Ah, sweet summertime! That wonderful part of year when we dream about taking the great American road trip to lakes, oceans, mountains, beaches; pretty much anywhere we desire. While the cost of such an epic journey can be somewhat daunting, with a little budgeting and some smart financial planning, you can enjoy an amazing road adventure without breaking the bank.
Make absolutely sure that your chosen road trip is something you can afford. Be smart and plan ahead money-wise. Well before your trip, plan to sock a little money aside from every paycheck to give you a nice head start on your vacation costs. Cut back on your weekly entertainment expenses as well to supplement your vacation savings. If you need some help with this planning phase, there are a number of smart GasBuddy website to compare fuel prices during your trip.
Use all the available hotel comparison shopping websites to book ahead of time. It will save you the aggravation of driving around looking for a great hotel deal when you’re beat from a long day of driving. If you have to book last-minute, try to use an app such as HotelTonight which provides last minute hotel deals based upon your current location.
If you prefer a warm bed or sofa but don’t want to pay hotel prices, try renting a house or a room through Airbnb or a similar company or engage in the great new American pastime: couch surfing. Use your road trip to work in a visit (announced or unannounced) with an old friend, college roommate, or relative whom you’ve not seen in a while. HINT: Bring them some kind of gift or buy them a meal, as it will certainly increase your chances of getting a bed or a couch!
If you don’t mind roughing it, you could consider camping out, which can be particularly cheap if you already own tents and sleeping bags.
Exploring local and roadside restaurants can be fun, but their expense can put a dent in your vacation budget. Before your trip, go to your regular grocery store and stock up on drinks and snacks. Pack plenty of water, sandwich ingredients and fresh cut vegetables and fruits to keep it on the healthy side.
As we all know, kids stuck in the back seat get restless on long trips. Prepare for this to avoid making unnecessary stops, which often lead to extra purchases. Your prepackaged snacks and meals can help pass some of the time. Prepare a song playlist so that everyone gets to listen to their individual styles of music. Play car games such as Road Sign Bingo or Cow Poker. If you have tablets or phones, download podcasts, games and movies to help them pass the time (and help you maintain your sanity).
You work hard and like everybody else, you need to take time-off and recharge your batteries. Don’t let a small financial issue ruin your planned road trip. To help you stay on track, check out the convenient installment loans that are available in your area, and head out for the highway!