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Because You Asked

How Can I Go Car-Free?

By Recyclebank |

Keep these tips in mind when you’re leaving the car behind.

Dear Recyclebank,

Do you have any tips on going car-free in a mid-size city?

-Anna-Lisa D., Wilmington, DE


Dear Anna-Lisa

Kudos if you’re giving up your car entirely. Even if you can’t do it every day, occasionally going car-free is an impactful way to reduce your carbon footprint. Vehicles account for 51 percent of a typical household’s carbon dioxide emissions! Traveling by foot, bike, or public transportation can significantly reduce your environmental impact, as well as your transportation costs. Plus, it will be great exercise and can allow you to really explore your city.

The keys to successful car-free days are preparation and time management. Here are a few tips that should help.

  • Carry a bag that’s versatile enough for travel by foot or bike, for the distance that you are going. For example, a tote bag will be fine for a relatively short trip on foot, but it may tire your shoulders for longer distances, and it may be difficult to carry on a bike.
  • Do test runs between frequent destinations so you can accurately manage your time. Knowing how long it takes to bike, walk, or take public transportation between home and work, for example, is crucial.
  • Dress appropriately. Obvious enough, right? It means checking the full day’s weather before you go and packing extra clothing, if necessary.
  • Always carry a few essential items with you, such as a small amount of cash, ID, and an emergency contact card with your medical information. If you aren’t carrying a cellphone, make sure someone knows where you will be.
  • Study a map of your city and learn pedestrian- or bike-friendly routes before you begin.


Do you have any tips for going car-free? Share them in the comments below!

Share with Your Friends & Family
  • Kristen W. 3 years ago
    I haven't drove in about four years. I have learned a lot about using public transportation and car pooling. I live in a big city where taking the bus at night can be scary. I generally will have someone to with me if I have to go somewhere after dark. I make sure I have the correct bus routes and bus numbers so I don't get lost. Sometimes it's an issue at night that people might not give you the correct buses to be on, whether it's an honest mistake or they are not friendly. So just be extra careful if using public transportation at night.
  • Barbara K. 3 years ago
    Barbara K.
    As a Senior Citizen I have curtailed any excess driving & limit myself to grocery trips & doctor appointments. I've also learn that as a Senior it is possible to older insurance costs by parking & not using your vehicle during winter months (Nov.-Dec. through March-April). Avoids the need to deal w/snow & ice & saves gas, car care, stress of possible accidents, and/or damage to your vehicle!
  • Barbara K. 3 years ago
    Barbara K
    I use the multi surge plugs where it is possible to plug in the rechargeable items & once charged there is a switch to turn off those outlets (up to 6). You will always find at least 2 outlets you can use that will continue to supply power to those items that need constant power. These surge "boxes" have greatly decreased my electric usage.
  • Meg P. 3 years ago
    For those of us who live out in the country but do not have horses and buggies, walking or even a bike may be unrealistic. Rather than not drive, plan the trip better so as many errands as possible can be done in one round trip.
  • TheConnoisseurOfClean-com C. 3 years ago
    I have learned that walking to some location you normally travel to by car takes a lot longer than you might guess if you've never done it before. So it's good advice to do test runs to manage your time. Unfortunately, I work out of my car so there are not too many ways I can cut down on my transportation costs. Of course, I do try to group my errands by need and location when I'm out and about. I rarely get in the car to just go to a single location, like the grocery store, and then back home.
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