The simplicity of packing up the car and heading out on an old-fashioned road trip is unbeatable, but how can you save money on your next road trip?
While winding your way to your destination, you’ll be able to take in all of the views – and driving yourself is usually always a more affordable option than taking the train, bus, or plane. Furthermore, you are free to make as many stops as you choose along the journey.
Despite the fact that driving is already the most cost-effective mode of transportation, here are four strategies to make your pleasant road trip even more affordable.
1. Create a Budget (and Stick to It)
Prior to embarking on a road trip, you should make a financial budget for the trip.
By outlining any expenses that may arise along the route, you’ll be able to determine exactly how much money you have available. Make an educated guess of how much you’ll spend on gas, entertainment, parking, food, lodging, and everything else that comes to mind.
It is also necessary to factor in unanticipated expenses. For example, if you don’t have the best exclusionary extended warranty, a mechanical breakdown might throw your plans off the rails and cause significant disruption. It will give you greater peace of mind if you set aside some money for emergencies and include it into your financial plan.
2. Split the Cost
When you go on a road trip with friends, it is possible to save money on meals, gas, and accommodations.
You can pool your resources and share an RV, rental property, or campsite, as well as all of the food preparation and costs. If your group can all fit into a single vehicle, you can either take turns paying for gas or divide the whole cost between you and your friends.
Another advantage of taking a road trip with friends is the ability to pool resources – for example, if your friends have gear or items that you don’t have, you won’t have to spend money on them in advance of the trip.
With a payment app like Venmo, you can divide all of your road trip expenses with your traveling companions while keeping track of all of your purchases and payments right on your phone.
3. Pack Filling Snacks
Plan a shopping excursion ahead of time and get your food supplies in bulk before you go. Each time you stop at the gas station, all of the bottles of water, cups of coffee, and snacks you buy add up quickly and significantly.
Bring along filling snacks such as jerky, crackers, nuts, fruit, and trail mix to keep everyone happy on the way to your destination! A reusable thermos, which can be used to keep your coffee heated, could also help you save money on your coffee purchases.
4. Stay at a Campsite
While hotels aren’t always inexpensive, camping is usually rather affordable. Unless you already have camping equipment, camping is almost always the most cost-effective lodging option if you do not already have it. If you do decide to camp in a popular location, make sure you reserve your campsite well in advance of your arrival.
In the event that you do not already have camping equipment, look for a campground that offers basic cabins that you can rent rather than purchasing camping equipment – while cabins will be more expensive than camping, they will still be less expensive than staying in a hotel or lodge.
You will save money on lodging if you choose to stay in campsite accommodations. As an added bonus, the majority of campgrounds also offer free outdoor activities.