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How To Road Trip on a Budget

Road trips are a staple of the summer season and if done right, can be a great way to travel with a small vacation budget. However, like anything in life, it is important to be prepared so that your budget doesn’t fall to the wayside while embarking on one of summer’s greatest pastimes. In order to have the time of your life, without having your bank account look as though you have, follow the next few steps.

1)   Create a Budget

Understand how much money you have to allocate to your trip. It is must easier to start with this step than stress yourself out by planning a trip and then worrying about how to pay for it.

2)   Create a Plan

While spontaneous trips are great in their own right, having a plan for your route, lodging and activities can help make the most of your trip and help to maximize your budget. Everything gets more expensive when you book at the last minute or buy while on the road.

3)   Find Friends

Not only will you have more fun, you’ll be splitting the cost of almost everything. You can also split up some of the preparation responsibilities. Have someone bring the cooler, someone else bring sandwiches etc…

4)   Factor in Vehicle Expenses

Vehicle expenses should already be in your budget for line items such as gas, but make sure you know your vehicle well enough to know what maintenance is coming due. Are the wiper blades sufficient? Do you need an oil change? Are you coming up on any key maintenance mile marker indicators like 60,000 or 100,000? Spending money before you go on a trip is not fun for anyone, but it’s much better than spending money being towed or having to use an unknown service station while on vacation.

5)   Pack wisely

First, understand what you should pack. Make sure you have the basics covered to help avoid preventable trips to the store while on vacation. There’s nothing worse than having to buy a bathing suit for a trip when you already have one at home that you love. Beyond clothes, road trips are fantastic because it is very easy to cut down on your restaurant bills by packing lunches, dinners and snacks for the road ahead of time. Buy or borrow a good cooler and keep the menu basic.

Secondly, understand what you shouldn’t pack. If the car is filled with friends, the last thing you want to do is bother each other with unnecessary luggage that won’t be used.

6)   Make sure you have the right phone plan

If you have limited data but plan to use it for your GPS, it might be better to switch to unlimited data for a month to avoid accruing data overage fees.

As always, albeit a bit cheesy, make sure you pack an open mind as road trips inevitably bring highs and lows. Hopefully, however, after following these steps you will find yourself having a smooth road trip while creating lasting memories.


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