Traveling is all about fun and freedom, exciting roads, adventurous activities, and epic diversions – until you’re out of cash. But, do not fret. You can keep your travelling dreams on track even though your budget is not as endless as the horizon.
Road trips are all about going out there and living it up, but a simple wrong turn can cost you money and time you cannot afford. Whether you’re driving to the next state or cross-country, there are a number of ways to save money and have a fun experience. All you need to do is plan and prepare ahead.
1. Find the Best Route
Before you hit the road, make sure you find a route that has restaurants, gas stations, and banks. Do a thorough research as traffic can take up a lot of your time. Avoid major cities wherever possible. You may have to make multiple stops after you start the trip. A route with restaurants will help you stock up refreshments, if you are not bringing your own food.
Let’s say you are driving to Malaysia and realise that your car needs fuel. You wander desperately for the nearest fuel station, only to find out that there are none near you. What do you do? To save yourself from such situations, download Google Maps. It has features that allow you to add stops and look for gas stations along the way.
2. Select a Car That Gives Good Mileage
The better the mileage, the more you save on the road. If you are driving your own car, make sure it’s the one that has good MPG as it reduces the carbon footprint and does not harm the environment.
If you don’t own a car, consider renting one. Rentals are cheap as some companies offer discounts on the fees. If you are a member, you might get additional discounts. Several banks also give rewards and discounts on cars when you use their credit cards to pay for the charges. For instance, if you own a Visa credit card and book a car on Hertz, you will enjoy 10% off on the charges.
3. Bring Your Own Food and Drinks
There are 2 kinds of fuel you need – one that keeps your car going and the other that keeps you going. Buying food impulsively can push your expenses way over budget. It may sound cheap to buy a packet of chips and drink every once in a while, but after a week on the road, you would have spent S$70 extra, on refreshments alone.
Hence, it is best to pack your own food and drinks as much as possible. Try carrying a cooler or a small portable fridge in your car so that you can stock it up with items that are already at home. Instead of buying water bottles, use reusable filter bottles and fill them up with tap water. If you run out of snacks, stop at a supermarket that sells gas and snacks, making it a one-stop shop for all your needs.
4. Consider Cheap Lodging or Camping
Based on the size of your car and the number of people you’re travelling with, this is a simple solution. If you have the room, all you need is pillows and extra blankets for a quick night of shut-eye. In case your vehicle is not roomy enough, then maybe you can rent a campervan. This way, you will get a taste of the van life and depending on the length of the trip and the region, a campervan can be cheaper than a hotel room.
If the above options are out of question, you can rent a tent or buy a cheap one. Check out websites for discounts on tents or ask around for rentals. You can rent a room if you can share the cost with your travel mates. Check out Airbnb and see if you can find a room that is big enough to accommodate everyone and also cheap.
5. Visit Places Without Entry Fees
One of the most budget-friendly things to do is visiting attractions and spending most of your time outdoors. Several attractions do not require entry fees. You will make a lifetime worth of memories and capture great photos – all at no cost. Go on a long hike, visit national parks, have a picnic, or spend some time at a waterfall.
6. Travel During Off-Seasons
Food and lodging prices are always hiked during peak seasons because this is when a lot of tourists travel. If you travel during off-seasons, you will save a considerable amount money. Also, you can avoid traffic and large crowd. Avoiding peak seasons also means that you don’t have to worry about places being too crowded and congested.
A road trip is one of the most memorable things you can do with your life. If you have been bitten by the travel bug, nothing should stop you from going to places. Just follow these tips and you can have a lot of fun travelling on a budget. Your savings will prove that!