If you want to save money on a trip, then deciding to travel by road instead of a flight is the ultimate start. Road trips give you more liberty in your itinerary and schedule, and the potential savings can be worth it, particularly if you are traveling with family or a few friends. However, between gas, food, and accommodation, the cost can add up quickly. Fortunately, there are simple tips to help you save money on your road trips. Whether you’ll be on the road for a few months or a few days, here are a few tips to consider.
Map Out Your Route
Working out your route before getting on the road will ensure that you don’t have to backtrack or spend time aimlessly driving, which can cost you more money in the long run. Ascertain how many miles you’ll be traveling, where all your stops will be, and how long the trip should take. This will make it easier to estimate costs and develop a budget. Remember to research any road work and construction that might affect the trip, as well as toll roads.
Utilize a Packing List
Another significant advantage of traveling by road instead of taking a flight is that you can carry whatever you want with you. With this in mind, you can prepare an in-depth packing list to make sure you don’t forget any essentials and avoid paying for them once you get on the road. Essentials such as sunscreen, toiletries, and phone chargers all cost more when purchased on the road.
Develop a Budget and Stick to It
One of the top ways to save money on the road is to create a budget. You cannot save money if you don’t have an idea of how much you can afford to spend. While planning and making a budget, here are some key areas to factor into your budget:
- Toiletries, ice, souvenirs, laundry
If saving money on your road trip is crucial to you, then you have to monitor and record your every expense to ensure you are still on target.
Plan Every Gas Stop
You can’t take a road trip without putting gas in your vehicle. Fortunately, there are ways to save on fuel costs on the road. To start, there are apps that can help you save money at the pump. With these apps, you can locate the cheapest gas prices near you and plan a route to get there. Avoid buying gas in remote locations, as the prices will likely be more expensive.
Get Favorable Accommodation
Cost-effective accommodation is another great way to save money on your trip. Hotels usually list their cheaper rooms ahead of time, so consider making reservations before getting on the road. Ensure you make as many reservations as possible, depending on the information you have about the trip. Working out your route ahead of time will make this much easier. Compare hotels and do your research to avoid spending too much. You can even consider other accommodation options, such as AirBnBs.
Camp When Possible
If you’re still looking to save some more money, then consider camping occasionally during your trip instead of always booking a hotel room. There are multiple free campsites where you can get some sleep without even spending a penny. If you’re looking for some luxury, there are also paid campsites which are still cheaper than AirBnBs and hotels, and often come with hot showers and places to cook. Camping is not only an affordable option, but it also allows you to enjoy the great outdoors.
Save On Gas By Driving Economically
Research proves that fuel efficiency reduces as speed increases. Always drive reasonably, following the speed limits. Speeding might also result in pricey tickets. Another easy way to drive economically and save money is to avoid using air conditioning.
Inspect Your Car in Advance to Avoid Roadside Repairs
Unexpected car troubles can not only ruin your entire road trip, but they can also be quite costly to deal with. Consider giving your vehicle a check-up before leaving for your trip. Here are some basic things to inspect before leaving:
- Tire tread.
- Tire pressure
- Fluid levels
- Fully-functioning headlights
- Fully-functioning wipers
Prepare a Car Emergency Kit
While many do their best to avoid roadside issues, there’s still a chance for unexpected occurrences. The more ready you are to deal with that situation, the less frustrated you’ll be when it occurs. Here are some essentials you should have in your car emergency kit:
- Spare tire and jack
- Car battery or jumper cables
- Reflective vest or flare and cones
- First aid kit
- Winter travel
Travel Outside the Peak Season
If you’d prefer to stay in AirBnBs or hotels, then chances are you can save big by traveling during the off-season. Shoulder or off seasons still often have good weather and all the attractions you’d want to see. During this period, attractions happen to be uncrowded and cost way less money to get in. Plus, you’ll possibly be more fortunate finding last-minute hotel rooms and campsites.
Always Opt for Free Attractions
While road trips are primarily about the trip itself, visiting some attractions along the way can also be quite fun. However, visiting attractions can get costly because of exorbitant entry fees. Make your road trip more cost-effective by trying out free attractions instead when you want to get out of the car and stretch your legs.
Go to the local park, beach, or playground. Pack some hiking gear so that you can go hiking when possible. If you’ll be visiting numerous national parks at once, try buying an annual pass. Before getting on the road, research festivals or museums along the route you’ll be taking.
No matter where your road trip destination is, paying to park your vehicle has become more common these days, and is often unavoidable. If you’re looking to save money, consider using parking apps like SpotHero or Way, which will get you a parking spot, show you how much it costs, and often allow you to book a spot in advance.
If you are looking to hit the road, these above tips will keep your road trip within your determined budget.