How to Avoid Breaking the Bank on Your Next Road Trip
I loved when I was a kid and my family would hit the road and explore. Sometimes our road-trips were quick one-day drives and other times they'd last a whole week, but they were always memorable!
I think my favorite road trip memory, aside from the year w traveled to California, three kids and two adults in a Pontiac sedan, was the day we ventured into Canada (before passports were required and when the road signs were all in French) and got lost. We couldn't find anyone who spoke English to give us directions back to the States and ended up circling a sewage treatment plant about a dozen times. It wasn't fun at the time, but my siblings and I laugh about it now.
Let's say that you grew up road tripping and want your kids to experience what the open road is all about. Let's say that you've saved your pennies for the ultimate summer road trip with your family. Let's say that you've found the best deals on a hotel, installed a gas app so that you know all of the cheapest places to fill up, and let's say you've packed a cooler with sandwiches to save on eating out. Sounds like you're on your way to a budget-friendly trip, right? Wrong.
Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you're probably still going to annihilate your budget.
According to PR Newswire, Retail Me Not discovered that 95 percent of Americans end up spending more money than they budgeted when they go on a road trip. So what's causing this massive budget fail? Basically, it's the "moment."
Think about it this way- you've set a plan, but then the sunshine makes you all happy, and the wind blowing through your hair makes you even happier, and you want the happy feelings to continue so you stop by a roadside store and swipe your credit card for that adorable dancing hula girl for the dash of your car because she's a “once in a lifetime” buy and will remind you of this happiness when you get back home.
There's nothing wrong with treating yourself to a couple of souvenirs, but instead of pulling out your credit card, set a budget and then load up a prepaid credit card and take a little bit of backup cash. Leave your credit card at home.
Another way you can help cut down on unnecessary expenses is to make a list before your trip of everything you'll need to pack. Literally add every single item to the list: aspirin, phone chargers, gum, whatever. As you pack each item, cross it off your list. By doing this, you'll save yourself from having to stop and buy items that you forgot to pack. I know it sounds completely tedious, but I can tell you first hand that this method has saved me so much money.