5 easy ways to save on your next road trip
A road trip is supposed to be cheaper than flying. It’s supposed to be the budget-friendly vacation alternative. But if you don’t plan smartly, the little costs can really add up.
Here are five ways to save money on your next road trip and keep the costs as low as possible.
1. Pack your lunch:
The very freedom that makes a road trip so appealing can also be your wallet’s worst nightmare. It’s easy to make impulse purchases on food, especially if you are bored or uncomfortable and looking for an excuse to stop. Gas station food is way overpriced and many truck stops and restaurants along the way are, too. Not to mention the tip and the time wasted.
Instead, pack your lunch before you leave and commit to eating only that. Put a mini cooler in your back seat, so snacks are easily accessible while you’re driving. Don’t forget drinks (both hydrating and caffeinating), healthy snacks, gum and enough protein to handle your hunger.
Beef jerky is always a good travel companion, even though it’s super salty, which will increase your thirst. Always buy before you leave; beef jerky can be twice the price at a pit stop. We love Jack Links Original Beef Jerky Meat Snacks at Walmart, where you get 5 snacks for only $6.28.
A 28-quart cooler is probably big enough to hold your goodies, without taking up a ton of space in the car. If you don’t have a cooler, consider the Coleman 28-quart cooler, $19.84 and up from Walmart.com.
2. Set a budget:
Either pack a pre-loaded debit card or bring a certain amount of cash and spend only that. This will curb your impulse purchases and keep your costs in check.
3. Check your car before you go:
The quickest way to blow a ton of cash on the road is if something goes wrong with your car. This can lead to unexpected, expedited costs and extra nights at a hotel, which also means extra food costs. Spend the money up front and have a mechanic check over your car, top off your oil, check your tire pressure and fill up your fluids.
4. Consider renting a car:
At least for longer road trips. The wear and tear on your main vehicle can lead to big costs down the road. Save 2 percent Cash Back via ShopAtHome.com when you rent through Enterprise. Check for coupons, too. There always seems to be some kind of deal.
5. Book your hotels in advance: This allows you to compare costs and apply coupons and Cash Back. Radisson.com offers special early-booking deals. Plus, you can get 2 percent Cash Back and 50 ShopGold Points from ShopAtHome.com. Cash Back really adds up when you’re talking hundreds of dollars in lodging.