Getting out on the open road is one of the best parts of the summer. There’s so much to explore and do. Driving the long winding highways with your favorite music on full blast is straight up cathartic. But seeing the money slowly drain from your bank account isn’t such a great feeling.
Road trips can be expensive, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll have to break your piggy bank just to have the trip of a lifetime. Travelling doesn’t have to expensive. It just takes some simple preparation and a thoughtful mindset on the road. Here are the best ways to save money while cruising down the interstate!
Pack Ahead of Time
Just when you’re back on the highway, someone will inevitably complain that they’re about to starve. And if it’s not someone else, it’s your own stomach betraying you. We’ve all got to eat and when you’re on vacation, the cost adds up whether you’re grabbing fast food or uncomfortably watching your tableside salad be prepared.
Today, everything’s expensive, but you can offset the costs if you buy your own food for your trip. You probably won’t be able to eat completely out of your cooler, but by packing bottled water, road snacks, and even dinner that you can make over a campfire, you’ll save a little cash. You’ll be glad you packed the food and your friends or family won’t mind plundering the cooler either!
Have Your Accommodations Lined Up
Unless you’ll be driving a Winnebago or sleeping in a tent, you’ll need somewhere to stay. You should do this before you leave on your road trip. If you reserve a room weeks to months ahead of time—and on a reliable website—you’ll get better rates. You also won’t run into a problem if the hotel you planned on staying at isn’t offering any rooms.
Don’t book dirt-cheap rooms for the sake of saving money. You probably won’t be happy with what you find. Look at the reviews for the hotels you’re considering before you reserve. Planning this beforehand will also give you the time to look for safe and clean campgrounds if you plan on sleeping under the stars.
Know Where You’re Going
We’ve all dealt with the frustration of being completely and utterly lost. Getting lost is a great way to get angry with yourself and your travel companions. You’ll also lose a ton of gas driving around aimlessly. Make sure to plan ahead before you set off on the road.
Set up a route and agree on it with your companions. If you like the freedom of being able to go wherever you want, make sure you have a general idea of where you’ll be wandering around and make sure you have a GPS device on board, even if it’s your cellphone.
Know your Limits
Set a budget before you even leave the house. Every cent you spend while on the road will be a part of that. Your goal should be to never max out your budget. Having goals motivates us and drives us to accomplish things that we otherwise might not do. If you’re someone who spends a lot of money, by giving yourself a budget, you’ll probably be able to save a little bit more than you may have expected.
Knowing your monetary limits is important. While on your road trip, there might be places you’d like to go, restaurants you wish you could eat at and souvenirs you’d like to buy. If you’re serious about spending money, you should seriously consider every purchase and know which ones you can’t afford. Remember, you still have to pay for gas, food, and hotel accommodations.
Have Fun for Free
Just because you have to stay within a budget doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to fun. There are plenty of great things to do that are absolutely free! Go exploring a town, go to the beaches, or take a hike through a state park. You can go find out the local lore of a town for yourself and go on a self-guided tour. Most of the fun of a road trip is exploring, so get to it!
Make sure to mark some of the cool landmarks or places you might want to visit beforehand. That way, you’ll have plenty of fun, free things to do all around you. At the end of the trip, you’ll have tons of photographs, too. And in the end, don’t you always remember the times you made your own fun more than anything else?
Summer is the best time to go on an unforgettable road trip! You shouldn’t have to deal with the stress of running your bank account down to pennies, though! By using these simple tips, you can save money while creating lasting memories with the people you love. Safe travels!