How to Save Money on Road Trips
Often when we go on a road trip, we find ourselves spending a lot of money on things that are rather frivolous. We all love to go out to eat and to tourist attractions and I don't want to detract you from doing this. But there are many cases where we spend needless money on road trips that is fairly pointless to the trip itself.
For instance, we like to go out to eat, but how many times for lunch do you stop at fast food joints and just order a hamburger and fries? The same thing could probably be bought in the exact city & town that you started from. S
o I suggest that if you would like to save money on road trips, to go ahead and pack a sandwich and drinks if you frequent fast food for lunches. This rule applies to breakfast as well. If you typically go to common "breakfast establishments" for "pancakes", you will not get anything custom that benefits your trip. All you are doing is spending your money on something that you could have bought near your home. You can simply pack some breakfast food and save yourself a lot of money on breakfast.
If you are traveling with children or guests, it doesn't take much math to add up just how much on the road food costs you. Now I don't want to discourage you to never eat out, but I would stick to local or custom places that have a special influence on where you are traveling. For instance, when my family was driving to San Antonio, TX, there is a famous beef jerky store on the way down. Instead of spending all the money at eateries, we decided to save the money, pack our food, and buy about $10 worth of beef jerky
. This gave us the fun of buying a local & custom food item without having to spend $60 at to diners (plus tip). We all gnawed on the jerky for several hours and had our fill of a local & cultural place for much cheaper.
You can also save a lot of money on road trips by making sure that you vehicle has the right (or over inflated slightly) tire pressure, a fresh oil change, and a clean air filter. All contribute to getting better miles per gallon - MPG. As expensive as gas is today, you want to be sure to save as much money as possible on your drive.
If you have children and the weather permits, bring tents & sleeping gear. State parks all across the country are MUCH cheaper (and often much cleaner) than hotels. You can have a ton of fun and a great adventure simply by owning a few tents and bringing your camping gear with you. It doesn't have to be "super camping" but just enough for you to be comfortable with until you arrive at your destination. A thousand mile trip can often take 2-3 days, and you can save a virtual fortune by camping for two nights until you arrive at your destination where you will be more comfortable in the lodging there.
Be sure to bring fun activities & snacks that makes the overnight stops fun. When you arrive at destinations, be sure to not be tempted to buy souvenirs that are meaningless. For instance, if you go see a cave, a stupid plastic snake and marbles is not a good reminder of a cave. Often 1 book for the family should be sufficient. Be smart and wise with your money as souvenir shops are without doubt always overpriced.
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