That time of year is once again upon us and you know what that means don’t you? Road trippin’! Whether you’re headed to your next travel nursing assignment or simply taking the classic family vacation, there is no better way to get to your destination than winding your way through the infinite miles of interstates, highways and back roads. Sure traveling by air would get you there faster but you would be missing out on the most important thing about the adventure, the experience.
No matter the length of your trip from point a to point b, there are sure to be many things to see, do and of course eat! While on the road you may want to try and stick to a certain schedule but as we all know, things can and will usually not happen as you so desire. It’s easy to want to try and keep your stops to a minimum and running through a drive-thru may seem like a good idea, but in reality it can really add up and have you reaching for your Tums. So instead of super-sizing value meal #4, why not head into town off the beaten path and find a locally owned and operated cafe or restaurant. They are sure to have some money saving specialties and your tummy will thank you. But if you must keep to a schedule, there are other means to save yourself some bucks while keeping your body fueled for the long haul ahead of you.
I admit I am not the greatest of bargain shoppers. Whenever we have to make a stop for gas or the more important potty break, I am guilty of always buying something, anything from that convenient store and for some reason I really like to sample the local flavors in the beef jerky department. So you buy a snack and a soda and already you’ve spent around $4. The best thing you can do to avoid these impulse purchases is one, stay away from stopping at a convenient store or gas stations (unless of course you need gas!), try and hold off for a state run rest stop. Second, buy all your snacks and beverages ahead of time and store them neatly in a cooler or other container. That will definitely save you some money, plus you get more for it!
Now no road trip is complete without spending the night in motel or for the rugged, a campsite. Nothing says stay here like “Free HBO.” Some motels even offer free breakfasts and that would be a great way to start your next day of traveling. For overnight stays I recommend you do your research prior to taking off. Try your hand at bidding on your own price at Priceline.com. See what hotel chains are available along the path you plan to take, seek out the deals via the internet or for the real cost effective method, try a night or two camping. If you’re a AAA member or AARP you can be assured some sort of discounted prices at participating motel chains and the like.
While researching places to stay along your planned route you should also check for the best gas prices. Here’s a site that does just that. GasBuddy.com. Now besides finding the cheapest gas, here are a few methods to help keep you on the road longer.
Follow these few simple gas-saving tips to save a lot of road trip money which you can use to buy more beef jerky. I know in the summer it can get hot, especially if you’re heading out west. If you can stand it, turn off the AC — it hogs the gas faster than you can say, “Four dollars a gallon?!” If you must use it, try just occasionally switching between AC and rolling down the windows.
Another method less thought of would be to ease off the gas pedal well before a stop sign and coast to a stop; take off in a mellow manner. Burning rubber burns gas needlessly. Also, make sure you inflate your tires close to max — carry a teeny tire gauge and read the tire’s side. Finally the biggest and most obvious expense to avoid is getting a speeding ticket. I know you want to get there, but why get there upset and with $200 less in your pocket.
Hopefully you can apply any and all of these tips on your next adventure on the road. Also, if you discover some great jerky out there, by all means tell me… I will plan accordingly!