As opposed to a traditional holiday to a foreign country where you have to pay for flights and expensive hotel accommodation, road trips make for more affordable holidays. Having said as much, they can be just as enjoyable as a trip to an exotic location. After all, you just have to sit back in your car seat and be overwhelmed by a series of breathtaking views. Not to mention that you get to spend some quality time with your friends and family. However, if you don’t watch your expenses on petrol, food, and motels, you might just overshoot your road trip budget. Here are a few tips for planning a road trip without breaking the bank:
1. Make a budget – Before you hit the road, try to make a rough budget plan. Pool in all your financial resources and make a holiday fund. Now, assign specific amounts of money for petrol, food, motels, sightseeing, shopping etc. Besides these, set aside an emergency fund for unforeseen circumstances like an accident or a technical fault in the car. If you are planning to rent a car from car rentals like Hertz or Alamo Car Hire, factor the cost in to the equation. It’s always a good idea to decide the duration and route of your road trip in accordance with your holiday fund. A short but well spent trip is better than a long one fraught with budget problems.
2. Calculate fuel expenses – As is obvious, a king’s size of your holiday fund should be devoted to fuel expenses. While fuel expenses are largely non-negotiable on a road trip, it is possible to save money even in this department. For starters, calculate the amount of fuel you will use throughout your journey using an online application. Based on the route you plan to take, look for petrol stations at equal intervals. Petrol prices tend to vary considerably within a single country. Do your research and stop for petrol at places with cheaper rates. Additionally, travel light, take the shortest route possible and avoid roads with too many stops.
3. Save on snacks – On a road trip, it’s only natural to feel hungry as you see roadside diners and burger joints at regular intervals. To save money on food, carry a cooler with homemade sandwiches or anything that won’t go bad very quickly. Besides sandwiches, carry nuts, crackers, cookies etc. – anything that satiates your regular bouts of hunger. Make regular stops at grocery stores and refill your food bag. Even when you have to stop for meals, look for family discounts or promotion offers beforehand.
4. Look for cheap/free accommodation – If you are in the mood for some adventure, park your car in one of the many camping sites which are usually available for free or at nominal costs. Set up your tent and sleep under starlit skies. If you’re in Iceland for example, you can use sites like Rent.is to hire campervans which let you bring your accommodation with you from place to place. For those of you who are more conventional, plan your trip in a way that you stop at motels on weekdays since prices tend to soar during the weekends. For more information on road trips, visit this link.