Summertime is probably the most popular time of year to take a road trip, for a number of reasons. To start, the weather is great, making for safe and solid driving conditions. Children also have the summer off from school, so for families, summer is generally ideal for vacations. Many people take advantage of Memorial Day weekend car sales, and want to hit the open road in their new set of wheels while it’s still got that new car smell. Generally speaking, summer is simply a great time to explore the country and take a break from everyday life.
However, before you hit the road, it’s important to budget for your road trip and know how much you plan on spending. Here are a few great tips for saving money on the open road:
- Research where you plan to stay. Unless you’re roughing it and planning to sleep in your car (we don’t recommend it), you’ll need to plan for lodging on your trip. Do your research on the area in which you’re staying, and check out average prices for rooms or rentals. Do you want to stay in a hotel, motel, or AirBnB? Each one of those choices comes with cost-friendly benefits. If you decide on a hotel or motel, look into breakfast options – many offer complimentary breakfast if you’re staying overnight. If you stay in an AirBnB with a kitchen, you can save money on dining out by cooking meals.
- Check out gas prices on your journey. The cost of a gallon of gas can vary wildly depending on what state – or even what city – you are in. It can also eat into your budget if you’re not careful as to where you choose to fill up. There are apps that can help – GasBuddy is a popular free app that uses your location to pull up prices at all the gas stations in your area.
- Pack a cooler of snacks and beverages for the drive. This will save you a bundle on food on the road – and it’s also a healthier option that can actually give you more energy. Pack up a cooler with your favorite snacks, some healthy options like fruit that won’t spoil and trail mix, as well as bottled water and soft drinks. Packing snacks is also highly advised if you’re traveling with children.