Don’t think that sticking to a budget means the only trips your family can take this summer are to the ice cream shop and pool. Two things you rarely hear together is vacation and saving money, but there are ways to make sure you get a break, spend time as a family and avoid breaking the bank.
If you’re not looking to spend hours on the Internet scouring discount vacation sites, you might want to consider a road trip as a cheaper alternative. Not only can road-tripping introduce you to some really unique sites, but with a little planning you can save a bundle.
Check out these simple tips to getting the most out of your road trip while spending less:
A commonly overlooked part of taking a road trip is dealing with vehicle maintenance. Plan on having some regular maintenance like oil changes and tire rotations done before you leave to make sure your car is running smoothly. It’s a far better idea to spend extra cash on maintenance at home as opposed to paying for an expensive repair in the middle of your trip.
Although part of the fun of a road trip is finding the unexpected, having no planned route means a lot of wandering and getting lost. Not only does this waste time from a budgeting perspective, but not planning your route means you’ll spend a lot more on gas.
Food expenses can really add up when you’re on the road. Rather than stop for three meals a day, pack a cooler with drinks, snacks and lunchmeat to cut down on your food budget. This will this help you save money and avoid unhealthy eating.
- Bring a backup map of the area you’ll be travelling to in case your GPS or phone loses the signal.
- Be sure to bring ample cash to cover tolls and retailers that won’t accept cards.
- Don’t overextend yourself. Plan on switching drivers or taking breaks to ensure you’re driving safely.
T-shirts from every state are great, but souvenirs are one of the most price-inflated items you can buy. Try looking for unique items that aren’t necessarily souvenirs so you can remember your trip without overspending. Also consider how many times you will really use an Arizona shot glass or wear an oversized Montana sweater before you shell out top dollar.
Hotel costs can add up quickly on a road trip, so consider staying with friends or family if possible. Even if it’s for only one night, a family can save up to a hundred dollars on a hotel and get the chance to catch up with people they don’t get to see often.
Stopping at the pump is an unfortunate but necessary part of a road trip. Because you can’t avoid paying for gas, look for ways to maximize your investment. If your credit card offers cash back on gas, use that. Consider downloading the GasBuddy app on your phone to find the cheapest prices in your area.