4 Money Saving Tips For Your Family Road Trip

MP900438719All of us get stuck in the rut of life, not that it is bad, but it is what I like to call the “hamster wheel,” it is good to get off every once in a while, take a deep breath and evaluate.  But how can you evaluate when you are surrounded by laundry that needs to be washed, floors that need to be cleaned and telephone calls that need to be answered.  You really can’t, all of the things around will pull you back onto the hamster wheel, that is why I declare summer as the – Go On A Road Trip Time Of Year!

My favorite part about road trips is that they make me STOP.  I can’t read in the car because I get sick, I can’t get up because I’m strapped down and I am in a contained space with my husband.  Some of our best conversations have been in the car on road trips.  What also makes road trips so fun is that fact that you are on your way to a special place, it may be new or close to your heart, but you are on your way there.  Relaxed yet?  I know I am. 

So, I say, go on a road trip with your family next weekend!  Get off the hamster wheel, evaluate your budget and make it happen.  Here are 4 money saving tips for you to make your road trip not only special, but affordable:

  1. Have a Plan
    Your final destination on a road trip is a pretty important piece of the puzzle.  Start by finding a fun, discounted activity on one of the coupon sites such as Groupon.com or LivingSocial.com.  Not only do I love the discounted activities and food on these sites, but I also love how they force me to think outside of the box.  You will find coupons from something as simple as discounted zoo tickets to driving a race car!  Use these tools to create a family adventure!
  2. Cheaper Gas
    Gas is a rudimentary element to a road trip, yes?   But lately it has been so darn expensive and it varies from gas station to gas station.  If you are not keeping track of the daily changing gas station prices of every gas station within a 3 mile square radius of your home, make it easy to find out what stations are offering the lowest rates to you in your area on GasBuddy.com.
  3. Cooler Time
    If there was one thing I dreaded as a kid and road trips with my family were the packed lunches.  My sand which didn’t taste so good when it had dropped off the container and into the ice at the bottom of the cooler an hour prior to me eating it….mmm…soggy turkey and cheese.  Let’s just say that I take all precautions now that this does not happen.  With that being said, pack a cooler.  You can turn your road trip into a small vacation if you eat out on it, if you have a 4 person family at $12 per plate for the adults and $8 per child, you are talking $40 for one meal – plus snacks, drinks and much more.  It gets pricey.  By doing a little planning beforehand and packing your breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and drinks, you won’t have to pay the piper later and feel guilty for taking that day away. 
  4. Pay Cash
    Pay cash for these trips, by saving on gas, packing a cooler and purchasing a coupon, doing this will be easier.  Don’t put these trips on a credit card, it isn’t worth the interest.  I would recommend creating a small savings stash for these family trips that you can access anytime you want to go on a trip.  Start by budgeting out a set amount each month, so that when the urge arises, the cash is there.  For some families it is $50 per month that they set aside, for others it is $100 – do what you can afford in your budget.