Wheeling your suitcase around in an unfamiliar city makes hailing a cab a tempting convenience. Don’t. There may be ways for you to save money by taking advantage of the sharing economy. Yes, the sharing economy allows you to score free or cheap travel accommodation. But that’s not all; you can also slash your transport costs by sharing your resources with others. And if you’re looking to make some extra cash, it’s even easier to rent out your car than it is to rent out your spare room. Here are a few easy ways to take advantage:
Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing
Calling it a night after a long day at work? You can still make money while you’re relaxing on the sofa—by letting people use that car parked in your driveway.
Peer-to-peer car sharing lets car owners rent out their cars to make extra money. At the same time, renters get to drive without having to worry about the costs associated with car ownership. This is a convenient service for both locals and travelers who happen to be in town.
If you want to try peer-to-peer car sharing, there are a couple of services you can use. RelayRides has car rentals in most cities in the U.S., while GetAround operates in San Fransisco, Portland, Chicago, Austin and San Diego. If you ever happen to visit Australia, you can use Car Next Door in Sydney and Melbourne.
If you’re planning a road trip, the transport cost can easily be your biggest expense. Thanks to the sharing economy, it’s possible for you to eliminate this cost entirely.
People need to move cars from one city to another all the time—when they relocate for work or retirement, for example. Car delivery companies often get regular people to help them transport these cars. To drive these cars, you’ll need a clean driving record, some money for security deposit and a fair amount of flexibility when it comes to when and where you’re going. After the company decides that you meet their criteria, you’ll get the keys to the car and a deadline.
Finding a parking spot is easily one of the most frustrating things about driving, especially in a new place. What if you can park your car at your friend’s empty parking space instead? Just Park allows you to do just that. People who don’t use their parking spots list them online so drivers can book them.
Another service, FlightCar, helps you get free parking at the airport, a free car wash and a little money out of the deal. However, you can only cash in on these perks if someone rents your car while you’re away. At your destination, you can also rent a car from FlightCar to get low rental rates and free insurance.
If you’re a car owner traveling out of town, you can sell any empty seats in your vehicle online. Other travelers will pay for the opportunity to hitch a ride, helping you cover your own transport costs.
On BlaBlaCar, drivers offer rides all over the UK. A typical listing shows the route, price and number of empty seats. Besides the rating system that shows each driver’s reviews, BlaBlaCar also lets drivers indicate how chatty they are, whether they smoke and whether they like to play music in the car.
Ridesharing can save some serious bucks for passengers too, especially those who don’t have access to a vehicle of their own. Experienced hitchhikers have told me that ridesharing could actually be cheaper than hitchhiking because there’s no need for multiple stops along the way to change rides. As a result, their accommodation and food costs are dramatically reduced.
Even if you’re just driving within your own city, there are ways for you to share rides with strangers.
Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar—all companies that primarily operate in the U.S.—use smartphone apps to connect drivers and passengers that are in the same area. The drivers get an opportunity to make extra money in their spare time, while the passengers get cheap rides. Rides are often cheaper than traditional cab companies, and payment is handled through the app, so no cash changes hands between drivers and passengers.
In the UK, Liftshare helps people organize single rides and regular carpooling schedules. On top of offering cash savings and an environmentally friendly way to commute, some Liftshare members have actually met new friends through carpooling.
Interested in more ways to save money and travel cheaply? Visit NomadWallet.com and follow along as Deia B offers regular advice and resources for ways to do just that.