If you are planning an exciting new road trip, whether it’s across the country to see as many states as possible or just from one place to another to visit family, you’re probably trying to figure out ways to see and do as much as possible while saving as much money as possible. Road tripping on a budget is absolutely possible, but you may need to do a little extra planning in order to make it happen.
Create a Budget
The first thing you should do before trying to road trip on a budget is, well, make a budget. Though it can be hard to figure out exactly how much you’ll spend, calculating things like cost of gas and where you’ll stay while you’re on the road are totally doable. You can set daily limits for food and other expenses you think you’ll have, and budgeting a little more than you think you’ll actually need is a great way to make sure you don’t feel stranded if something goes wrong.
If you’re road tripping for any extended period of time, camping is a fantastic way to save money on lodging. A tent can be found for the same price as one night in most decent hotels, and campsites typically don’t exceed $30 per site, though it obviously depends on where you are in the country. Though it may sound intimidating if you’ve never done it before, most campsites now include amenities like showers, bathrooms, and more. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, there are an increasing number of free campsites popping up around the country, though these often lack the amenities previously described.
Even though it may sound easy to pull over every time you see the golden arches on the side of the highway, brining food from home can be a much better way to stay full while saving money on expensive takeout. Avoiding gas station food is key, since it is usually unhealthy and overpriced. Bringing things like trail mix, granola bars, and other healthy snacks is a much better option.
Get Your Car Serviced
A great way to avoid unexpected expenses while on the road is to get your car serviced before you leave. This can ensure that it runs more efficiently, saving you money on gas, and that any problems are caught before they get worse while you’re in the middle of your road trip. Plus, going to a local mechanic that you trust is much less stressful than trying to find one while on the road in an unknown area. While this can obviously work out fine, it is much better to address as many car problems as possible before you leave.
Drive Efficiently If your car is ready to go, driving as economically as possible could save you a massive amount of money on gas. Things like proper tire inflation, maintaining a steady speed, and keeping the AC off can all massively improve your gas mileage.