Considering a car-free lifestyle? Here are some tips to make this lifestyle easier for you.
- Use a secure back-pack or cross-body bag. Traveling with several small bags in your hands can be tiresome and straining. Your torso can carry excess weight easier than your hands. So, try packing all your small bags into one large back-pack or cross-body bag.
- Use public transportation. Most cities have a public transportation system–bus, train, street car or escalator. Some even allow bicycles to be stored on board. So, try combining your walking or bicycling with public transportation. This will get you to your destination faster.
- Be prepared for rain. It’s hard to predict when and where it is going to rain. So, always pack a raincoat and/or umbrella. If rain is in the forecast, bring along water-resistant boots too.
- Dress in layers. If you live in an unpredictable climate, predicting how the temperature will affect you is difficult. One solution: wear tees, cardigans, sweaters and jackets that can be removed and put on easy as the temperature rises or lowers.
- Pack accordingly. Pack a second outfit that won’t wrinkle, 1 to 2 small towels, a bottle of soap, and deodorant in a bag for sweaty days or semi-formal events. This way you can arrive at your destination without worrying if you smell, if your clothes are soiled, or if you look sweaty. Make sure to pack your clothing in a separate plastic bag for protection against rain, make-up and leaking bottles. Remember to plan extra time for changing and washing-up in a public restroom.
- Plan ahead. Before traveling to your destination, plan the streets and bus/train routes you will be taking. Find the most direct and safe route possible. Travel with a detailed map (paper, GPS, iphone, smartphone) just in case you get lost.
- Use a leg wallet or money belt. If you want to travel without any bags or are afraid of theft, strap a wallet to your leg, waist, or shoulder. You may also want to have a few dollars in another location like your pocket for quick retrieval. You never know when you are going to want a cup of coffee or an extra train ticket.
- Wear super comfortable shoes. Fashion is great when you are traveling in a car. However, if you are going to walk or cycle to your destination, it will be easier, faster, and healthier if you wear comfortable shoes. So, test your shoes before you leave your home. If fashionable shoes are a must, carry them in your back-pack. When you arrive at your destination, they will be there in your backpack waiting for you and thanking you because now you will be able to wear them without pain.
- Live where you frequent. You can save yourself money, time and effort by choosing to live near the places you visit regularly (ex. work, school, grocery store, laundromat, doctor’s office, gym).
- Invest in a folding shopping cart or rolling suitcase. Shopping is much easier if you own a carrier-on-wheels that you can walk with, lift in/off public transit, pull up stairs, and store in a closet. These carrier-on-wheels can also double for a laundry holder or book carrier. Remember to put fragile items and food on top (ex. banana, eggs, bread).
- Join a car-share program. Joining this sort of program gives you access to cars stationed around your city. You can reserve a car-ride 24/7 via your phone or the internet. Here’s a list of car sharing associations around the world: http://www.carsharing.net/where.html.
Going car free has many benefits. It means no more car insurance, weekly gas fill-ups, toll, yearly maintenance and registration costs. It is better for the environment. And it is a healthier choice for you — more exercise, more sunlight, and less financial stress.