Between getting to and from campus, running errands, and maybe even taking a weekend road trip or two, it can feel like you’re constantly reaching for your wallet. But the good news is, you don’t have to break the bank to get around. In this post, we’re going to share some super smart and practical tips for cutting down on transportation expenses during your college years.
One of the easiest and most affordable ways to get around during college is by using public transportation. Here are a few tips for making the most of the buses, trains, and subways in your area:
Invest in a student transit pass
Many college towns offer discounted or even free transit passes for students. These passes can be a great way to save money on transportation costs over the course of a semester or academic year. Plus, you’ll have the freedom to hop on and off the bus or train as needed, which can be a lifesaver when you’re running late to class or trying to make it to that all-important study group. To find out if your college town has a student transit pass program, check the school’s website or reach out to the campus transportation or student services office.
Take advantage of shuttle services
Many colleges and universities offer shuttle services for students. These can be a great way to get around campus and to nearby locations, such as off-campus housing or shopping centers. They’re often free or low-cost, and they can save you a ton of time and hassle by bypassing traffic and parking headaches. Same as for the transit pass, you can find out if your school offers shuttle services by checking the school’s website or visiting the student services office.
Carpool with friends
Coordinate with friends or classmates who have cars to share rides and split the cost of gas. This can be a great way to save money and make new friends at the same time! You can also schedule rides in advance for when you know you’ll be needing it. Even better, this can also be a great way to save the environment by reducing emissions from personal vehicles. This will also be a way to relieve stress from finding parking spot.
While public transportation is a great option for getting around, sometimes you need the flexibility and convenience of your own set of wheels. Here are a few tips for making the most of personal transportation during college:
Walking or biking
Walking or biking to campus and around town can be a great way to save money, stay healthy, and reduce your carbon footprint. Plus, you’ll avoid the stress of finding parking or navigating traffic. If you’re concerned about safety, look into getting a bike lock, a helmet or reflective clothing to ensure your trip would be as safe as possible. Walking or biking can also be a great way to explore your college town and take in the sights and sounds.
Scooter or bike sharing
Many college towns now offer bike or scooter sharing programs. These programs allow you to rent a bike or scooter for a short period of time, typically by the hour or day. They’re often affordable and can be a convenient way to get around campus and the surrounding area. And since you’re not responsible for the bike’s maintenance, this can be a great way to enjoy cycling without the added cost.
Consider joining a car-sharing service such as Zipcar. This allows you to have access to a car when you need one, without the cost of owning one. Many car sharing programs allow you to rent by the hour and some have options for longer-term rentals, which can be a great option during breaks or summer. You’ll be able to run errands, visit friends and family, and take road trips without the burden of car payments, insurance, and maintenance. And you’ll be able to use the car when you need it, without having to pay for it when you don’t.
Other Ways to Save on Transportation
- Take online classes: With online classes, you can attend lectures, participate in discussions, and complete assignments from the comfort of your own home. This means you can say goodbye to the commute and all the expenses that come with it like gas, bus fare, and even parking.
- Use ride-sharing apps for long distance travel: If you need to travel long distances and don’t want to drive or take a bus or train, you can use ride-sharing apps like Uber or Lyft to get a ride.
- Look for deals and discounts: Many transportation companies offer deals and discounts for students, so make sure to look for them and take advantage of them when you can. These discounts can range from a percentage off your fare to free or discounted rides.
- Car rental companies: If you plan on renting a car during your college time, you can also take advantage of special discounts or promotions aimed at college students. Also, some rental companies even offer special student membership plans that provide discounted rates, and a variety of benefits.
- Flexible schedule: If possible, try to schedule your classes, work and other activities in a way that allows you to avoid rush hour and peak travel times, this way you can avoid expensive transportation costs and you’ll also get to avoid heavy traffic.
- Reimbursement programs: Lastly, check if your school or employer offers reimbursement programs for transportation cost, which can help offset the expenses of getting to and from campus or work.