With the economy downfalls and gas prices rising, road trips become more and more expensive. When the summer arrives, we are always tempted to take our car and hit the road! Unfortunately, this impulsive thinking may cost you a lot of money if you do not apply some of the best ways to save money! There are 3 major roadblocks that can really boost your budget during a road trip: Gas, lodging and food! Check out how you can save money on these items:
Plan your trip
We cannot afford to go on the road without some planning ahead. Planning ahead is one of the best ways to save money in general and on a road trip in particular. By planning, you will reduce the risks of getting lost and driving around aimlessly, which will save money on gas. You will know where to stop to eat or buy food that will help you reduce your grocery bill. Now I am not suggesting to schedule every minute of your road trip. Leave some room for surprises and unknown to increase the charm of a road trip. I usually plan the stops to fill up on gas, buy food and find rest areas to enjoy a picnic. Consider using a GPS that will help you with directions and traffic slow downs like the TomTom START 45TM GPS Navigator with Lifetime Traffic & Maps and Roadside Assistance. If you don’t have one, you can download free apps that can do the job pretty well.
Pack your own food to save money on food:
Buying ready-to-eat food can cost a lot of money. Bring some healthy summer snacks for your family, such as dried fruits, homemade muffins, or nuts. Don’t forget the drinks. When going for a trip (long or short one), I bring a cooler. I have 2 coolers one that is for long trips and one for shorter ones. I try to make at least 2 servings of sandwiches, fruits, drinks. When we stop to fill in the gas, I buy extra ice to keep the food cool. I also bring a picnic cloth and table utensils to set a picnic table during one of our stops! Kids love that! It is a real treat for them and for our budget.
Consider camping lodging
If you are planning a long trip, consider camping. It is cheaper than lodging in hotels. Now if you do not have your camping tools, don’t go crazy over it: you can borrow a tent and a portable barbecue from friends. If you like it, you can check out special deals for tents and camping equipment. It may cost more money upfront but it can be used over years.
Tune up your car to save money on gas
By tuning up your car, you will reduce car consumption and ensure you will have a safe drive. We usually change the air filter and check the tire pressure before hitting the road! Nothing major but will help you save money on gas.
The faster you drive, the more your engine will consume gas. Slow down, enjoy the scenery and avoid tickets! Last trip we did not apply this tip and got a ticket. It was frustrating. If you have a cruise control set it on an appropriate speed and enjoy your drive.
Olfa is the blogger behind OurFamilyWorld: a magazine for busy parents seeking family balance. She loves traveling, cooking and spending quality time with her family.