Back-to-school season marks the end of road trip season for many, but just because those days of letting the miles rack up with your windows rolled down and your music blaring loudly enough to drown out any missed notes from your belted rendition are coming to an end, doesn’t mean you can’t squeeze in a few more before winter hits and the desire to be on the road for longer than necessary slips away. However, with back-to-school season often comes back-to-school expenses, making those road trips a little harder to fit into the budget. If you’re looking to get away for a weekend, but don’t know if you can handle the cost, here are a few of our best tips to save some money and see the sights while you’re at it.
Pay Attention to Mileage
If you’ve got an option between vehicles, and one has better gas mileage – go with that vehicle. You’ll find yourself filling up at the pump less often, and with gas prices these days, we all know how seriously that can save you cash. Keep this in mind when planning your routes, too. Taking the highway at a non-peak time, when you’ll be able to zoom on through without all the stopping and starting associated with in-town or rush hour driving will help you make the most of that tank of gas, and thus the dollars in your pocket.
Gas station munchies are great, don’t get us wrong, but if you’re looking to spend less cash, packing up some stuff you already have in your house before you hit the road will save you big time in the long run. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to pack up some more nutrient-dense options like veggie packs or Babybel cheese wheels that keep you full longer and help you avoid classic travel belly.
Be Open to Lodging
Don’t feel tied to the traditional hotel experience. Sometimes, this may be the cheapest option, but sometimes, you might find something for a great price on Airbnb, VRBO, or similar sites, and get to experience your desired destination from a whole new perspective. Being open to alternative lodging options can save you big money and level up your experience, depending on what you’re looking for, where, and when.
Pack a Tent
While we’re on the thought train of alternative lodging options, if you’re traveling around Colorado this fall, and you’re a fan of the outdoors, pack yourself a tent! There are plenty of free camping options in the state, and countless more you can stay in for a fraction of the cost of a hotel or Airbnb/similar rental option. Just beware of wildlife activity and be sure to follow the rules of any and all campsites you decide to bunk up in.
Watch Those Speed Limits
Nothing sets you back a pretty penny quite like getting a speeding ticket in the middle of what was supposed to be a fun, carefree adventure. Keep an eye on speed limits, and be sure to adhere to them whatever they may be. They’re there for a reason, to keep you and those around you safe. While you’re in road sign vigilance mode, we’d also suggest paying attention to all signage on the road, especially if you’re getting into the mountains. It’s there to keep you aware of what you may be dealing with on the road ahead, and anything that helps you avoid a costly crash is a big plus when you’re penny-pinching your way through a road trip.
Just because you’re taking a couple of days to explore the world around you via your vehicle doesn’t mean it needs to cost you an arm and a leg. Using these tips should keep you safe, keep your costs low, and keep your road trip fun at an all-time high. What are your favorite ways to make your road trips a little more affordable?