No matter where you're going or how long it takes to get there, it's not as hard as it sounds to do a road trip without a car. If you plan ahead, do your research and are prepared for a little physical exercise, you just might find that this type of road trip is even better than driving.
Traveling by bus or coach is another great use of public transport if you’re looking for ways to road trip without a car, particularly if you’re keen to stick to a budget. Buses are often the cheapest way to travel in any country, with some unbelievably low fares available if you’re organized and book in advance. This applies internationally too, so you could even take the bus from home rather than fly if it’s doable, saving even more money. Many buses nowadays have added perks such as free Wi-Fi, charging ports, air-conditioning, and sometimes screens for you to enjoy movies and music as you travel. Bus services also tend to be really generous with their luggage allowance, often letting each passenger bring a large suitcase plus a smaller bag regardless of weight.
Taking the train is probably the most common and popular alternative to driving and can be a great way to enjoy a multi-stop trip that doesn’t require a car. Most countries, particularly those in Europe, have really well-connected rail links that are relatively inexpensive, making it easy to plan a full road trip itinerary that relies completely on the railway. One of the biggest pros of train travel is that it’s often far more relaxing than driving – all you have to do is book a seat, turn up, and catch the right train. By eliminating the need to drive you’re also upping the quality time you can spend with your travel companions to play some road trip games, as well as freeing up a precious few hour to get deep into your new book and make the most of the stunning views outside.
Finding someone to ride-share with is definitely the best option if you want that classic car road trip feeling minus the driving. This form of glorified hitchhiking is completely legit, safe, and comfortable if you know which tools to use. Many companies and apps offering ride-share services let you view drivers’ profiles and choose who you want to travel with based on their rating and previous passengers’ experiences. This form of travel is really affordable as you just contribute towards fuel and it also has the added benefit of being better for the environment than a plain old road trip. By sharing a ride, you’re simply filling a seat in someone’s car who’d be driving that route anyway, avoiding the need to put another car on the road unnecessarily – which is always a good thing.
The most active and adventurous way to road trip without a car is by cycling between your stop-offs – an amazing way to make the most of a place and really appreciate your surroundings. Choosing a bike over a vehicle will allow you to go well off the beaten track where cars can’t venture, including country paths, mountain tracks, and thick forests, giving you a completely different perspective than the one you’d get from being on the other side of a car window. The good news is that e-bikes, which give you an electronic boost to make cycling a little easier, are also zero-emission. That means that even if you’re not a confident cyclist, you should give this form of road trip a go – you don’t have to be super fit.
Okay, so technically by relocating someone else’s vehicle, you’re still traveling via a car, but talk about a travel hack; this is one way to explore the country without needing a car of your own. When a rental company needs to move an RV — or car, truck, or camper van for that matter — from one office to another, you can capitalize on a road trip. It’s a unique, affordable, and adventurous way to get from Point A to Point B, and there are some major players you should know about. If you’re at least 23 years old and have clean driving record, Auto Driveaway can connect you with cars that need to be relocated. The first tank of gas is free, and you can bring friends. Trips range from a couple cities away to true coast-to-coast long hauls.
Hitchhiking is nothing new. It’s not the most reliable way to travel, of course. You never know how long you’ll be standing at the side of the road. However, if luck is on your side you can travel without a car and not spend a cent. Safety is always something to consider. But, if you use your instincts and refuse rides when you don’t feel comfortable, you’re likely to be okay. Older people are more likely to pick you up as they used to hitchhike and nostalgically wanted to pay it forward. Also, younger types who are quite laid back and enjoy the company on their journey. Always check local law to find out if you are allowed to hitch hike.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way. If you’re planning a cross-country trip, post about it on social media. Ask friends about their connections in your destination cities and seek out recommendations for local hot spots. Not only will you make new friends and discover some cool places, but you’ll probably stumble across connections who are willing to help you travel around the city or state. Don’t be afraid to ask for a ride, especially from your accommodations. If you’re staying at a hotel or bed and breakfast, they may be willing to bring you to your bus station or a nearby town. Even if the hotel doesn’t advertise transportation, especially during off-hours when hotels aren’t packed with visitors. Even in the digital age, people are still willing to help travelers out.
Although this can vary depending on how far in advance you book and what day or week you fly, you may be surprised to know that flying is often both the cheapest and quickest option. If you book far enough in advance and are flexible, you can get some really great deals. However, depending on seasonality, flights can skyrocket to the thousands, so keep this in mind. Of course, you don’t get the views or experience of hitting the road in a bus, car or train, but if both cost and time is your priority, consider taking a plane.
When planning your travel in the United States, there’s plenty to consider. As a first-time visitor you’ll probably be tempted to see the major sights – New York City, Miami, Las Vegas, but if low hotel rates, affordable food, and free attractions are what you’re after, then you’ll have to look somewhere else. For instance, lesser-known American cities such as Savannah, Charleston, or San Antonio offer excellent sightseeing at a fraction of the price, plus rich history, inexpensive entertainment options, and lots of local charm. Memphis and Nashville are both excellent destinations if you want to learn about America’s fantastic musical history and indulge in traditional Southern cuisine, while Washington, DC has some of the best free attractions in the entire country.