I like a good staycation as much as the next person, but sometimes what I really want is a good, old-fashioned road trip.
Getting out on the open road, heading for adventure, is one of my favorite ways to travel. I rarely get tired of seeing new places and things. However, a road trip can get expensive. With planning, though, you can save some money on your next road trip.
Here are 8 road trip money saving tips to help you get the most for your road trip dollar:
1. Make sure your car is ready
You will get better gas mileage if you make sure that your car is properly maintained and ready to go. Make sure all service is up to date and tires are properly maintained and inflated. Remember good driving practices, too. Don’t speed; not only will your gas mileage be reduced, but you also run the risk of an expensive ticket.
2. Pack light
Consider how much you really need to bring. If you can do laundry along the way, you might not need as much. Considering leaving some of the gadgets and gizmos at home. Packing light will help improve your vehicle’s efficiency on the road.
3. Bring some of your own food
We have a cooler that we fill with condiments, deli meat, some fruit, cheese, salad stuff and other food items. This way, we don’t have to buy as much food along the way. We can replenish the ice easily from grocery stores along the way, or from hotels.
4. Plan your restaurant stops
Go a little off the highway to find low-cost eateries — mom and pop places can be good choices for family style eating at a low price. You can also look online before you go for restaurants that offer kids eat free deals. Consider splitting entrees if you want to save a little bit, or ordering two or three appetizers to share, instead of entrees.
5. Do a little shopping
Instead of eating out all the time, consider buying food from grocery stores. Head into town, away from the highway, to find stores with more reasonable prices. It’ll cost less than eating out all the time.
6. Stay smart
Plan your road trip around smart staying options. You might be able to camp one or two nights, saving you money on hotel rooms. Consider staying with friends and relatives along your route (just be willing to let them stay with you in turn). If you do stay in a hotel, see if you can find one with a free breakfast. That’s one meal you won’t have to pay for (and it can help you get back on the road faster too). If there’s a pool, you’ll have solid entertainment for the kids.
7. Look for discounts
Before you go, check for discounts at local attractions. You can plan to be in a town on its free museum day (or kids free at the zoo day), or you can look for two-for-one passes at a local fun park or amusement park. Look for free entertainment options as well. County fairs often offer free admission and low-cost rides. Check for concerts in the park, and local parks to stop and play in.
8. Coupons and deal sites
While you’re looking for discounts, check into coupons and deal sites. If you know that you will be stopping in a certain town, sign up for a Groupon or Living Social alert for that locality.
With some planning and creativity, you can road trip for less, stretching your vacation dollars and enjoying a good time.