Road tripping is an adventurous way to unwind with friends or family. Driving on open roads, enjoying beautiful scenery while making stops along the way makes this excursion unique. What is more, you set the rules and can decide to break them just for the sake of adventure. However, without regard for budgeting, road trips can quickly deplete your funds and deprive you of enjoyment. Take gas and food stopovers, for instance. These can empty your wallet fast. Meticulous planning while you keep tabs on expenditure is a must. Failure to limit your spending could deprive you of the fun you intended to have.
But who said you could not enjoy a frugal road trip? Even when you are low on funds, you can still have an incredible vacation. Whether you are planning to be on the road for a weekend, several weeks or months, simple and low-cost trips are still possible. The key lies in knowing your priorities. Of course, some expenses such as gas, food, and accommodation are unavoidable. Luckily, you can minimize spending on these and other costs that crop up once you hit the road. Look at these seven killer tips on easy ways to enjoy a road trip while on a budget.
- Set your priorities
We are all different. Vacations spur imaginations. Think fancy restaurants, modest accommodations, lazing on the beach, or having drinks at popular spots along the way. Without being focused, you will fall for anything that is at your convenience. You stop at a food outlet because of the branding allure only to fret at the bill. When darkness sets in, any nearby lodging becomes your stopover for the night. For full enjoyment, set your priorities straight and make a vow to abide. If something is not in your itinerary, resist the urge to indulge.
- Exploit offers and free stuff
While road tripping, a credit card always comes in handy. You use it to pay for gas, meals, and lodging. Find out if your card company offers rewards and utilize them. Also, while planning for the outing search for attractions that do not charge admission fees. Even if there are none, find those that charge a minimal admission fee. Public parks, picnic sites, historic landmarks, and museums are perfect examples. Once you see these places, make them your pitstops. You will be surprised at how cheap it is to stop, stretch your tired legs, and perhaps enjoy a meal at such stopovers.
- Carry cooking utensils and ingredients
By cooking your meals, you avoid going to fancy but expensive eateries. Assuming you are traveling on an RV, it will most likely come equipped with a stove, best omni directional tv antenna, pans, pots, and cutlery. In that case, ensure that you have packed enough ingredients. However, road tripping on a family car may not offer you such luxuries. You can still prepare simple meals and enjoy them. Besides, you could opt for vegetable or fruit salads. They do not require much preparation. Pack things like a stove, knife, cutting board. A water jug comes in handy, and you can use it to refill water bottles.
- Travel off-peak
Have you ever noticed how roads get crowded during certain times in the year? Take Thanksgiving and Christmas, for instance. Everyone seems to be traveling to be with their loved ones and celebrate these occasions together. If you mistakenly choose such times for an excursion, being frugal will not hack it. Gas, entertainment venues, and takeout could be costly. Businesses take advantage of the boom and inflate their prices. What is more, the roads are congested, and you might have to sit for long hours in traffic snarl-ups. Plan your trip to coincide with months when there are no public holidays.
- Service your car and learn a few maintenance tips
A few weeks to the trip, take your car for servicing. Doing so helps fine-tune your engine for optimum performance. Oil change, filters replacement, and wheel alignments are all aspects that help auto engines run smoothly. Also, before you set off, inflate your tires at the recommended pressure. Meanwhile, refresh your car maintenance skills. Changing a flat tire, handling an overheating radiator are simple tasks that can save you the money you could have otherwise spent. Also, calling and waiting for roadside assistance wastes precious time. These tips apply not only to personal cars but also rented ones.
- Be rental smart
You may not have the luxury of road tripping on a campervan. That does not mean that you cannot sleep at a hotel. Do your homework carefully and find hotels with off-season rates and discounts. If your credit card has an option of cashback for such payments, use it. Alternatively, shoot for Airbnb rentals, they can be real money-savers in comparison to hotels. While researching and mapping your route, look for campgrounds. You can pitch your tent or park an RV and rest for the night at little to no cost. While renting a car, go for the least expensive models.
- Focus on cheap
A frugal road trip requires that you spend at a minimum. Therefore, look for and find places that sell cheap gas. If you can, avoid gas stations located off the highway or in cities. Instead, look for stations found a few miles off the main road. Here you will get cheaper gas. Never underestimate these locations. A difference of a dollar or cents per gallon can make a huge difference. Another way to focus on cheap is by checking out for local specials in towns you will drive past. Fun events are an example where small restaurants entice diners with less expensive menus.
- Go on, enjoy your outing without worries
Road excursions need not be expensive for you to enjoy. You only need to plan, budget, and be wise. Hidden ways of saving money always exist. Find and utilize every opportunity to spend less without compromising on the adventure. Be sure to map out the journey ahead of the D-day. A checklist always comes in handy.