train http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8868/all en-US Europe on the Cheap: Take the Train http://www.wisebread.com/europe-on-the-cheap-take-the-train <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/europe-on-the-cheap-take-the-train" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/43322451_b81bf081f3.jpg" alt="Belgian train station" title="Belgian train station" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="187" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it comes to traveling through Europe, there's a lot to be said for taking the train. With just a little planning, you can see five or six countries in just a week &mdash; and for a price that doesn't break the bank. And if you are interested in extended travel &mdash; or live the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/three-paths-to-being-a-digital-nomad">digital nomad lifestyle</a> &mdash; you can travel around the whole of Europe for a fraction of the cost of plane tickets or car rentals. These tips can get you started in the right direction to do just that.</p> <h3>1. Buy a rail pass.</h3> <p>There are more than a few different rail passes that offer you inexpensive access to European railways. Even if you look only at the <a href="http://www.eurail.com/">Eurail</a> passes, you'll find options for unlimited travel, regional travel and more. Some of these passes, such as the Eurail Global Pass, which starts at $475, can seem fairly expensive. But you can get a phenomenal amount of traveling done with such a pass &mdash; and there are routinely discounts available for the passes.</p> <h3>2. Travel at night.</h3> <p>If you're willing to ride a train at night, you can save quite a bit of money. First of all, you can skip the expense of a hostel or a hotel. Second, the way the Eurail pass and other European rail passes tend to work is that if you stay on the train overnight and into the next day, your time on the train all counts as one day's travel &mdash; which can help you travel even more on your pass. If you were to get off the train for the night and then reboard in the morning, you'd use up two days worth of travel on your rail pass.</p> <h3>3. Find a local supermarket.</h3> <p>Many modes of transportation have specific rules against bringing food on board. But you can pack along <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eating-cheap-while-abroad">a few sandwiches or other food while you're traveling</a>, making your food far less expensive than whatever expensive snack you can grab in an airport or bus station.</p> <h3>4. Use your pass to get other discounts.</h3> <p>In addition to savng you money on train rides, the Eurail pass in particular can get you into some museums, discounted ferry rides and far more.</p> <h3>5. Exercise your flexibility</h3> <p>One of the greatest parts about traveling by train is that you can be very flexible. I've found in the past that there were local fairs and other events that I'd really like to attend, but couldn't because I was with a tour group or had an airplane to catch. In some cases, I've been interested to the point of changing my plans &mdash; and paying fees to do so.</p> <p> While these tips focus on traveling by train in Europe, there are options for taking a train on just about every other continent. However, you may find that you have to adapt to the local railway system a little more. In the U.S, for instance, travel by train can be a little less assured, especially in the Midwest. The distances involved can make for very long train rides and all of my experiences with train travel in the States have involved delays.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/europe-on-the-cheap-take-the-train">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-hotel-room-booking-tools-every-frugal-traveler-should-know">5 Hotel Room Booking Tools Every Frugal Traveler Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-brexit-could-affect-your-travel-plans">Here&#039;s How Brexit Could Affect Your Travel Plans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-never-buy-souvenirs">Why You Should Never Buy Souvenirs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-cheap-international-vacation-destinations">5 Cheap International Vacation Destinations</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-one-vacation-day-and-save-thousands">How to Take One Vacation Day and Save Thousands</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Travel eurail Europe train Tue, 23 Jun 2009 20:17:47 +0000 Thursday Bram 3308 at http://www.wisebread.com The good life on less energy--even in the US http://www.wisebread.com/the-good-life-on-less-energy-even-in-the-us <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-good-life-on-less-energy-even-in-the-us" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bicycle-on-rural-road.jpg" alt="Bicycle on rural road" title="Bicycle on Rural Road" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="185" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whenever I write a post about energy, I point out that we know it&#39;s possible to have a high standard of living while using less energy--people in European countries do, so it must be possible.  That always draws comments from people who say that things are different here.  When it comes to opportunities for saving energy, that&#39;s simply not true.</p> <p>Oh, sure, the Europeans have a much better train system.  In the US we&#39;ve spent that money on airports and highways.  But we do have <a href="/travel-on-amtrak">passenger rail</a>, and it&#39;s actually a pleasure to ride.</p> <p>Many European cities are also more compact than many US cities, making it easier to get around on foot or by bicycle.  But there are plenty of nice, compact US cities.</p> <p>Mass transit is spotty in the US compared to Europe, but there&#39;s <a href="/high-tech-for-mass-transit">good mass transit</a> in many US cities.</p> <p>Many European cities are more friendly to bicycles than many US cities, but there are plenty of cyclists in the US, and many US cities are bicycle-friendly.</p> <p>So, all these things exist in the US; <strong>they&#39;re just not widely distributed.</strong></p> <p>I&#39;d like to make two points in relation to that observation.</p> <p>First, as fuel prices continue to rise, all these energy-saving advantages that the Europeans have will become more widely distributed in the US as well.  As long as you live in a town or city (as opposed to a <a href="/rural-living-in-a-world-with-expensive-fuel">rural area</a>), these advantages will come to you eventually.</p> <p>Second, you can choose where to live:  In a compact, bicycle-friendly city that&#39;s on an Amtrak line and has good mass transit, or someplace else.  </p> <p>Making a drastic change like where you live is not something to be done lightly.  Doing it smoothly may require a long lead time.  There may be jobs to find--even careers to change.  There may be houses to sell.  There may be elderly relatives that you&#39;d rather keep in their long-time home than move to another city.  There may be children who&#39;d much rather graduate from school with their friends then at some new school where they don&#39;t know anybody.  But, even taking all that into account, you still choose where to live--now and in the future.</p> <p>I&#39;d like to gently suggest that waiting for these advantages to come to you is probably the wrong choice, for three reasons.</p> <p>First, you miss out on the advantages in the meantime.  You&#39;ll be having to buy more fuel than people who live in communities that support efficiency. </p> <p>Second, as those advantages come to more and more places, you&#39;ll be stuck paying for them.  If you move someplace where these advantages already exist, you&#39;ll be taking advantage of ones that have already been paid for.  If you stay where you are, you can expect taxes to go up to pay for bringing rail and mass transit to you.  No doubt the costs will end up being spread around--but that just means that the people who get these advantages last will have been paying longest for everyone else.</p> <p>Third, these advantages will increasingly be reflected in property values.  It&#39;s already started.  A couple decades ago, being on a bus route was a negative.  (It brought undesirables--i.e. poor people--to the area.)  More recently, it&#39;s been pretty much a neutral.  (Even poor people have cars, so who cares?)  Just very recently, though, it&#39;s begun to boost property values.  (Quick test:  look in real estate ads and see if they&#39;ve started mentioning being on a bus line as a positive.  They&#39;ve always done it for apartments.  Now they&#39;re doing it for houses too.)  Property values in communities without these advantages haven&#39;t suffered much yet, because communities that provide no services can have low taxes.  But as the taxes go up anyway, the lack of services will drive property prices down.</p> <p>As fuel prices continue to rise, these &quot;European&quot; advantages will spread.  But they&#39;ll spread pretty slowly.  The US has spent trillions of dollars on infrastructure that really only useful for cars and planes.  Things like nationwide passenger rail and citywide mass transit systems don&#39;t just pop up overnight--they&#39;ll cost trillions of dollars as well (although a just a few billion will bring us much closer to the Europeans).</p> <p>Some of you--probably many of you, given the sort of people who read Wise Bread--already live someplace that has some or all the advantages that Europeans have enjoyed for decades.  As I see it, the rest of you can move to where you have these advantages as well, or you can stay where you are.  But, if you make the latter choice, you&#39;ll not only lose out on the advantages, you&#39;ll do so while still having to pay taxes to provide them for everyone else, and then you&#39;ll have to sit back and watch as your property values decline and the values of the properties in places that have them go up, making it more and more expensive to move in the future.</p> <p>Is your local area on the leading edge for any of these things?  Are you on an Amtrak line?  Do you have a good bus system?  Are there places to live that are within walking distance of shopping and jobs?  Are the roads safe for bicycles?  If you&#39;ve got some of these things, and the rest are coming, then you may be set already.  If not, be sure your plan for the future includes not just higher prices for fuel, but also higher taxes to pay for the infrastructure improvements your area needs.  If that doesn&#39;t appeal, be sure your plan includes moving to someplace that supports a lower-energy lifestyle.</p> <p>We know there are ways to have a high standard of living while using less fuel.  The Europeans have demonstrated one for us.  We&#39;re heading that direction as well--our present course simply isn&#39;t going to be affordable much longer.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-good-life-on-less-energy-even-in-the-us">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cities-for-going-car-free">5 Best Cities for Going Car-Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cut-your-electric-bill-with-solar-panels">Cut Your Electric Bill With Solar Panels</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-hidden-advantages-to-getting-rid-of-your-car">7 Hidden Advantages to Getting Rid of Your Car</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/better-cars-are-not-the-answer">Better cars are not the answer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-infrastructure-destiny">Is Infrastructure Destiny?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Green Living Real Estate and Housing bicycling bike buses clean energy conserve energy energy mass transit rail save energy train train travel walk walking Thu, 10 Jul 2008 12:18:50 +0000 Philip Brewer 2227 at http://www.wisebread.com Five Reasons Why I Love Public Transportation http://www.wisebread.com/five-reasons-why-i-love-public-transportation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/five-reasons-why-i-love-public-transportation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/actransit.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I lived in Berkeley I loved taking public transportation, and since I was such a bus aficionado I did not learn to drive until I was 20. I knew several bus routes by heart and traveled all around the San Francisco Bay via busses or the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). Right now I live in San Mateo where the public transit is not as prevalent, and I really miss the days when I got everywhere with a bus pass. Since I am feeling nostalgic today I am going to write down why I love public transportation, and I hope I can live in a place with a lot of public transit again.</p> <p><strong>1. You see different people everyday</strong> - Maybe I am just weird, but I find watching and listening to people on the bus to be rather interesting. Sometimes I even talked to the bus driver and other random people. I guess the travel experience is just not as lonely as driving because there are other people with you. Once in a while I would see a neighbor or friend, and it was always fun to chat in person.<br /><strong><br />2. Public transit helps the environment</strong> - This is true for areas with high population density. If everyone in the Bay Area that rides the train or bus everyday drove instead then this place will probably have unbreathable air and the traffic would be even more horrendous than it already is now. When you ride the bus or train you are sharing resources with your community, and that cuts down on pollution.</p> <p><strong>3. You can use your travel time for leisure </strong>- On a bus or train you can read a book, play a game, or even chat with your friends on the computer if internet is available. When you drive you have to concentrate on driving. I read many books when I was a bus rider, and also got really familiar with the main routes of the cities around the Bay just by watching the bus routes. It is also pretty relaxing to just take a little nap.</p> <p><strong>4. Public transit makes you exercise more</strong> - I firmly believe that I gained quite a bit of weight over the last couple years because I drive everyday. In the days when I rode the bus I walked more than a mile each day to and from the bus stop or train station. Unless the bus stop is right in front of your house, you generally have to walk a little bit, and that bit of exercise could mean 10 to 15 pounds over the years.</p> <p><strong>5. Car ownership is generally more expensive</strong> - The amount of money needed to purchase a car can generally finance public transit fees for years. Many workplaces also give incentives for public transportation such as discounted passes or reimbursements. Many large companies here in the South Bay also have free bus and train passes under their EcoPass program. The savings are quite significant over months and years.</p> <p>Of course, there are many inconveniences associated with public transportation. For example, a lot of busses are often late, and go on roundabout routes. There are also crazy bus drivers that do not stop when requested, and also scary passengers that you want to get away from. Sometimes a bus could be so crowded that you can barely breathe. However, most of the times my experiences have been pleasant. I still use public transit from time to time to go to San Francisco because parking is nearly impossible in that city. I also take the BART train to the airport because it costs about 1/10 the amount of hiring a taxi. So even if you cannot part with your car, taking public transit can save you money if you take it occasionally. What about you? Are you a fan or hater of public transit?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-reasons-why-i-love-public-transportation">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-more-gas-by-safely-following-trucks">Save More Gas by Safely Following Trucks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-life-is-wonderful-when-you-swap-your-car-for-a-bike">9 Ways Life Is Wonderful When You Swap Your Car for a Bike</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-you-save-money-by-subscribing-to-an-addictive-game">Could you save money by subscribing to an addictive game?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-on-a-lot-less-money-3-ways-its-easier-than-you-think">Getting by on a lot less money: 3 ways it&#039;s easier than you think</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/did-your-car-break-down-check-for-recalled-parts-and-fix-it-for-free">Did your car break down? Check for recalled parts and fix it for free!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living Cars and Transportation bus Cars public transit saving train transportation Sat, 01 Mar 2008 03:37:54 +0000 Xin Lu 1870 at http://www.wisebread.com