Getting out and exploring the big wide world is one of the biggest perks of life. These trips can get expensive and difficult when you have a young (or not so young) family. A road trip is a great way to see and experience tons of great things without buying expensive plane tickets. However; I have a few more things you can do to make sure you don’t over spend.
Pack your own food
I know this sounds boring and exhausting but it doesn’t have to be. Choose one meal each day to eat out and pack the rest. I always choose breakfast because it’s usually grab-and-go anyways. Bring a cooler with yogurts, bagels, granola bars and fruit in it for breakfasts. If you’re going to a theme park, national park, or water park plan to pack lunches that day since the food inside the park is insanely expensive. Then you can look up the best places to eat in that area and get more bang for your buck.
Bring lots of snacks!
I don’t know about you but one of the hardest parts about a vacation is that there isn’t always something to eat within arms reach. If I’m feeling frantic about not knowing where my dessert is coming from I can end up spending $10 on an ice cream cone just because it was there. Bring some snacks and treats with you so you don’t have to buy any of that overpriced junk (it’s usually nasty anyways).
You don’t have to go far
You can end up spending quite a bit of money just on gas if you are trying to travel cross country. Odds are that there are tons of great places within a few hours of you that you’ve never been to or heard of. It takes a little extra research but if you dig around on the internet you can really hit the jackpot. I planned a trip for my family this summer and we never drive more than 2.5 hours in one day (and this trip was in Idaho!).
Booking several nights at a hotel that is even half way decent can get pricey. If you have camping gear staying at a campsite can cost as little as $25 a night. If roughin’ it doesn’t really float your boat look and see if there are any yurts in the area. They are a great camping alternative for those of us that prefer sleeping indoors. They are a bit more than a campsite would be but could still help you save some much needed cash.
Plan, plan, plan ahead
Some of the most expensive parts of a vacation are the unexpected expenses that come up. Oops-you forgot your sweatshirt. But it’s freezing outside so you drop $50 on one from the gift shop. You didn’t realize that it costs $25 per car to get into that national park aaaand they only accept cash. So you have to use the ATM at the gas station and pay the $5 fee on top of that $25 you didn’t plan on spending. Look carefully at what everything will really cost in order to properly set your budget and make sure to think through everything you’ll need when you pack.
Choose your splurge
Pick one main destination to center you trip around and then find other free or cheap things to do around it and on the way. Set a budget and factor your splurge in first and fill in the whole with other cheap or free activities. Try museums, outdoor activities, and community events. Nothing a little planning research can’t handle.
Go on and plan the greatest family vacation that your money can actually buy you. Comment below and tell us how it goes!Nicole