Summer has officially arrived, and there is no better time to pack your bags than for exciting road trips! Whether you are visiting family a few hours away or are exploring a string of far-off destinations, you can load your vacation with fun activities without breaking the bank. Check out our tips to get the most bang for your buck as you prepare to hit the road.
Money Tips for Road Trips
Plan Ahead and Pack Wisely
The best way to start budget-friendly road trips is to create a budget of course! If you have an established route, use gas comparison sites to find the cheapest gas. If you plan to travel more freely, still consider alternative budgets beforehand to be sure that you can avoid frivolous spending.
Take your car into the mechanic to check for anything worrisome – there’s nothing worse than cutting your trip short because of avoidable car troubles. Pack lightly and roll your clothes instead of folding them to maximize space. Create a list of things that you need depending on where you are going instead of over packing. Then, set aside space for first-aid and roadside repair kits.
Cheap Gas and Great Mileage
There is more to getting great gas mileage than driving the most fuel-efficient car. For starters, be sure that your tires are inflated and aligned so you aren’t losing efficiency from the get-go and use cruise control whenever possible.
Coast into stop signs instead of keeping the pedal to the metal, and lightly accelerate back to cruising speed. Use your fans instead of air conditioning and you will be amazed at the savings! Gas prices are no joke, so take any opportunity to save on gas.
Save on Snacks and Meals
One of the largest costs associated with road trips is food, but there are many ways to cut costs and still eat well. Avoid fast food by packing filling, healthy snacks like granola, nuts, and crackers. Bring a cooler filled with sandwiches, fruit, and other perishables. Also, avoid impulse food and drink purchases at gas stations and stick to your budget to the best of your ability.
Scout out deal and coupon sites for restaurant discounts along your travel route. Try to cook your own food during overnight stays. It will always be cheaper to buy from a grocery store as opposed to gas stations. A trip to grab snacks before you leave can make a big difference for your bottom line.
Affordable On and Off-Road Entertainment
There are a ton of ways to have fun on the road that are low to no cost. You can stake out visits to State and National Parks, which are often cheap or free and offer a variety of activities for the whole family. You can also check out online coupon services for the best deals once you reach your hotel or bed and breakfast.
Book Your Overnight Stays in Advance
A constant theme of saving on the road is planning, which seriously comes into play when booking lodging. The farther in advance that you can make your reservation, the more you can save on hotel rooms and Airbnb. Be aware of promotions and opportunities to cash in on reward points, too.
Once you shop around and cash in on all the deals, you can spend time having fun instead of spending money getting there!
Author Bio: Haley Kieser covers financial topics for CarMax and other notable brands. One thing she loves more than writing – saving money!