10 Ways To Road Trip Any Time Of The Year
Guest post via Trisha Miller
Traveling with friends and family can create unforgettable lifelong memories. There’s nothing quite like setting off on the open road to an undiscovered destination. However, planning a trip can quickly become totally discouraging after checking out the price tag on necessary elements of a successful trip. Hotel, gas, food, entertainment - we can show you how to save money on each of these individual components of your traveling adventure, while not compromising any of the fun.
1. Check Out Some Free Attractions
While this might sound a little hokey to some, there are actually some really great free attractions that anyone can enjoy. Research some national parks along the way, beaches, festivals, and even museums. You’d be surprised at the amount of great things you can check out for free.
2. Take Time to Pre-Pack Some Food
Although it is tempting to go out to eat in a new city, avoid it if at all possible. Pack as many snacks as possible ahead of time in a cooler. Check with your hotel for deals on complimentary breakfast or discounted dinner. You can even save money by using club cards like Costco or Sam’s Club to buy discounted gas and food.
3. Get Your Car Checked Out
Don’t only get your oil checked. Make sure all fluids are topped off, all the tires have adequate pressure, and any underlying issues won’t bring your road trip to a premature end. Having a finely tuned car will not only save on gas, but it will also save from costly last minute repairs.
4. Research Lodging as Far in Advance as Possible
Traveling 101 says, never book a hotel last minute. Hotel prices are always highest with short notice and of course on weekends and holidays. In fact, if you can avoid a hotel altogether that would be the ultimate scenario. Try checking out free camp sites along the way. Lastly, consider where you will be visiting. Many times a neighboring suburb will have much cheaper rates than the destination itself.
5. Find Out Where Gas is Cheapest
Apps like GasBuddy will not only show you which companies consistently have the lowest gas prices, but they can track your entire trip and show you the best places to gas up along the way. You’ll be able to see which route is fastest and which gas stations are worth stopping for.
6. Take a Look at Local Deals
Ask locals about popular destinations, sales, buffets, and bundles. They know the town better than anyone else. You can also download apps like Groupon to check out all the specials on entertainment, food, and shopping in the area.
7. Don’t Overpack
Studies actually show that a heavier car wastes more gas than a light car. Of course, you should always bring the essentials and any emergency items that can help keep you safe, but if you don’t absolutely need it, you probably shouldn’t bring it.
8. Avoid Rush Hour Traffic
Okay, so this can’t always be avoided, but if you’re just bored in a new town, try and plan your adventures around a reasonable time for traffic. Sitting in traffic for hours in a city that you are unfamiliar with is a recipe for disaster. Not only will it waste precious sightseeing time, it will drain your gas faster than anything else. Some cities are just going to have terrible traffic at any time of day, but depending on where you’re go you just might luck out by choosing the correct time.
9. Use Cruise Control
Your car gets the best gas mileage when you are travelling at the same speed for extended periods of time. Starting, stopping, and braking quickly are all unavoidable things, but if you can control how often you have to do them, you can significantly save on gas throughout your entire trip.
10. Try an Unexpected Destination
Some of the most common vacation spots happen to be in large cities, where just about everything is expensive. Instead of checking out a city that will leave you little fun money leftover, try something new. Just because there aren’t beaches or towering buildings in every direction, doesn’t mean there isn’t something fun to do.
Planning ahead is the best friend to successful road tripping. Of course, not all of these tips will always apply to each circumstance, but using these tips when applicable will ensure a happy, safe, and wallet-friendly road trip any time of year.