Road trips can be a wonderful way to spend some time out on the open road, taking in the scenery as you enjoy a vacation or day trip. Taking a road trip as a vacation is a common pastime for many people, while other people use road trips as a way to avoid expensive flights on the way to their vacation destination. However, despite how enjoyable and exciting road trips can be, they can easily cost you a lot of money if you don’t plan and prepare accordingly. Here are a few different ways to save money on your next road trip:
If you’re going on a long road trip, you’re going to get hungry along the way. Packing a cooler of snacks is a great way to not only satisfy your appetite, but to prevent yourself from stopping at a fast food restaurant or diner along the way. Those restaurant receipts start to add up pretty quickly.
Eating cheaply is another way to save money when you’re on a road trip. You don’t always need to eat at fancy restaurants or get takeout every single time you book a hotel room. Sometimes getting a quick meal or stopping at the grocery store for supplies is the cheapest way to fund a road trip. After all, making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch will cost you a lot less than stopping at a roadside diner.
Check Your Car
Before you set out on a road trip, remember to check your car and make sure that it’s in working order! The last thing you want is for your car to break down once you’re on the road. It’ll end up being much more expensive to repair your car the further you area from home. Save by fixing your car yourself. Here’s how.
Set a Budget
One of the best ways to save money while on a road trip is by setting a budget. You may not think you’ll need a lot of money, but there are always expenses such as attractions, hotels, and restaurants. Setting a budget allows you to stay within a certain spending limits and not deviate from a planned schedule. After all, you never know when you might need emergency money and you don’t want to find yourself short on cash or maxing out your credit card.
When going on a road trip, you should remember to pack only what you think you’ll need. For instance, if you plan to stop at the beach, remember to pack towels and sandals and everything you might need for that trip. If you plan to stop and visit a forest or reserve to go hiking, make sure you have the right shoes and other accessories. Some people would rather pack light and buy what they need during the trip, but this ends up being a waste of money.
There are so many deal sites on the internet that you can find a cheap deal on a restaurant, hotel, or attraction almost anywhere you go. If you’re looking to save money on a road trip, install an app on your smartphone that alerts you to deals in your area. This is a great way to not only check out places you might not have otherwise found, but to save a few bucks on your next meal or on an entertainment venue.
You might be surprised by how many people don’t plan ahead when they choose to go on a road trip. Some people enjoy going on spontaneous road trips and just seeing where the road takes them. While this can be exciting, sometimes having a plan is the best way to travel. For instance, if you’re planning on sleeping in a hotel instead of your car, you don’t want to end up stopping somewhere where the only vacancies are well out of your price range. You also want to make sure you have enough provisions to last you the trip so you don’t have to run out and spend money restocking everything. Bottom line: planning saves tons of money.
Avoid Peak Travel Days and Times
Traveling on peak days and times might also mean spending more money. For instance, you’ll spend more time in traffic and therefore spend more money on gas when you travel during rush hours or holidays. If you travel during peak seasons, hotel rooms are typically more expensive. Consider combining your holiday’s as well!
A lot of people hand over a large amount of money for top of the line hotel rooms. While no one wants to sleep in a horrible, rundown hotel room, you also don’t need to be spending a ridiculous amount of money for a bed to sleep in. If you’re planning to book a hotel room just to sleep in, why not choose something cheap? After all, what’s the point of paying hundreds of dollars for a fancy hotel room when all you’re going to use it for is to sleep and shower?
Avoid Impulse Buying
Impulse buying is almost always detrimental to your finances. Impulse buying can be twice as bad on a road trip. You might visit a location you’ve never been and convince yourself that you need to have a souvenir, even if you don’t have the money to purchase it or room to store it for the rest of your trip. Or you might stop at the grocery store for drinks and sandwiches and come away with a bag full of junk food you don’t need. If you’re heading off on a road trip and are trying to be smart about how much money you spend, make sure you don’t accidentally succumb to impulse purchases.