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How To Travel WITHOUT a Car

Updated: Apr 13

coach buses

Have you ever felt that you couldn't possibly travel without a car? Couldn't be me!

Last week I told you all about WHY I travel the world without a car, and this week I'll tell you HOW.



Traveling to Different Cities

city view

Traveling to different cities is what I've been doing more lately since teaching is keeping me in one location right now.

That means, when I can, I'm often traveling a little closer to home by taking the Go Train. Not an ad, but Go Transit has a pretty wide reach, it connects to so many cities around me.

go transit train

They have tons of different train lines with endless cities all along them.

Their coverage gets even wider if you don't mind taking a bus. I've done both and, while I prefer the train, the bus isn't too bad.

Some of the cities Go Transit, trains and busses included, connects to are:

  • Toronto (of course)

  • Niagara

  • Hamilton

  • Barrie

  • Brantford

  • Orangeville

  • Peterbrough

  • Stouffville

  • Oakville

  • Oshawa

  • and so many more

There's so many places to explore!

I do end up repeating some trips to these cities because there's just so much to see and sometimes so little time to explore. Thankfully Toronto is a massive metropolis that has endless adventures to offer, so visiting multiple times never gets boring.

The price isn't too bad either. It's based on distance, so the closer to home you travel, the cheaper the ticket. It's also cheaper with a PRESTO card, so while I do strongly dislike the PRESTO system, I do still use it.

The kiosks tend to be easier for loading the card, so I just go to the station earlier than I need to if I need to fill my card, check my balance, etc, instead of tempting fate with the app.

city bus

GoTransit isn't the only option however. Cities within the same region, or nearby regions, sometimes even have overlapping transit. The GRT's 6/21 route is a good example as it connects to both St. Jacobs and Elmira. Another good example is the PC Connect Bus.

This is a bus that connections the Waterloo Region to Perth county. Cities such a Stratford, St. Mary's, Listowel, Monkton, London, and so many more, are within your reach.

It's not just a weekday bus either, it also runs on Saturdays. The prices aren't bad either. They are also based on distance, so it depends on where you get on and where you're going.

I haven't taken this one, but I've looked into a lot. I plan to explore with it this summer. If you've taken it before, how was it?

Besides GoTransit and PC Connect though, there's also Mega Bus and Flix Bus. However, I also haven't taken these before. They may be worth checking out though.

Traveling Across the Country

cross country train

Continuing with our train theme, one of the various ways to get across Canada is to take the infamous Via Rail.

Via Rail is a cross country train that not only connects cities, but also connects coasts. You can travel from Toronto to Ottawa, and B.C to Quebec on the Via Rail.

I've not taken the Via Rail before, but, if you remember the story I told over on Instagram in my travel with me series, my grandmother did recently. I remember her saying how nice and scenic the train ride was. They also had some amazing attendants helping her with her bags and ushering her on board.

When it comes to prices, I've heard Via Rail is comparable to air travel or, at times, more expensive. The longer the distance, the more trains you need to take, so the more expensive it'll be. With air travel, you often need one plane for what might be 2-3 trains, so it's understandable why it may cost more.

cross country train

The experience would be worth it for me though.

To see the countryside and city-side train views all across Canada, to meet other train travelers, and to sleep on overnight trains, all sounds like experiences I'd like to say I've had.

While that sounds nice in theory though, since I haven't been on the Via Rail before, I can't speak to the experience of it. So, for those interested, Trip Advisor has a section full of pictures and reviews right here.


Flying is of course an option, but without a car, how do you get to the airport?

I fly out of the Pearson International Airport often, so I take the UP Express from union station.

The UP Express is a 25 minute long train that brings you all the way to the airport. It's not too expensive too. From Union to Pearson on a one-way adult ticket, it's $12.35 CAD, but the closer you are to the airport the cheaper it is. You can get tickets online, or at the kiosks at the stations.

I find it's much cheaper and much less of a headache than dealing with airport parking, not to mention the traffic on the way into Toronto.

It also comes often - every 15 minutes - it very comfy, has space to store luggage, and, when I rode it, it was quiet and peaceful (though noise canceling headphones help a lot).

hotel in New York
My hotel in New York

Some hotels will also have an airport shuttle bus, but that depend on how close/far your hotel is to the airport. When I was in New York, I flew into LaGuardia but the hotel was in Manhattan, much too far for a shuttle bus.

In this case, I took the transit at the airport that connected to the subway line in New York to get to my hotel. Thankfully the transit system in NYC takes debit/credit, so I didn't need to stress about how to get a transit pass while at the airport.

Traveling Within a City

city bus

When you're within a city, there are still tons of options available besides cars.

You can take the buses and subways, you can rent a bike or E-scooter, and you can of course walk as well.


When I was in Austin, I often took the E-scooters around town. They have Lime Scooters, which are really simple to use. You simple download an app, scan the code on your scooter to book it, and pay per minute or you can buy a ride pass (daily, monthly, etc.) E-bikes work the same way.

They also had these lime scooters when I was in Berlin, so you can use these rentals throughout all your adventures around the world.

When it comes to public transit systems around the world, each other is different, Make sure you do your research before traveling. Some things to consider are:

  • How much does public transit cost? It's often cheaper in the US than it is in Canada.

  • Do I need a transit card? In New York, I didn't need a transit card as their transit system did take debit/credit, but I could've gotten one at the airport if needed. Toronto is the same, however it is cheaper if you have a transit card.

  • Where can I get a transit card? LaGuardia airport did have a kiosk to get a transit card and Pearson airport is the same way, but will it be the same where you are going?

  • What is the etiquette? In some countries it's consider very rude to talk on the phone or talk loudly while on the bus/subway/train/etc. We want to be respectful while abroad.

  • How long will it take? If you're someone who likes have an itinerary while traveling, how long it will take on the transit to get to and from places would be an important aspect to consider, that way you're using your time wisely.

Walking is always an option too, and it's free! When booking your accommodations, it's important to make sure your hotel or Airbnb is within walking distance to the necessities and/or close to public transit.

whole foods

My hotel in New York was right in downtown Manhattan, so I was very close to the subway and within walking distance to the nearest Whole Foods and Chipotle, the necessities right! In Austin, I chose my Airbnb based on my favourite coffee shop, which just so happens to be down the road from a Chipotle, priorities!

Traveling Within Other Countries

You can truly copy+paste the overall idea from each section into different countries.

Lime scooters are in Berlin, Luxembourg has free public transit for both residents and visitors, Germany has the ICE and DB trains that can take you all across Europe, and so on. You just need to explore the options available to where you're traveling to.

When there's a will, there's a way. It's cliche, but also very true. Not having a car or the willingness to drive doesn't stop me from seeing the world, and it shouldn't stop you either.

Perks of Traveling Without a Car


In case I haven't convinced you just yet, lets talk about some perks of traveling without a car:

  • Never need to worry about finding parking

  • Don't need to pay for parking

  • Never need to worry about running out of gas

  • Don't need to pay for gas

  • Never need to be worried about navigating the traffic

  • Don't need to worry about being pulled over

  • Don't need to be the DD

  • Always a passenger princess/prince/royalty

Just to name a few. Think you'll try some more car-less train travel?


Frau Hannah on a train

I honestly find that I crave these long commutes. Lately I've been wishing that my commute into work was longer, which I get sounds strange, but these longer commutes give me some forced downtime. For me, long train rides are great times to zone out listening to music or get some much needed blog work done.

I really appreciate these times where I can't do much more than just sit and exist, not something I would get if I drove.

I've also romanticized the experience of traveling by bus or train. Sure they can be loud and busy at times, but they also can be so quiet and peaceful, especially with noise canceling headphones on.

They also lead me to place where I experience new things and create new memories, as well as, if you read last weeks article you'd know, I feel safer on public transit too. I just have so many positive associations with train and bus travel, it's only natural I'd crave it.


I hope I've showed you that you're not limited without a car. "When there's a will, there's a way!"

Missed the story as to why I've chosen to travel without a car? Check it out below!

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