Tuesday, August 27, 2019

How to Plan a Cheap Road Trip

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Everyone loves a great road trip, right? They love the feel, the vast planes that lay ahead and the company of kith and kin. However, not everyone wants to spend a fortune on a road trip. That makes sense too, when we consider that people choose road trips to escape from those hefty airline fares. Without proper planning, though, your road trip may cost as much as an international vacation — or worse, more than that.

Thankfully, a cheap road trip is no urban legend. I can do it; you can do it, and everyone can do it. All it needs is a bit of planning and strategy. Unless you want to travel on impulse, you can definitely save a lot of money during the road trip. In this article, we have a brief guide on how to plan a cheap road trip. We aren’t offering any location-specific details, since this will be a universal guide.

#1 Levelling Your Expectations

This is perhaps the most personal step of a cheap road trip planning. You should have an idea of what you’re expecting from the trip. There are a few questions to ask yourself. Are you looking for a luxury trip? Do you want to experience every good thing in the place? How long you want to keep yourself on the road? And, most importantly, can you survive without sleeping?

The answers would help you decide the budget you have to set, the lodging you have to choose and the core nature of your trip. For instance, if you can indeed survive without sleep, you can plan an overnight road trip — which would save you the accommodation cost. As far as basic facilities are required, you can depend on some cheap places.

#2 Choose the Best Possible Route

The first step of planning a cheap road trip is deciding the exact route. When we say the exact route, we do not mean each corner and curve. Instead, you should have a list of destinations that you want to visit. Of course, make sure that you leave some free time — for those spontaneous adventure needs. If you are a stickler when it comes to planning, you can go to the extent of counting the time for restroom, gas stations etc. as well.

While Google Maps is the perfect companion for route planning, you can depend on other services as well. For instance, AAA TripTik is a service to find out potential delays in a route along with fuel stations. Having an idea about regular traffic and the terrain would help you maintain a stable speed during the trip. As we said, be flexible with time, so that you can include more activities.

#3 Pack as Much As You Can, but Wisely

Wise packing is one of the best ways to make a road trip cheaper. The idea is to carry things that you would need the most — so that you don’t have to buy on the way. On a related note, your favorite highway pit-stops may charge you extra. However, this does not mean stuffing your whole boot-space with some stuff. Doing so will increase the weight of the car and thus reduce the mileage.

Some of the necessary items include a cooler, water bottles, snacks, utensils and handwash. Of course, we hope you will be carrying a smartphone, a GPS tracker for car, a charger and a camera. You may also want to carry a power-bank for worst case scenarios. Also make sure that you are carrying the essentials such as an emergency kit, medications and sunscreen.

#4 Transportation Decisions

Transportation is indeed the most expensive thing about a road trip. It’s also true that you can save a lot of money on the whole trip if you choose things wisely. For instance, let’s suppose you rent a camper vehicle instead of your normal car. You can practically cut down the accommodation costs. Of course, there will be an increase in the fuel cost, but at the end of the day, you win.

There are also a few ways to save money you spend on gas. For instance, you can avoid rush traffic hours to keep the mileage intact. While on the highway, you can maintain the same speed, and it works great if your car has cruise control. Last but not least, you can use a credit card that offers cash back when you spend on fuels. You can also prefer using fuel stations away from the highway to save some more money.

#5 Lodging and Facilities

We already told you two methods to cut down the lodging fees during the trip — drive overnight or rent out a camper vehicle. However, if you decide to stay in a motel, there are a few ways to save money as well. The best method is to choose motels that have tie-ups with tourist destinations, adventure programs and some food outlets in the area. These tie-ups would become discounts as far as you’re concerned.

Coupons are the best when you are taking a road trip, you know. You can consider installing apps that would present you with the right discount coupons. Also, as is the case with every other trip, you should book the motels pretty early to save some money. Last but not least, make sure you collect as many coupons as you find on the way.

#6 Food and Drinks

Food is the department that converts every potential cheap road trip to something so expensive. There are a few things you have to do to avoid this. First of all, you have to set a budget for food consumption. That is, decide that you won’t spend more than $60 on food. Second, you have to stay away from impulsive food consumption.
In addition, as we said, you can see if your motel has any tie-ups with any restaurants. This would actually get you quality food even when you spend less. Also, make sure you install all the food apps out there. You never know which one you come across, and it’s good to have promotional deals. And, yes, it’s great to carry some food items from home as well.

#7 Look for Free Stuff

There is no scarcity of free stuff in the world. And when you are on a broke road trip, that’s something that you should look for. First of all, do a check for the shops and other outlets in the destinations. It’s very likely that at least some of them are offering some free stuff. Of course, you may have to download their app and sign up to do that.

We already talked about the benefits of credit cards while buying fuel. As it happens, you can use your cards to get some cash back while purchasing other things as well. To make the best use, though, you may have to adjust the trips in some way or another. For instance, you may have to take a route that has shops where you can avail discounts.

The Bottom Line

We have shared some tips that can actually help you save money. One thing to be noted is that most of the steps have to do something with planning. The simple steps you take before would help you save money in the long run. Now that you have a clear idea, wish you a pretty inexpensive road trip.

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