Dreaming of hitting the road this summer, but a lack of funds standing in your way? No worries, these tips will get you “back on the road again” (cue music) in no time! Learn how to save money on your next road trip.
Plan ahead – Save Money
I think this one goes without saying, but just in case, we’ll talk about it anyway. Taking a last-minute road trip may have been fun in your college days, but hitting the road without a plan when you have kids in tow isn’t the best idea – and it’ll cost ya!
Plan as far ahead of time as you can, but prepare for changes to be made – just in case.
Let go of the strict schedule – Save Money
Being flexible will not only help reduce your stress level, it will allow you to save money. If you can travel during the week, you’re going to save on lodging and food. If you must travel on the weekend, try to take the trip in the off-season. The off-season will vary depending on the location you choose.
Skip the drive-thru – Save Money
Packing a cooler with lots of ice, water to drink, and stuff for sandwiches probably gives you flash backs of the money-saving road trips you took as a child. Or, maybe that’s just me! But it’s a great way to save a lot of money – and that money can be used on fun stuff like amusement park passes or movie tickets. Instead of eating out three times each day on your trip, try to just eat lunch out. It’s cheaper, will give you a chance to walk around and stretch your legs, and will keep you from getting tired of sandwiches.
Even if you eat off the dollar menu, you can easily spend $15 to $20 each meal at the drive-thru. Why spend $60 or more each day, when you could pack meals for much less?
If you’re opposed to packing sandwiches, at least pack drinks and snacks. With younger children, snack costs can add up fast!
Rent a car – Save Money
How is renting a car going to save money? Well, maybe it will, maybe it won’t. If you currently drive a gas-guzzling SUV, renting a fuel-efficient sedan could actually be cheaper than driving your own vehicle. You will need to weigh the pros and cons for your individual trip, but if the price to rent the car is only $20 a day (and it will use $50 a day less in gas), that’s a good reason to go ahead and rent!
Also, think about the wear and tear you’ll be putting on your own vehicle if you use it – you won’t have to worry about that if you rent one.
Save on gas.
Accessing free websites on your SmartPhone like GasBuddy.com can save money, too. I’ve found that in some areas, gas can be as much as $.25 a gallon different just blocks from each other.
Turn off the A/C when you can. No, not when it’s 100 degrees outside, but when it’s at that “iffy” temperature where you’re not sure if you should roll the windows down or not, go ahead and do it. It will save you gas, and in turn will save money.
Use cruise control, if you can. If not, you should still pay close attention to your speed. Driving the speed limit will not only save you gas, it will save you a lot of money – one speeding ticket could ruin your budget, and your trip!
My best tip:
My best tip for taking a road trip is to have fun! Just relax, take everything in stride, and remember that even though everything may not be perfect, you’re still together as a family and enjoying a vacation!