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Carpooling–travel while staying in budget

It’s hard to organize travel when you’re on a tight budget. Our advice? Try carpooling! Less expensive than traditional modes of travel, it will save you money.

7 min read

Whether you’re on your way to a festival, vacationing in the South of France, or simply heading home for the weekend, it’s hard to organize travel when you’re on a tight budget. Our advice? Try carpooling! Less expensive than traditional modes of travel, it will save you money—and make for some good conversation, too. Here, we’ll examine the ins and outs of carpooling, and shed some light on the various ride-sharing websites in France.

What is carpooling?

Simply defined, carpooling is when a car ride is shared between multiple people in order to reduce costs and emissions. This may happen between colleagues to get to work, as well as long-haul ride sharing. Unlike hitchhiking, carpooling is planned and the costs of the trip are generally shared between the passengers and driver. Nowadays, there are dedicated carpooling websites for travel that match drivers with passengers, such as the popular French carpooling platform BlaBlaCar. But note to those on a budget—BlaBlaCar finances its activities by charging a fee on the price of trips.

Instead of paying a commission, you can try one of the new platforms that offer commission-free ride-sharing. These ride-sharing platforms have other revenue streams such as donations and unique services to keep prices as low as possible for riders.

Tip: If you’re looking to cut costs in other areas, here.

What are the pros and cons of carpooling?

Still not 100% convinced that carpooling is for you? Whether you use a traditional platform or a free carpooling site, this travel method has its share of pros and cons that are worth bearing in mind before you hit the road.

The benefits of carpooling

  • Travel for less: Whether you’re a driver or a passenger, the more you carpool, the lower the costs! Compared to rail or air travel, carpooling offers unbeatable value.
  • Make last-minute bookings: Carpooling is perfect for spur-of-the-moment travelers, allowing you to make late reservations without worrying about price hikes.
  • Avoid transport hubs: If you’re looking to avoid crowded train stations or airports, it may be worth your while to carpool.
  • Have great conversations: The confines of a car usually motivate passengers to chat with their fellow ride-sharers. You might even get some valuable tips about your destination!
  • Look after the planet: Carpooling is not only an affordable way to travel, it's also an environmentally friendly one. Fill the spare seats of your vehicle with other travelers to reduce the number of cars on the road and, in turn, reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The drawbacks of carpooling

  • Meet-up and drop-off points might be out of the way: When it comes to carpooling, passengers have to be flexible. Drivers will frequently arrange rendezvous points that are not always convenient.
  • Incompatible schedules: Unlike buses, trains, or planes, carpooling schedules are not always predictable. Depending on your plans, you may not be able to find a ride-share that leaves when you need to or gets you to your destination on time.
  • Risk of last-minute cancellation: This is perhaps one of carpooling's strongest drawbacks. As a ‘non-commercial’ form of transport, cancellations by both drivers and passengers are pretty common. Bear this in mind if you need to get to the airport or an important meeting.
  • Potential for delays: Here again, carpooling often calls for a certain degree of flexibility, as it’s not uncommon for the driver or one of the passengers to be late.
  • Differences of opinion with the driver or other passengers: Traveling with strangers can be a great way to make new friends—or not! From bad road manners to incompatible personalities, there’s plenty of room for arguments to arise. Luckily, most carpooling apps have filters —such as smoking, music, openness to chatting, etc.—to minimize the chances of conflict.

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Free carpooling apps and carpooling sites in France

Looking for a carpool ride with no extra costs? We've compiled a list of commission-free carpooling sites in France that will help you get on the road in no time.

—for daily trips

Created almost fifteen years ago by an IT expert who was "keen on home-to-work carpooling", this French platform specializes in daily trips, especially commuting—but you can find longer inter-city trips there as well. Although it doesn’t have its own app, the mobile website is convenient and intuitive. Payments are made directly to the driver, and the platform features a trip budget simulation to help drivers offer a fair price.

—connecting the suburbs

Breaking the isolation of the suburbs is CityGo's raison d'être, which brands itself the "first French carpooling platform for people looking for suburban transport." Note that you’ll need to install their app before proposing or booking trips. For the moment, the service is mainly active in the Paris-Île-de-France, Lyon, and Lille regions. You can pay online, in advance, or in cash once you're in the car.

—for corporate employees

Klaxit specializes in commuter travel, so this app is ideal for carpoolers looking for a ride to work. Its distinctive feature is that it offers companies and local authorities the tools they need to set up in-house carpools. Members can specify your schedule in the app and easily find a carpool or daily travel companions! With nearly two million users, Klaxit is one of the largest free carpooling platforms in France.

, cooperative carpooling

If you advocate community values and sharing, the MobiCoop carpooling app will appeal to you. Powered by open-source software, the platform claims to protect its users' data. The cooperative system lets everyone contribute to its features. MobiCoop offers long and short-distance trips, both on a regular and occasional basis. Payments can be made online or in person.

How to organize your ride-sharing trip

Whether you're the driver or the passenger, follow these simple tips to ensure that a carpooling trip gets off to a great start:

  • If you're driving, post your ad early enough to fill up your car. For a long trip, consider adding stopovers in cities along the way to improve your chances of someone joining. Finally, give your future passengers as much information as possible. Tell them about the size of your car, how much room there is for bags, the exact meeting spot, possible detours, whether you’re a smoker or non-smoker, and whether you plan to make frequent stops. Being upfront and honest about details and preferences will help to avoid mismatches.
  • If you're a passenger, try to book at least a few days in advance so that you can choose the route that’s closest to your pick-up and drop-off points. You can also pick the best-suited carpool option based on your needs. For example, those in a hurry should avoid booking a trip with several stops! Finally, remember to bring cash to pay at the start of the trip, if you're not paying in advance.

Thinking of buying a car to carpool with? Check out .

Getting to work via carpool 

Looking to share a ride to the office? In this case, try the platforms specialized in daily carpooling, like La Roue Verte or Klaxit. You'll find offers for regular trips and can set up a plan with the driver to travel together on a daily basis. 

What’s more, Klaxit allows you to book according to your schedule, even if it varies from week to week. And thanks to a company logo system displayed on the user's profile, you can spot people who work at the same company. This is a real plus when it comes to finding a ride straight to the office!

When it comes down to it, with the rise of alternative platforms each specialized in different types of travel, carpooling is catching on. And by following our simple tips, you can enjoy the freedom of the car while taking care of the planet!

Share carpooling costs with N26

Whether you’re carpooling, or jet setting, our is there to make life easier. We’ve got tons of smart features, including real-time push notifications for every transaction and payments in any currency with zero fees. Plus, with our feature, you can pay your carpooling costs in seconds, or request money from fellow passengers. So, what are you waiting for? to find the one that’s right for you. 

By N26

The Mobile Bank

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