If you've been following this series (https://www.kirkstravelstories.com/post/how-i-travel-for-free-or-nearly-free)
you'll know this post is about Local Transportation in the countries I visit. As I've stated, traveling for free does not mean I'm not spending money, it's that I'm spending no more than I do at home, so essentially the travel is free.
Since I retired early at 55 (really quit as I have no work income other than investments yet), and since I take multiple international and domestic trips each year, it's important I spend no more than I would if not traveling.
Local transportation in the country I'm visiting can be the most expensive travel category for me.The other expense categories I have means to mitigate the costs, but not so much on local transportation. But there are methods.
Even a donkey in a pinch will work for local transport
The main point is to use metro transportation when in the cities. Local buses in particular are very cost effective. Even overnight buses to longer destinations are a bargain and can be quite comfortable.
Bus rides in the city of the less developed countries I visit are usually $1 or less to most anywhere in the city. The problem is figuring out the metro system. For that reason, and because most tourists aren't comfortable being perhaps the only westerner on the bus, they avoid it. I often take the bus for the cost and experience, even if it doesn't have a/c.
Metro subways or trains are cost effective as well. Costing a few dollars at most. Some metro systems like Tokyo have highly developed systems. I simply use my iPhone and it tells me where to board, where to walk from the subway to bus to catch the next leg, as well as the times for each stop and price. Great system I loved using.
Other forms of transportation are taxis, Ubers, Lyfts, and Tuk Tuks (or the equivalents like rickshaws and jeepneys). These are usually low cost in the countries I visit. In Amman, Jordan an Uber to almost anywhere in the city was less than $2.00 including tip.
Tuk Tuks are a seated cab at the back of a motorcycle. They're very popular in Thailand, but they're usually more expensive than taxis (no idea why). I seldom take them anymore as the novelty has worn off and they can be hot in the sun.
I usually use a combination of all the above in the city. But for the remote areas and to transfer long distances I usually rent a car or take a bus. In most places I visit, a week's rental car is less than $200 per week. The cars are almost always standard transmission. Be careful when renting abroad as the car company really scrutinizes the vehicle on return and will nitpick. I make sure to video all of the car upon pickup. My credit cards offer insurance protection for free so I waive coverage. Be sure you have insurance coverage overseas!
Another form of transportation often overlooked is motorcycle. I look for bike rental before car rental if I'm in an area where I won't be driving too fast (maybe 35-40 mph). A small 125 cc bike can be rented for a week for $35 to $40, or by day for even less than $10.00. Great way to explore small villages. A pedal bike for much less which I've done in the small villages as well.
Me and my "hog"
I also use local planes for local transportation to travel from one end of a country to another. It's not like in the USA where short flights cost almost as much as a long one. In many countries I visit I can grab a short flight for $25 - $50. But don't ask me about their safety record!
The last form of transportation is walking. But as I get older I limit that to a couple miles per day in the heat. That one is free (unless you get a fine for littering as I did here): (https://www.kirkstravelstories.com/post/trashed-in-thailand).
I usually do a combination of city and remote travel when exploring overseas. I budget $350 for local transportation. I could go lower if I don't rent a car, but I enjoy driving some in the country I visit. I probably average a week of car rental.
The next category I'll cover is hotels. This one can be the most expensive unless you get creative. I'll talk about that on the next post. The next couple posts will help explain how I'm able to keep expenses so low when airfare and hotel prices are so high. Especially today during high occupancy.
Please go to part 6:
Parts 6 & 7 will be the most useful information to reduce costs. Hotels and airfare are the most expensive travel items but I'll show you how to pay pennies on the dollar. Please join my blog for this useful information.