I've recently discovered a fairly active Solent car share group, which I felt was worth a quick blog post. Potentially, it offers the holy grail of ferry travel - free journeys to and from the Isle of Wight.
The group has well over a thousand members, so my ignorance of its existence does rather challenge my (self-appointed) status as the Isle of Wight Guru.
If you know of other similar groups, please give them a mention in the comments.
How does it work?
Wightlink and Red Funnel both charge the same for taking a car on their ferries, regardless of the number of passengers. That includes people carriers, so you pay the same for taking seven people as just one.
As a result, some people have started offering up the unused spaces in their car for a ferry. Typical posts look like this:
2 spare seats in our vehicle today on the 4.30pm from southampton
Other posts are people asking for a lift:
Anyone travelling Portsmouth to Fishbourne this Sunday late afternoon that I can hop in with please?
The likelihood of a lift being available on the day that you are travelling is relatively small but there is more likely to be a match if more people get involved.
Most posts are quite last minute, but this isn't a problem for foot passenger journeys. Travelling as a foot passenger to or from the Isle of Wight is generally the same cost regardless of when you travel, whereas booking a car varies a lot depending on how far in advance you book.
Most users on the group seem to be Isle of Wight residents, rather than holidaymakers.
If you do travel to the Isle of Wight without your own car, then you may want to read our guide to public transport.
Of course, there are some risks associated with getting into a stranger's car (see Rutger Hauer in The Hitcher for Exhibit A).
I'm not going to recommend you try this. Definitely don't try it. It's a terrible idea.
More advice on the Isle of Wight ferry
We've written lots of waffle about the Isle of Wight ferry. Some would call it a hobby, others would say it's an addiction. Let's not quibble. Guides include:
Isle of Wight Guru's Blog