Slow down speed racer; if you’re not careful, road trips can get pricey, too! Since we all deserve a break and some fun in the sun, we’re giving you our best tips to pinch every penny and make the most out of your next road trip.
Budget FirstMake travel a piece of your monthly budget. Determine how much your ideal trip will cost and how much you can reasonably set aside. Start saving months in advance. This way, when trip time rolls around, you aren’t scrounging through the couch cushions digging for nickels.
Plan, Plan, PlanOnce you’ve got the cash, the real fun begins. Start researching your destination(s) and planning activities and restaurants you’d like to visit while there. Often tickets to parks, events, concerts, etc. are cheaper in advance. A simple Google search of “destination and date and events” will let you know what’s going on.
You’ll also want to set up accommodations before you go. Booking sites like Hotels.com and Booking.com search for the best deals, so you don’t have to. There’s also Airbnb and campsites if you’re going the nontraditional route.
Mapping out your route not only saves you time, but can save you money by helping you avoid tolls, travel the least amount of miles, and drive through more affordable areas. Apps like Waze can help you find the best route and automatically change routes if something pops up – like construction or car accidents.
Guzzle Less GasGas isn’t cheap, with the average price sitting somewhere around $3 per gallon. Use GasBuddy.com to calculate how much you’ll be spending, and make sure this number finds its way into your budget.
Use less fuel and save more money by:
- Packing the vehicle as lightly as possible
- Following the speed limit
- Avoiding aggressive driving
- Filling tires to the correct pressure and making sure tire tread is sufficient
- Renting a fuel-efficient vehicle
Pack SnacksDriving for hours can really get the tummy rumbling, but constantly stopping at convenience stores to grab food can put a major dent in your wallet. Pack a cooler with the essentials like granola bars, fruit, cheese sticks, crackers, chips, bottled water, and other drinks. Pro tip: buy in bulk and separate into individual bags – or go family style and dig right in.
Packing “picnic lunches” can also save you lots while on the road. Toss some bread, peanut butter, and jelly in the cooler for a quick lunchtime meal that costs you pennies.
Dine InIf dinnertime rolls around and you’re absolutely famished, skip the drive-thru and opt for a mom-and-pop shop instead. These places are often tastier and have better deals than big name restaurants. Plus, they allow you to get a little flavor of the area you’re in.
Check for CouponsCoupon clipping isn’t just for Moms on TLC. If there are specific stops you’d like to make or attractions you’d like to see, check online for any coupons. Do this simply by typing, “destination and coupon” into Google.
You can also use GroupOn before heading out to get deals on food and fun.