The first week of February marked a distinct change in the shopping habits of consumers across Southeast Asia. Following the Lunar New Year, everyone was on high alert as Covid-19 spread beyond the Chinese borders. Here in Taiwan, the first cases led to school closures, increased doctors’ visits, and families preparing for the worst. In addition, masses of people were ‘panic-buying’ health care products and household supplies.
Save Money on Transportation
Transportation and lodging account for the largest portions of a traveler’s budget. If you plan a vacation during peak travel seasons, you can count on spending even more money. However, there are several alternative options that you should consider before making reservations. Here are some of the best ways to save money on transportation when traveling abroad.
Trains are a great way to quickly zip across long distances. You can even save the cost of a hotel if you reserve a sleeper car. Rail passes give you the ease and convenience of traveling to multiple cities for a flat rate. There are variations of them across the world, but the European Rail Pass is probably the most famous. If you plan on visiting several countries, you should definitely look into buying one. Simply enter your destinations and dates, and the search engine will guide you through the itinerary, step by step. Check out their featured routes to save money on transportation when traveling abroad.
If you are more adventurous and prefer to navigate foreign cities on your own, most places have an all access transit card. This gives you an authentic flavor of life abroad since you are traveling alongside the locals. As an added bonus, most buses, subways, and light-rail trains also conveniently pass by the most popular sites. It’s an economical option which lets you splurge a little on the travel experiences you enjoy most.
Most travel websites do a fair job of comparing flights among domestic carriers. They also allow you to set up email alerts when prices drop. However, I prefer Skyscanner or ITA Matrix since they include all major international competitors. They have easy-to-use tools that compare prices day by day. With a little flexibility in dates and destinations, you can save a lot of dough. It’s even possible to find flights for pennies on the dollar if you can leave within 24 hours.
You should also check out the TripAdvisor app on your phone since it offers one-stop shopping. It helps you find flights, hotels, restaurants, and things to do all in one search engine. The site is especially helpful on those day when you are looking for something more to do. With a few taps, you can locate the best restaurants and attractions near you. Best of all, it even allows you to customize your search within a set budget!
Renting a car on vacation can be a huge, unnecessary expense. Between the gas, parking fees, and insurance, a rental can eat up a good portion of your budget. However, paying for a seat in someone else’s car can save you hundreds of dollars. BlaBlaCar is a European-based ride sharing app that allows you to carpool with car owners seeking to save gas money. The website is easy to peruse and matches you with multiple drivers in your area. You can quickly compare prices and times of departure. If you are hesitant to jump in a stranger’s car, there are plenty of reviews from previous passengers to verify your driver’s credentials.
Charter buses and long-distance coaches are another great way to reserve your cash when traveling abroad. Coach travel has also changed a lot in recent years. Contrary to the associated stigma, most vehicles are clean, comfortable, and efficient. International service usually provides food, beverage, free wifi, and a restroom on board as well. Upgraded tickets can also get you reclining chairs and memory foam seats. Avoid the hustle of airports and train stations by reserving yourself a seat on board a coach and save money on transportation when traveling abroad.
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As the climate crisis continues to worsen and governments fail to address the issue through top-down policies adequately. It is left to the people make changes to their individual lives to make the necessary reduction in carbon emissions. Hopefully, you can prevent the atmosphere warming to the critical 2-degree threshold.
There are many small things that individual households can do. There are changes to the daily routine and alterations in the types of food eaten. And there are more significant decisions, such as what kind of vehicle to drive.
Often, the smaller changes to our habits are more comfortable to swallow because they don’t incur any meaningful increase in costs. But because purchasing a car is such a big decision financially – it is usually the second most expensive asset we buy after a house – then people can be forgiven for not considering a more expensive alternative to a gas-powered car.
However, as we will explain in this article, for many people, the decision to purchase an electric car will save them money in the long run.
The Cost of Hybrid and Electric Cars
When hybrid cars and electric vehicles first came on to the market, even the most environmentally conscious consumer was not able to stomach the costs. They were prohibitively expensive. Fueled by innovation and technological advancements, not to mention government encouragement, the price for these vehicles has dramatically decreased so that now they are reasonably priced for most consumers to consider them. Their increased affordability is evidenced by the fact that registration for electric cars have more than doubled in 2019 compared to the year before.
Across the globe, most major car manufacturers have added electric car vehicles to their fleet of offerings. These companies understand that they are the future, and as a result, they don’t want to be left behind. The competition from these car companies will help to drive down the cost further and increased vehicle equity. In the United States, you can buy a small electric car for as little as $10,000 (Renault Twizy). For regular-sized vehicles, there is a considerable number of options in the price range of $30-40k.
Government Grants Reduce Cost
When looking at these prices, do not forget that governments also offer credits or grants for purchasing an electric vehicle. In the US, there is a federal electric vehicle tax credit of $7,500. This may not last forever, especially given the current President, so it may be worth taking advantage of these incentive schemes. At the same time, they are on offer to further enhance the cost savings of going electric.
If we focus on the US, let’s create a hypothetical situation where you are looking at a purchase of a brand-new electric car for $22.5k ($30k purchase price less the tax credit). Already, this is comparable to many gas-powered cars, so for many people, the debate as to whether an electric car is worth it will end here. If you are looking at a cheaper gas car, though, then we need to do some calculations that prove the financial benefit of running off electricity rather than gas.
Electricity is Cheaper than Gasoline
The big reason why electric cars are cheaper than gas cars is that electricity is much less expensive to consume than gasoline. On average, American drivers spend around $1,500 a year at the gas station purchasing gas or diesel for their cars. This compares to an average of $500 that drivers of electric vehicles are spending on charging up their vehicles each year.
Financial and Environmental Worth of Electric Cars
Clearly, if you are saving an average of $1,000 every year, then you can quickly make up the difference in the initial price of an electric car.
Ultimately, the question as to whether or not electric cars are worth it can be answered from two angles – the financial and the environmental. From an ecological perspective, they are worth it. The carbon footprint from using an electric car instead of a gas-powered vehicle is far, far lower. By making the switch, you will, without doubt, be helping to protect the planet from global warming.
Fortunately, thanks to colossal progress that has been made in just the last few years, the decision to switch to an electric car is also worth it from the financial perspective. Although the upfront cost of an electric car can be higher, it has been proven that this can be more than offset by the amount of money you will save from charging your car with electricity rather than paying for gas.
So, if you want to save money in the long term and save the planet, hopefully, this article will have helped you to make that decision.
Image source: Open Grid Scheduler.