There’s nothing more exhilarating than taking to the open road with nothing but miles of highway and thousands of potential little stops between you and your destination. You can do a straight burn with the help of caffeine and your favorite playlist or stop every ten hours for a relaxing stay in a local bed and breakfast. You can pack all the food you’ll need for the trip or make a tour of delicious rural cafes you’ve never heard of. Road trips can be the cheapest form of vacation imaginable or they can eat into your vacation savings like nobody’s business and the difference is all in how you plan. Whether you’re out to visit family or to check out the world’s largest ball of string, the best way to have cash for what you really want to do is to save it in every other way. Here are six great tips for coming out ahead on your next road trip.
1) Lightweight Luggage
It doesn’t matter if you’re driving a gasoline, electric, hybrid or even natural gas vehicle, weight still determines how far you get on every tank or charge. Remember this when packing. Choose your lightest weight luggage. Light but sturdy plastic crates and collapsible mesh baskets are a great way to sort your stuff without heavier suitcases and boxes. When packing anything heavy, ask yourself if you really need it and look for lightweight alternatives. The less weight you bring, the fewer tanks of gas or recharge stops you’ll need.
2) Pack Your Essentials
One of the biggest unexpected vacation expenses is the need to restock on things you forgot. From shampoo to swim suits, it seems there’s always at least one reason to make an unplanned trip to Walmart either at your destination or somewhere along the way. Unless you’re going deep-woods camping, make sure you pack:
- Shampoo, Conditioner, Bodywash
- Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Floss, Mouthwash
- Bathing Suit, Flip-flops, Sunscreen
- Razor, Shaving Cream, Aftershave (if applicable)
- Extra Socks and Underwear
- Jeans and Hiking Shoes
3) Driver-Friendly Road Meals
Once upon a time, at least in all of our memories, fast food was the cheapest way to get a hot and semi-complete meal on the road but those days are gone. Fast food is pricey, not to mention fattening, and stopping at a well known chain every few hours will seriously cut into your travel budget. Instead, pack a supply of long-lasting road food that’s easy for the driver to eat one handed to bring down your number of stops and expenses in one fell swoop. Bring a cooler and get creative with your favorite foods. You might try:
- Trail Mix
- Pasta dishes cooked muffin tins
- Pigs in a Blanket
- Sandwiches with napkin wraps or edges pinched together
- Anything in a burrito-wrapped tortilla (eggs and bacon, chicken caesar salad, ham and cheese, etc)
4) Prepare the House
Your utility bills can still go up even if you’re not using your house unless you take care of this before you go. Make sure your windows and doors are securely sealed and locked including any pet doors. Check every faucet in the house to ensure it’s not on, and you can even switch off your water completely to prevent drips and running toilets from racking up the bill. Turn off all lights and unplug appliances. If you don’t need power for anything and your house won’t freeze or swelter while you’re gone, you can go so far as turning off all power at the breaker box.
5) Rent Out Your Parking Spot
Want a chance to make a little money while you’re gone? You can recoup some of your travel expenses by making your parking space available to others while you’re not using it. With the help of the ParqEx app, simply log in and list your spot for the time you plan to be gone and if anyone needs to park in your neighborhood during your road trip they will pay you for the privilege. Then, when you return, your spot will be open again and waiting for you.
6) Safe Spots to Boondock
If you’re not road-tripping for the opportunity to stay in hotels or Airbnb rooms, there are few great options for inexpensive and safe ways to sleep in your car instead. Boondockers (those who camp in their cars) often use public rest stops and Walmart parking lots as well lit and legal places to stop but you don’t have to use the common locations. With ParqEx again, you can find a cozy a spot in a quiet residential neighborhood, maybe even in someone’s protected garage, rent for the night, and head out safely in the morning when you’re feeling fresh.
Saving money on your road trip is the perfect way to make sure you have plenty of funds for the things you really want to do. Make sure you packed carefully, your house is sealed, and your parking space is up for rent before you set out to not only save money, but possibly even make some while you’re out. For more great road trip tips, contact us today!