I’m getting pretty excited, because in just two weeks I’ll be heading out on my annual road trip with a few of my friends. We’re heading to the southwestern U.S. this year, where we’ll be camping in a couple national parks and getting our first-ever glimpse of desert scenery.
These road trips are always a great time, but I always have to be careful about my spending on them. I’m the kind of person who absolutely has to have a steady budget planned out, because I will blow money on impulse purchases.
Over the past couple years, I’ve gotten quite a bit better at keeping costs low on my trips, in more ways than just avoiding impulse purchases. Here are some of my secrets:
- Take a fuel-efficient vehicle. A couple years ago we took a big SUV and pulled a trailer all the way from Milwaukee to Yellowstone National Park. We got only 10 miles per gallon the whole trip, and needless to say wound up spending quite a bit on gas. With how expensive gas has become, it’s important that you take the most fuel efficient vehicle possible.
- Pack light. If you’re driving a long way, keeping your vehicle’s load lighter will actually improve your fuel economy. Plus, it will make your trip more comfortable for the passengers!
- Plan your meals. You’ll be less likely to splurge on food costs if you have your meals planned out ahead of time. Also, if you purchase nonperishable groceries before you get to your destination, you’ll find that you could save quite a bit of money, as groceries in tourist-populated areas can be significantly more expensive.
- Drink water. Rather than spending money on beverages at every stop, fill up some bottles with water before you head out on your trip. Why spend a couple dollars every time you want a drink when you’re out on the road?
- Don’t buy many souvenirs. This is more of a personal preference for me; typically, I take home only one souvenir from every place I visit. Souvenirs are often unnecessary items that come with an inflated expense. I prefer to take tons of pictures instead.
Are you taking a trip this summer as well? What other tips do you have for road trippers?