golfcarts! I’m not sure if they use them on the course, but I know for a fact that those little vehicles get a lot of road time making quick trips to the store or taking the kids over for a playdate.
8. Walk where you need to go
Walking whenever possible is my first choice for my daily errands. I walk to the park, walk to a friend’s house, and walk to local events. And when I take the train downtown, I walk wherever else I want to go in the area. All I really needed was a good pair of walking shoes or sneakers and a willingness to allow a little more time to get from point A to point B.
7. Rent a car when you need it
Even if you can use public transportation or walk to most places you need to go, there may be a few times a year when you need a car. That’s when those rental car companies who will pick you up come in handy. Just call them up, and they come to your house. For me, $30-40 rental per day added up to less than the cost of one month’s car payments in a year. And I didn’t have to worry about car repairs!
6. Work from home
Most of the driving we do is to get to and from work. But if you can find a work-from-home job, you can eliminate the dreaded commute…and the need to own a car in order to earn a living.
Even if you don’t own a car, you might still be able to car pool. Many car pools allow people without cars to participate by paying a bit more for gas and tolls. Some areas have car pool message boards to help you find the right ride situation.
4. Get a bike
Where I live, many people use their road or city bikes to get to and from work, to the store and even to head out to a favorite restaurant. Do invest in a good set of panniers for your bike. They’re priceless when you need to carry work clothes, papers or groceries.
3. Learn how to skateboard
Skateboarding is a good way to get from point A to point B when it would take too long to walk. If you’re new to skateboards, look for a longer and wider board for stability. You can combine mass transit with skateboarding to cover distances even faster…ride where you can and use your skateboard for the rest!
2. Move to a planned community
All over the country, planned communities are popping up. These multi-function development combine single family homes, apartments, office space and businesses like coffee shops, markets and doctors’ offices. If you select the right one, you might never miss that car!
1. Get really good at bumming rides
If all else fails and you’re still forced to look for ways to live without a car, you can always resort to asking friends and family members to take you along when they head downtown, to the store or wherever you need to go. DO offer to pay for gas. And if you can, pay them back in other ways like with a home-cooked supper or some warm cookies from your oven.
Living without a car might seem impossible in today’s society. But with some planning and creative brainstorming, you just might come to love your car-free life.