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This post was last updated on December 14th, 2018 at 09:31 am
Road trips are one of those holiday ideas that can slowly turn into a nightmare that eats up all of your budget. Be it unexpected fuel costs or a lack of accommodation that you can actually afford, road trips can come with unexpected costs, so here are a couple of ideas that will help you keep the expenses low but still keep your satisfaction high.
Plan Your Trip
If you’re going on a road trip, make sure you have a plan. It sort of makes sense not to have a plan so that you can travel and experience everything the world has to offer, but it’s also dangerous and you could end up driving somewhere strange and getting lost. If you travel exclusively on the road, then you might find your road trip to be boring and uneventful, but if you travel down dirt roads and through forests, you could easily get lost and be out of range to use your GPS.
If you want to go on a road trip, make a plan. That way you can plan several emergency stops should something happen and you can carefully plan out your expenses. For instance, if you’re going to pass by a beach, then you could bring swimwear and towels. If you plan to pass by a mountain, then some climbing gear or hiking equipment could turn it into a wonderful day experience.
Something that you should always invest in is Vango awnings. These will help you extend a caravan to make your accommodation more comfortable and spacious, perfect if you are travelling with a group. It might look expensive, but it’s far cheaper than having to plan a motel or hotel stop and paying them for a night to use a bed when you could simply sleep in your vehicle.
Make sure that you carry essentials like a portable toilet, extra bedding and linen, and of course some clothes. You also want something to help you shower or clean yourself, but that’s usually down to your travel vehicle. Unfortunately, if you just have a car, then you might need to rely on hotels or travel lodges for your accommodation needs, and that’s where your planning can come in handy.
Always Carry Extra Cash
There are some great travel hacks to help you see more and pay less, but because you’re going to be far away from civilisation and perhaps too far from a usable cash machine, you might want to carry some extra cash regardless of how much you think you’ll spend. It’s important because you might need to repair your vehicle out in the open, you might need to pay for accommodation, and you might need to pay for food costs.
No matter what you plan for, don’t carry the minimum amount of cash on you. Withdraw extra, perhaps up to double the amount, and keep it safe somewhere in your vehicle as an emergency fund. The last thing you want is to be caught short in the middle of nowhere with no money.
Unless you have a large vehicle with a lot of storage space, you’ll want to pack lightly. A great way to do this is to pack everything you think you need, and then slowly cut down on the non-essential items. Things such as toiletries are great because they don’t take up much space and they’re needed for hygiene. However, you probably don’t want to take five pairs of jeans or baggy clothing that takes up extra space. Focus on getting light clothing that folds neatly and packs into your bag.
One of the most important things you should pack with you is a smartphone and spare battery. This is because they’re essential communication devices that you need to rely on should you get lost, and they’re helpful for keeping in touch with family members. This is a lot better than buying a separate GPS device or relying on paper maps bought from a gas station.
If you plan your trip then you’ll probably come across some unique destinations like clubs, museums or even casinos. However, if you want a budget road trip, you need to avoid these tourist destinations and instead, find your own form of entertainment.
A great way to do this is to take a football, frisbee or other sports equipment that you can play with in a large open field. If there are open museums and touristy attractions that don’t cost much, then you can consider those as well. If you’re travelling during the summer, then perhaps an open beach could be a fantastic location to take a swim and get some sun. Keep the weather in mind, stick to your budget, and try to avoid tourist traps.