Road trip! Road trip! Road trip!
If you could only hear those words, I bet you would be so excited.
That’s how my family say it when we are about to go on the road and to our destination. Of course, there are things that we always do before the road trip starts.
Road trips can be expensive but it doesn’t always have to be expensive. Who wants to spend a lot of money on travel anyways?
As much as we want to travel, my family ensures that we don’t always go above our travel budget. It is really easy to overspend when you are travelling especially when you see and want to do a lot of things.
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How to save money on road trips
Here are some of the tips and tricks on how to save money on road trips. These are some of the many things we always make sure we check in order to save money.
First thing you need to do to save money on road trips is to pre-plan.
Before leaving for your road trip, it’s better to research for directions and destinations. Search for places you want to visit and book them in advance to avoid the dreaded “NO VACANCY” situation or avoid paying over your budget.
Research for restaurants you want to eat in, places you want to visit while at your destination, and others. Try taking food with you as it will help you decrease your food spending when you are on travel.
I highly recommend you use your GPS. Having said that, always bring your map with you just in case your GPS breaks or some unfortunate event happens with your GPS. You don’t want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere.
Once you figured out where you want and what you need to do, the next thing you is set up a budget. If you have a hard time setting and following a budget or or simply don't know where to start but want to, Qapital is a great option.
It lets you save for the things you want, just by doing the things you do. Buying a coffee? Filling up gas? You'll save money with Qapital. The idea is simple but the lasting impact is big. Here's how it works.
First, you set a goal. For me, it was to save enough to take a Las Vegas trip. I set the “rules,” which, when triggered, transfer money into my Qapital account.
For example, if I meet my daily-step goal, $4 is transferred in. Or if I make a purchase of $5.85, the leftover 15 cents is transferred over. Those transfers go to my Las Vegas trip goal.
We saved $6,000 last year towards our goals because of Qapital. Best of all, we didn't expect to save that much money. We went to Vegas with so much money left we used for other vacation trips.
Click here to create a FREE account with Qapital and start saving money without lifting a finger.
Pro tip: One of the best ways to save money while spending money for road trips is to use Spentapp. It is a FREE personal financial assistant app that helps you save money by analyzing your expenses, identifying your money mistakes, and recommending financial decisions. Plus, you can get up to 45% cash back on many things you normally buy. Click here to get Spentapp now.
Make sure your car is clean as you and your family are going to spend a long time in there.
It is important to match the pressure of your car’s tires with the specs in your owner’s manual to avoid putting too much pressure on your vehicle’s tires and to save some gas as well. Tires that are at optimal pressure can improve your car’s gas efficiency.
If your tires’ thread is low, you may need to change the tires for new ones. You don’t want to drive on worn out tires as they can be dangerous. If the thread is good, then, rotate your tires or follow your vehicle’s recommendation for tire rotation.
In case you have an older car and don’t want to risk driving it on a long distance, it may be best to rent a car. To get the best rates, make sure you book a rental car ahead of your departure and get rental price quotes from different sites.
Place to stay
If you are driving long miles, you will definitely need to stay at night somewhere. While you can sleep in your car and some people prefer to do that, it may not be a good idea when you have kids with you.
This doesn’t mean though that you need to book a hotel room right away or go to the nearest hotels near you. There are still other options.
Here are some tips for saving on accommodations while you are on a trip:
When you are traveling with kids or even with your friends, camping has always been a perfect solution. There are some camp spots where you can stay but you may need to pay a small amount of fee.
In order to avoid paying, take your own camping gears with you along the trip. If you like specific sites, then, camp there with your family/friends. Some camping gears you will need to bring are water resistant flashlights and camping lantern.
- Stay with people you know
When you plan a trip, make sure you get in touch with your friends and family who may be on your way to your final destination. They’ll be glad to entertain you especially when you haven’t seen them in a while.
With them, you can enjoy their company and can even tour you and your family around. This saves money and you get to meet your loved ones as well.
- In case none of the above applies
If there is no relative or friend of yours or camping place you're comfortable using, one of the awesome places to get a great hotel price is thru Spent Travel. You can search from millions of hotels to find your desired room at a great rate plus cash back. Some cash back savings include New York (10% average cash back on hotels), Las Vegas (14%), and Chicago (10%).
To save money on road trips means to bring your essentials.
You should travel with the right travel accessories such as flashlight, map, emergency blankets, water bottles, and food.
These things will not only reduce your travel stress level but also save you money because you won’t need to buy them when you get to the destination, which may not be on sale or have steep prices.
You must have the emergency kit with you in the car because accidents can happen at any time during your travel.
If you are on a strict budget or have knowledge with DIYing some emergency essentials, you can even make your own essentials like gauze, bandages, and ointments.
Almost always bring some entertaining materials such as the DVD player and video games for children especially when you are going for a long trip. Go to the library and borrow some DVDs and books.
You can save money on road trips by preparing your own foods. Food is another main expense on the road trips.
Whenever my family goes for a vacation, we always pack our own food. Why? Foods we prepare are healthier and fit with our tastes.
We don’t know what ingredients are in the foods at the gas stations. Plus, foods at the gas stations and restaurants are almost always expensive compared with the foods we make.
Here are few tips on how you can manage food and save money:
- Take food from your home like cheese, sandwiches, or any other favorite dish of yours. Making your own food and taking those with you will lessen the chance of you getting hungry while on the road. This means, you won’t need to wait when you go to a next food stop to get something to eat.
- If you prefer eating outside, then, eat at local dinner places than at chain restaurant as chain restaurants tend to be more expensive.
- Every day you are on your trip, pack your own meals. Pack foods like sandwiches, peanut butter, fruits, vegetables, rice and any other dish you would like to take with you.
- Bring your own drinks while on your trip. Drinks will be expensive especially when you buy them from convenient stores, parks, theme parks, and the likes.
- Book a hotel with a small kitchen and refrigerator. This way, you can bring some raw ingredients and cook meals in your hotel room.
- Book a hotel with FREE complimentary breakfast. Take some breakfast foods and eat them as snacks, for lunch, and even for dinner.
The trip may or will be long and being in your car for a long time will make you get tired and bored. Oh yeah, if you have kids, then, that’s another battle, too.
Some forms of entertainment while on your way to your destination will make your family’s travel a more pleasant one. There are many ways to entertain every family member who’s with you on the trip and it doesn’t have to cost a lot.
Try out some from these tips to make your trip pleasant:
- Be creative and play the games that you used to play when you were kids and on travel. No need for gadgets, cellphones, etc. Try out the games like license plate game or alphabet game or any other games that your family would like to play. You can even ask trivia questions and taking turns asking those questions.
- Tell stories. Kids and even adults like to hear stories. Whether they are comedy or scary by nature, those in your car will surely listen to your stories.
- For a short break, stop your car by a beautiful. Get out of the car, stretch your legs, get comfortable, and stare at the beautiful variety of objects that nature is offering. This way you will feel comfy and refreshed.
You have the food with you, your important belongings, and other things. So, you just need a space to spend a night. Choose any local rest area, spend the night, pay less, and you are good to go for the next day.
Gas is always a major expense for you when you are on a long road trip.
That’s why some people avoid long trips as this doesn’t fit in their budget.
A road trip is one of the best ways to save money when travelling. It may be more cost effective to fly if you are travelling alone. But it is definitely more expensive when you’re travelling with your family.
In this case, a road trip is more economical.
Here are some tips on how you can save money on road trips (i.e. for gas):
- Use GasBuddy app
Before you leave for the road trip, make sure the GasBuddy app is installed in your cell phone in order to find the way to the gas station.
Instead of rushing here and there and from town to town trying to find the gas station with the best price, go with the gas app. It will help you find the exact location of the gas stations in the current town you will be and their gas prices.
- Avoid the rush
You waste a great amount of gas when you are stuck in a heavy traffic. Make a detour and find other roads with less traffic. You can even make a stop and let the traffic ease up a little bit. You can always use your GPS to help you find alternate routes.
Don't use your phone for GPS direction as you may need it when you get lost. You don't want to drain your battery especially when you need it the most.
- Make sure tire pressure is optimal
Make sure that your car tires’ pressure is optimal. This means that you need to follow what the tire pressure is as indicated on your tire user’s manual or car manual.
- Use cruise control
Driving your car at a stable speed translates into gas efficiency.
Let your banks or credit card companies know regarding your future road trip that you are planning and let them know about the destination details, if you need to, so you don’t lose the right to needed funds.
Many of the banks and credit card corporations will tag out-of-state, recurrent charges as falsified and will hold on your account.
You don’t want and need that when you and your family are on travel.
Sometimes you just want to reach your destination fast. This want may not be the best way to save money on road trips.
Studies have proven that your gas consumption increases when your car’s speed increases. To make it worse, when you go above the speed limit, chances are you may get a traffic ticket if cops catches you driving like a maniac.
Drive legally and safely. Road discipline is your responsibility. Make your road trip remarkable and disciplined by following road rules.
Deals, promotions, and packages
Check out available deals in the city you are planning to visit. You can use Spentapp to find coupon codes and deals for extra discounts.
If you are visiting a highly-visited place, chances are there are a ton of deals, promotions, and packages you can avail and take advantage of. My family does this all the time when we travel.
I’ll tell you that we save a ton of money on activities, dining, attractions, and others.
These are the tips and tricks on how to save money on road trips. My family travel from time to time and these are those things that help us save a ton of money.
Are you ready to go on a travel? What tips and tricks do you have that help you save money on road trips?