Is a Car-less Vacation Do-able?

Written by  //  January 6, 2014  //  Travel  //  No comments

On a typical day, the average American spends nearly an hour driving and in the United States, there are about 240 million cars traveling on the road. With stats like that, it's easy to see why many people can't picture a vacation without a car. But by taking guided tours, public transportation, or using privately operated vehicles, car-less vacations are not only possible but potentially rewarding.

Guided Tours

Guided tours require no vehicle and come with the added bonus of making sure you never get lost (provided you select the right guide, of course). Most major destinations have tours available, making them a viable alternative to schlepping around in a car. Many guided tours are incredibly cheap or even free; for instance, New York magazine has a list of several free walking tours of the city. If you don't feel like walking, bus tours are common as well.


Buses are viable for both long- and short-distance travel. For instance, Atlanta's MARTA system has dozens of bus routes that connect travelers both to railways and specific end destinations. In a city like Atlanta–which has been noted for its terrible traffic–taking a bus and letting someone else drive might be a good way to reduce stress during your vacation. Buses also tend to be pretty cheap.

Light Rail

Light rail systems are often overlooked as a means of transportation, but they can be a great alternative as well. These vehicles–which are essentially small trains–can be a money saver, just like cheap tours and buses. According to U.S. News and World Report, part of Portland's light rail system is free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Many light rail systems combine with some other form of public transportation to make large portions of their cities accessible cheaply and conveniently.

Taxis and Zipcars

If you absolutely can't avoid cars during your vacation, you can get by with taxis and zipcars. Taxis are becoming accessible in new ways; for instance, the Uber app summons taxi vehicles from different price tiers. Zipcars, on the other hand, are vehicles users can reserve and then drive for varying periods of time. Both of these options are more expensive than public-transportation, but they also provide a bit more freedom in destination and scheduling.

Bike Rentals

Bicycles have long been a cheap alternative to cars, so why not consider them on your car-less vacation? You don't even need to bring your own: Bicycles are easier than ever to rent in most major cities. Depending on the company and area, different bicycle styles might be available. Some bikes are shared among groups of people, while other systems rent to specific individuals; find the solution out there that works best for you.

Not having a car might sound restrictive at first, but the truth is, advances in privately operated and public transportation have made cars inessential in most vacation destinations. You might even be able to save money and stress while you ditch your car for awhile.


This article was provided by Charity Bailey, current Environmental Studies major and eco-friendly traveller. If you've decided to go carless for your trip, but need a lift somewhere, Charity recommends you find Stita Transportation services to get you where you need to be.

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