e've all been there: you're on vacation and want to do something fun and exciting with your family, but you're worried about how much it's going to cost. You could cut out the fun stuff entirely or just settle for a boring day at the beach instead of an amazing trip through a national park. But what if we told you that road trips can be affordable? We rounded up some tips on how to save money while traveling—and still have a great time doing it!
1. Wear your gas costs down by making sure your car is in tip-top shape.
If you want to keep your gas costs down, make sure your car is in tip-top shape. If you have a mechanic who can check out your car prior to a road trip, that's the ideal solution. However, if you don't have access to a mechanic and are planning on doing some DIY maintenance before heading out on the open road (or dirt trail), then here are some tips for keeping your vehicle running smoothly:
- Check tire pressure and tread depth
- Inspect all brake components for wear and tear
- Make sure oil levels are at the proper levels
- Check belts, hoses, and other engine components for damage or wear
2. Take advantage of in-house entertainment at hotels, like pools and fitness centers.
The next time you're traveling, take advantage of the free in-house entertainment options at hotels. Pools and fitness centers are great ways to relax and meet people—and they'll also help keep you healthy and save money.
3. Vacation in the off-season or shoulder season to save on lodging costs.
Let's talk about the off-season and shoulder season. The off-season is usually in winter or fall (think December through March), while shoulder season falls between spring and fall. If you're looking to save on lodging costs, then shoulder season might be more your speed!
While shoulder seasons are typically less crowded than their high-traffic counterparts, they still have enough visitors to make it worth your while—without all of the crowds that come with peak times. What does this mean for you? You can see many of your favorite sights without having to wait in line for hours or being surrounded by thousands of other people!
4. Bring the food you like instead of relying on restaurants for every meal.
A cooler can be useful for keeping your food cold, but it's not necessary. If you plan to buy meals along the way, consider bringing a portable stove so that you can cook at night or on breaks from driving.
Make your own meals or join friends who are cooking their own food by bringing pans and utensils that work in different settings (for example: cast iron cookware is versatile enough to work with an open fire as well as on a gas stove). If your budget is tight, consider staying at hotels with kitchens instead of eating out every day because this will save money over time—and there’s always free breakfast offered at these hotels!
5. Do some online research to discover free attractions in your destination city.
The internet is a fantastic resource for finding free attractions in your destination city. You can use TripAdvisor and other travel websites, or simply Google the name of your destination with the word “free things to do” or something similar. The local tourist office will be able to provide you with ideas on what's available in the area too. You can also find suggestions by searching social media accounts like Instagram and Facebook, which tend to post daily updates on what there is going on locally.
You could also pick up a local newspaper (available at newsagents outside train stations), as well as any magazines that might be available from a hotel reception desk if you're staying somewhere overnight.
It is possible to have a great time on a road trip even if you're traveling on a budget.
When it comes to road trips, there are lots of ways to save money. You can book your stay at a camping or hostel with shared bathrooms, pack sandwiches instead of eating out and skip the expensive side excursions in favor of exploring on foot. But there's one tip for saving money that we haven't mentioned yet: having a good time on your road trip!