Road trips are so fun! Whether it’s just you and the hubs, or you pack the entire family up and travel across country, the experience is a once in a lifetime (or maybe once in a summer) opportunity!
The most important thing to remember when planning your road trip is to HAVE FUN! Yes, it will get kind of crazy, stressful, and even hectic at times. But at the end of the day, you want to be able to look back on your trip and know that everyone enjoyed it. For me, enjoying a road trip also includes saving big bucks.
4 Ways to Save On Your Next Family Vacation
1. Save on travel.
Figure out which will be cheaper: driving, flying, or taking a train or bus. Factor in gas, wear and tear on your vehicle, and time if you’re taking a car. Factor in baggage fees, flight tickets, etc for plane trips. If you’re taking a train or bus, factor in the cost of the ticket(s) as well as the cost of renting a car once you arrive, unless you have family or friends to escort you around when you arrive.
If you’re taking your own vehicle, do a thorough check and routine maintenance before taking off across the country! Check the headlights, brake lights, wipers, brakes, fluids, etc.
Save money on gas by driving the speed limit, and checking GasBuddy.com for the cheapest local gas prices wherever you go. If you drive a gas-guzzler, renting a fuel efficient vehicle might be more cost effective for your trip. Proper tire pressure will also help you save on gas!
If you’re flying, sites like Travelocity and Cheapoair can help you find the best prices for your flights. Traveling off-season can also save you a few bucks, depending on where you’re going. Flying to/from warmer states is much cheaper in the summer months because the weather is terrible (120*++). Tickets can go up by $200 each in the winter because traveling to the those areas is more desirable in those months.
2. Entertain for free.
Instead of spending a ton on coloring and activity books, print them out from home. Try sites like:
Download free Kindle books daily from Amazon. By the time your road trip starts, the Kindle will have dozens of books for your little ones to read!
Rent CDs and audiobooks from the library. It’s free, and you can usually renew them online!
3. Save big on attractions.
Check sites like Groupon, Living Social, and Amazon Local for the city or cities you’re visiting. Purchase vouchers, and plan your trip around the attractions you’ll be visiting. You can even save on hotels this way!
When you arrive in the town you’re visiting, check the Visitor’s Bureau to see if they have tickets at a discounted price. Sometimes you can buy a bundle and save quite a bit!
Use Google! When you are searching for an attraction, hotel, etc, type it into Google, followed by “discount”, “coupon”, “deal”, or “savings”.
4. Save on food.
The easiest way to save on food is to pack sandwiches, drinks, and snacks instead of hitting the drive through. Pack simple snacks like trail mix, granola, fruit, cheese and crackers, pretzels, and chips. If you can pack a cooler, sandwiches are a great idea.
Once you arrive at your destination – or even along the way – stop at the beach (or even a roadside park, rest area, etc) and have a picnic lunch. This will save money while allowing everyone to use the restroom, stretch their legs, and get some of that excess energy out of their systems!