Planning A Summer Road Trip On A Budget

road trip on a budget Summer sunshine and heat brings thoughts of getting away from it all for a week or two, and what kind of trip is more fun than a road trip? Road trips are about the journey, not the destination–if you even have one in mind. While gas is expensive these days, you can still take that summer road trip, whether it's a romantic getaway for two, old friends getting together, or the whole family- kids included.

1. Skip the major summer holidays. Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day are going to be the busiest and most expensive times to travel. Gas and hotel prices will go up for the holidays. Schedule your road trip to avoid those holidays and save money.

2. Avoid resort-style hotels and theme parks. While tempting for an all-inclusive family vacation, these places are money-suckers and destroy the spontaneity that is the fun of a road trip. Stick to hotels with a pool and a continental breakfast. If you're going to be traveling with Fido and Fluffy, research ahead of time to find out which hotels are pet-friendly.

3. Try camping. While not for everyone, camping out can be fun and less expensive than staying in hotels. Camping doesn't have to mean a tent in the middle of nowhere and no facilities. There are family campgrounds with electricity, bathrooms, and showers. Camping can be great fun for the kids because it's a break from being inside all the time and provides automatic, mostly free activities, such as hiking, canoeing, and fishing. Camping can also be a great romantic getaway for the more adventurous couple.

4. Pack non-perishable snacks and reusable water bottles. Eating on the road can be expensive and bad for the stomach, especially after one too many fast food pit stops. Bring along healthy snacks, such as fruit, granola bars, cereal, and apple sauce. Toss in a few bags of chips for tasty treats. Refill your water bottles rather than buying expensive bottled water and accumulating a car full of trash that will end up in a landfill.

5. Visit historical sites along the way. The expense is often small to visit museums, lighthouses, memorials, and battlefields. Stops like these keep the kids learning while on vacation and satisfy the adult history buff.

6. Take the scenic route. Plan your road trip to take advantage of scenic parkways, beaches, and overlooks. This is a dream vacation for the photographer in your family. If you're using a rental car, most rental car companies can suggest scenic routes and places to visit.

With a little planning and research, you can have a fun, memorable summer vacation and still stay within your budget. You might even discover that you can afford more than one trip spread out over the course of the summer.


Written by:  Nicole Rodgers


Image courtesy of: Paul /

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