Save money on a road trip

Top 5 Tips to Save Money on Road Trips

Road trips are a great bonding experience, but can become stressful if you are on a tight budget. Fortunately, even in today’s economy, there are many ways to save money on a road trip and avoid breaking the bank. This way, you will have extra money when you reach your destination while still having a good time.

Here are some helpful tips to having a great road trip on a budget:

Book hotels ahead of time and look for “extras”

Many hotels now offer free continental breakfast, parking, wireless and other amenities. When booking your hotel, it is not only important to find the cheapest hotel but also the one with the most value because perks like parking and wireless may increase the amount you end up paying. Also be on the look out for loyalty programs.

Pack lighter and save gas

With the rising cost of gas prices, even little things like packing one less suitcase can help you save money. For every 100 pounds of excess weight, your fuel efficiency can decrease by 1 to 2 percent, which adds up in the long run.

Search for cheap gas ahead of time

Before you head out on the road, visit a site like Gas Buddy which can direct you to the cheapest places to buy gas. But remember, just because a gas station is cheaper doesn’t mean you should drive out of your way to find it. You may end up spending more on gas while you are lost than you could have saved in the first place if you chose a closer station.

Pack snacks and meals on-the-go

Instead of stopping at a rest stop for mediocre, over-priced meals, pack your lunch and enjoy a peaceful picnic at a park or rest stop. If you plan on eating out, check out where you can buy $25 gift certificates to local restaurants for only $5, courtesy of Allstate. Also remember to bring your own snacks to save even more money. 99 cents for a bag of chips may seem inexpensive, but can really add up if you buy for the entire family. Instead, buy a family size bag of snacks from Target or Costco and bring your own chilled drinks in a cooler. This way, you can also pack healthier snacks like trail mix and apple juice.

Find free entertainment

Instead of buying a portable DVD player and entertainment just for your road trip, consider finding forms of free entertainment. This can include creating a great road trip music sing-a-long mix, playing traditional car games like I Spy or going online to find printable games like mazes, cross words and bingo. If you plan on making stops at local attractions throughout your trip, stop by the state’s visitor centers where you can find a selection of discount coupons for local attractions and motels.