Planning a Road Trip on a Budget
By Levi Quinn
Is there such a thing as a cheap vacation? Nowadays it can cost you a fortune in gas to just drive to the post office. But since you don’t have that much control over the price of gas, there are other ways to save when taking a road trip. Here are some tips for saving some cash:
• Plan a Budget. Before you turn that key on your car, write out a budget of how much you want to plan to spend on lodging, gas, food and attractions. You might plan to spend $70 a night on a hotel and only spend $60 one night so that cash can rollover to be used elsewhere.
• Map Out Your Trip. Use a good old-fashioned map, a GPS or a site such as MapQuest to map out your route. It’s no fun getting lost and it wastes money on gas.
• Find the Cheapest Hotels. Scour the Internet for the best and cheapest hotels along your route and book them. Another resource for discounted hotels is to stop at visitor’s centers and check to see if they have any coupons for hotels or attractions.
• Try Camping. Camping takes a lot more preparation than pulling into a hotel, but it can be cheaper and more fun.
• Pack Your Cooler. Pack a cooler with sandwiches and drinks to save on food along the way. Those bags of chips and bottles of soda at gas stations tend to add up. Plus a picnic lunch would provide a nice break along the way. If you are really ambitious, you could even bring along a portable grill. It will take some preparation, but a hot, grilled meal beats fast food any day.
• Save on Gas. Gas is expensive no matter where you go. But it tends to be a little cheaper at truck stops so keep your eyes peeled for those along the way. Also you can save gas by maintaining a lower, steady speed. Try using the cruise control.
• Cheap Entertainment. Plan some cheap entertainment such as hiking in the park, camping, fishing, or visiting a museum or historical landmark.
Some Bargain Entertainment Spots
Reader’s Digest recently published a story on “free” vacation spots, some of those include:
• Rocket Launch Cocoa Beach, Florida
Here you can watch a NASA shuttle or rocket launch on Florida's “Space Coast. Watching is free-and to see a launch is to remember it forever.
• Flight Check Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
Visit the site where Orville and Wilbur Wright first took flight. Admission to the museum at Kitty Hawk is free for those 15 and under, and the beach is open to all.
• Gallery Tour Washington, D.C.
There are many monuments and museums at the capitol with free entry to almost all of them.
• Afternoon in the Park New York City
Central Park is full of free fun, with its walking paths, softball games, open-air concerts, and 21 children's playgrounds. Admire the miniature remote-control sailboats on the pond, visit the Strawberry Fields memorial to John Lennon, or take in one of the many no-cost dance, theater, and film events run by Central Park SummerStage.
About the Author: Have a fun and safe time on the road, and visit us to find the best deal on the auto insurance coverage you need. Get money-saving tips, compare auto insurance quotes and helpful car insurance advice at