How To Save Money On Your Family Road Trip?

With the pandemic currently hindering many people’s travel plans, and with no end to it in sight, a family road trip might be the best solution when planning your next vacation time. As we discussed here, you don’t have to come into contact with anybody outside of your social bubble on a road trip, so it could be the safest way to travel this year or next.

A road trip is relatively inexpensive too, as you won’t have to worry about airfare and other transport costs. Still, that doesn’t mean there will be no damage to your bank balance. With the cost of fuel and any stop-offs you make for food, etc. there will be some expenses to cover. However, money can be saved, so in this post, we are going to give you a few cost-cutting tips for your family road trip

Invest In A Sat-Nav (Or An App On Your Phone)

We know a road trip is sometimes about taking the road less traveled, but you want to reduce the risk of getting lost. If you do find yourself in the middle of nowhere, you will waste a ton of fuel and money trying to get back on track, and your stress levels will start to rise too. 

So, before your trip, invest in a sat-nav or a route planner app on your phone, and use it to plan your journey. Program in the shortest routes possible if you want to reduce the cost of fuel and use it to find local attractions too.

Research Accommodation

Of course, if you’re traveling in a campervan or planning to use a roof top tent, you won’t need to worry about this expense. You will be able to pull over anywhere that is legally allowed and set yourself up for the night. But if you are traveling by car, and if camping doesn’t fill your family with joy, use comparison sites such as Trivago to find the cheapest places to stay. 

Alternatively, visit hotel websites directly and check out their special deals. It might be that you qualify for a reduced rate if you book in advance, so commit to research, and even contact the hotel to ask about reduced prices.

Bring Your Own Food

When you bring your own food with you, you will have more opportunities to explore, as you won’t have to worry about planning your route around places to eat. You will save money too, as many gas stations charge inflated prices for the foods they serve, and the same sometimes applies to diners. 

So, avoid the awful foods that gas stations serve up, and benefit your finances by packing your own menu items. You will need to pack non-perishable foods, of course, so factor this into your shopping list. You will also need to invest in a cooler to keep your foods fresh. 

Check out these road trip food ideas if you need a little inspiration, and be sure to check in with your family about the things they do and don’t want to eat. 

Use A Packing List

Before you head out on your road trip, create a list of everything you need to take with you. This is common sense, of course, as you wouldn’t want to be miles from home, only to discover you had forgotten something essential. 

A packing list has money-saving benefits too. When you have everything you need for your trip, you won’t have to pay premium prices on purchasing those essentials that you should have packed yourself. 

Check out this road trip packing list and tailor it according to your personal needs. 

Drive Economically

While you might be tempted to put your foot down on your road trip, it is worth remembering that you will use more fuel this way. To ensure you don’t need to fuel up on too regular a basis, drive at the speed limit.

You will enjoy the road trip better this way anyway, as you will have more time to enjoy the beauty of the scenery around you. Of course, you won’t incur any speeding tickets either, so this is another reason why slowly but surely is the way to go.

To save fuel, you should also:

  • Avoid rapid acceleration and braking
  • Reduce the weight in your vehicle (don’t pack the kitchen sink then)
  • Drop the revs
  • Make sure your tyres are at the recommended pressure
  • Use a fuel reward card
  • Use an app to find the cheapest fuel stations

Make Sure Your Car Is Well-Maintained Before You Leave

You’ve packed your bags, you’re on the way, and the freedom of the open road is ahead of you. All is fine until the warning lights on your dashboard come on and the engine starts smoking. If only you had taken the car in for a service beforehand! Get the picture?

A breakdown will ruin your family road trip, and you will have breakdown and maintenance costs to pay too. To avoid this, take your car into the garage for a checkup before you leave on your road trip, as you need to make sure it’s roadworthy before you set off on your travels.

There are also a few things you should check before leaving, including the fluid levels and your headlights. When you’re good to go, you’ll have peace of mind, and your family will be a lot safer too!

Pay For Breakdown Cover

You should always expect the unexpected on a road trip, and unfortunately, this can include a breakdown or an accident. Before you leave then, make sure you have a breakdown cover.

This will be cheaper than paying for a tow truck, and you might get your car mended while you’re on the road too. You don’t have to pay for a full year, of course. A month’s cover should be relatively inexpensive and should be all you need for the duration of your road trip. So, despite the expense, remember the costs you might incur without it!

So, there we have it, seven ways to save money on your family road trip! If you do manage to get away this year or next, we hope you have a fabulous time!

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We are Karolina, Patryk, Mia, and Kostek, the lazy traveling family. After spending 5 years as digital nomads, and living in many countries in the world, we decided to make Poland our base.

Our mission is to show you safe and interesting destinations where you can travel with your family.

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