A Little Planning Can Make Your Road Trip More Fun
Airfare seems to be going the same way as planes—up! But that doesn't have to put a damper on your vacation plans. Simply choose a closer locale and hit the road. Before you leave, do a little planning to make the most of your time off and keep costs manageable in the process.
Traveling with Kids
It's no secret that kids get bored on long road trips. For that reason, parents love portable DVD players, video games and tablets. If you have one for each child, they can keep themselves entertained for long stretches of time. Pack a variety of DVDs and games. Eventually, they may fall asleep—or they may get tired of movies and video games. If this happens, try playing road trip games instead. Check out our Pinterest board for fun ideas for road trip games.
Saving Money on Food and Gas
Food isn't something a lot of people factor in as a cost on a road trip. After all, if you stayed home you'd have to eat—but you wouldn't have to eat out. Stopping at a sit-down restaurant is more time consuming and costly for a family than hitting the drive-through at a fast food place; however, fast food at every meal isn't healthy. Why not pack a cooler with drinks, snacks and sandwiches instead? We have lots of ides for picnic lunches on our Pinterest Perfect Picnic board. If you want to stop just to stretch your legs, you could find a roadside campsite to have your picnic lunch. Then you aren't waiting for a waitress to bring your food and your check, and you can eat healthier.
To save gas, be careful not to overload your car when you're packing. The heavier your vehicle is, the more gas it uses. And make sure you don't pack your car so full that you can't see out the windows. In addition to keeping the load light, make sure your tires are properly inflated to get better gas mileage, and make sure your car is ready to hit the road before you go! This is also a good time to review your auto insurance coverage with your local Shelter agent to see if you have features like Emergency Roadside Reimbursement, rental car coverage, etc.
Knowing when to go on your road trip is another way to save money. It can be tempting to plan a vacation around a holiday, but traffic could be heavier, and gas and hotel prices may be higher. Plan your road trip around non-peak times of year and enjoy your holiday time at home with your family to save money.
Alternatives to Hotels
Hotels are nice, but if all you need for one night is a clean room with a comfy bed and a bathroom, do you really need a 5-star hotel? There are definitely places you'll want to avoid, but there are several reasonably priced hotels available. Do some research ahead of time to find the best deals, then read reviews. Look for hotels that offer free breakfast to save money.
There are also services like airbnb.com or vrbo.com that offer homes or condos as vacation rentals, and many of these are competitively priced. Because these properties have kitchens, you can make your own meals to save even more.
Of course, another option is camping. Campsites are less expensive than hotels, but you may not get the best showers or a free breakfast. If your family loves to camp, it can be a real money-saver. If not, check out one of the above options.
No matter where or how you travel, be sure to have fun and relax. After all, that's what a road trip is all about!