When you’re on a tight budget, road trips are the way to go. Compared to getting 5 people on a flight, a road trip can be a very inexpensive way to vacation. But still, everything costs money.
And if you’re not careful, you can blow through your budget very quickly. That’s why its important to have a budget and stick to it. Planning always helps, and there are a few ways you can save money while you’re on the road.
Prepare your car
Getting stuck on the side of the road is up there with the worst things that could possibly happen on a road trip. Everyone will be miserable as you miss out on the fun stuff you had planned, but worse than that, it will cost you big. Take the time and money to get your car serviced before you embark on your journey. In the long run, the cost may be substantially less than if you get stuck somewhere.
And if you’re driving around an old beater, it may be time for a new vehicle.
You can get a great deal on pre-owned Volvo cars right now, so that might be a good option. Otherwise, consider the cost of renting a car for the trip. If your car is in bad enough shape, it may be the better option financially.
When you get lost on a road trip, you lose precious time and waste expensive gas. It is definitely not ideal. You should invest in a reliable GPS system, but still, take some time to review your route before you leave. As an alternative, you can use navigation apps as well. Between Apple Maps vs Route4Me, both are great choices since you can optimize routes, track traffic and plan your stops. You can get lost even with GPS navigation if you have no idea where you’re going.
Also, if you plan hotel stays in advance, you can find places that are reasonably priced instead of relying on whatever is closest when you get tired. You don’t have to book the hotels in advance, it’s probably better that you don’t, but you should have a general idea of where you’ll stay.
Use gas apps
Gas is going to eat up a large portion of your budget, so you’ll want to save money where you can. You can save a lot by crossing state lines to get gas, if you know what you’re doing. For example, gas is typically a lot cheaper in New Jersey than in New York. If you’re about to drive through the garden state, don’t fill up your tank in the big apple. There are free apps like Gas Buddy that can help you find the cheapest gas wherever you are.
Save on dining
Dining is another big expense on any vacation, but you can easily cut that bill in half or better. Whenever possible, go to the grocery store and stock up on waters, granola bars, oatmeal and ramen noodles. You can run hot water through the coffee maker at your hotel to make oatmeal or ramen any time.
When it’s time to dine out, always check sites like Groupon first to see if you can find a good deal.
With a little advanced planning, it’s possible to have a great time and stay on budget during your road trip.