How to Plan a Cheap Road Trip
Going on a road trip can be relatively inexpensive if done right. With a little foresight and planning you can have just as much fun as someone that is dropping a lot of cash – at half the price. Here are some tips on taking a frugal road trip.
Things to eat
Bring along a cooler for the driving portions of the trip. This will save you time and money and it’s nice to have something to munch on as you’re driving. Hungry kids are more likely to be noisy kids so avoid that scene by bringing along some snacks. If you’re on a long road trip don’t forget to stock up when you pass grocery stores because gas stations can charge an arm and a leg. A large water cooler is always a bonus too. You’ll get thirsty while driving so having free water is good for your wallet and good for the environment too.
Places to sleep
Start with the easy targets when you’re trying to find cheap accommodation: friends, family, and camping are few options that come to mind. If you’re just staying a night you can probably push your luck by asking friends-of-friends, extended family, and even that guy you went to college with. Some people would love having guests stay with them for a night. Make sure you’re not being an annoyance but also make sure you weigh out your options so that you’re spending less on a place to sleep. Hotels are expensive!
If you do need to book a hotel room make sure you do it well in advance to find a great deal. There are lots of hotel websites but you might also try calling around to see if you can talk someone into a better deal. Most people that work at hotels are quite accommodating on this front.
Things to do
Chances are not good that you and your children have read all the books in your home. What we’re suggesting is that you should be able to find a book in your home for everyone to read. If there isn’t something around the house you can go to the library and take out a book. You should also plan some games for the trip. Another option is audio books and music to sing along with. If you’ve planned for a lot of stops along your trip then you should look into free museums, monuments, and National Parks. Those are all affordable and fun ways to keep busy and see some of the country.
If you have two vehicles make sure you take the one that is better on gas. It might mean that you need to pack less but the amount of money that you’ll save can be quite high with current gas prices as they are. Don’t forget to follow the standard car maintenance money saving tips:
- Fill up your tires to their maximum PSI.
- Avoid excessive air conditioning.
- Avoid premium gasoline.
- Drive the speed limit – it saves on gas and tickets.
- Pack less luggage.
Those are just a few tips for taking an affordable road trip – add those to the list you already have and you can have a great car trip without breaking the bank.