The family road trip can be a great experience, but it can easily go over your budget. I can’t tell you how many times we went over our family budget because we simply didn’t have a plan of action. That’s when I developed these 8 simple ways to say money on family road trips.
- Carefully plan everything at home. It’s easier to plan ahead than to come up with last-minute solutions on the road. You can find a variety of deals online, make phone calls, and compare rates. Book your arrangements ahead of time so you can actually use your vacation to oh I don’t know, actually relax and enjoy it!
- Compare gas prices. Gas prices often fluctuate from one area to the next.Use apps and websites to see the gas prices along your route. You can compare gas stations and read reviews. My favorite app is Gas Buddy. As far as I know this app is only for iPhones (sorry Android users) however, I am sure there are other great options. I love Gas Buddy because it is super easy to use. I haven’t let my 5-year-old use it but I am sure even he could use it.
- Reduce the cost of food. Fast food is convenient, but the cost can quickly add up during a road trip. This is another opportunity to do research ahead and find the most economical restaurants. I love using Google Map reviews, the Yelp app and a good ol’ fashion web search.Restaurants aren’t the only option.
- Consider getting a large cooler with ice to pack food and beverages. You can also make pit stops at grocery stores to fill up your cooler with more snacks and meals. Your cooler may hold enough food for a couple of days, but you may find that you still want to eat out sometimes.
Check twice to ensure you’ve packed essentials. Did you remember to bring all of your medication and other medical supplies? You can save money by avoiding a trip to a pharmacy.Do you have enough clothes and shoes for everyone? What about underwear?Are you prepared for emergencies?Avoid having to shop for a new pair of sneakers or a sweatshirt during the road trip because your child’s feet are cold.
- Check out free events and attractions. You’ll find that many museums, events, and other places have free admission. You can add these to your plan as you put together your list
- Check your car before you leave. Inflate your tires to the pressure that’s recommended in the car’s manual to maximize gas usage. Also, consider the car’s weight. Heavier cars burn more gas, so just pack the essentials and avoid bringing unnecessary items.You can avoid costly roadside assistance and towing by doing recommended maintenance that you know will be needed soon. Do you need an oil change or minor repairs? Do them before you leave on your trip! Yah it’s a hassle because it is one more thing you have to do before you leave but think of how much MORE of a hassle it would be to do them out of town.
- Find flexible cancellation policies. Are you making reservations ahead of time? Road trips can be eventful, and the best plans cannot prevent all possible emergencies.Search for hotels and restaurants with flexible cancellation policies to avoid adding extra costs to your trip. If you’re late or miss a reservation, some businesses charge you.
- Look for coupons and additional discounts along the way. These money-saving items can reduce the cost of your trip.Coupons and discounts may be available from hotels, restaurants, and other places. Museums and shops may also offer them along your route. Stock up on additional savings.
Road trips can stay under a budget with the right plans. If you consider the costs of common items that occur during a trip, you can save money.
P.S. Get your guide to saving more money on vacation and discover how you can easily afford a $5,000 vacation every year no matter what your income level.