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EXCITING TIMES AHEAD

The cold season is almost over and you know what that means – road trips, road trips, and more road trips! It’s that time of the year to plan your next great adventure. Whether you’re driving cross-country or just a weekend excursion, there’s nothing quite like rolling down your windows, feeling the breeze on your face and looking straight on the open road. Aahhhhh! Road trips are my favorite quick getaway.

Note: I didn’t post our previous road trip adventures, my husband and I decided to start fresh this year for the new blog. I am super excited to share our next road trip adventures and encounters  – so stay tuned.

TAKE THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED

Some of the best memories I have with my husband are the ones when we are out and about and taking trips together. It’s our way to spend quality time, there is just something fun about taking long drives and being stuck with each other for hours talking.

We started this craze when we were still newlyweds, where we take bus rides to commute or long drives to visit family who are out in the country, making stops, finding places to eat and just enjoying the journey.

The fastest way isn’t always the best way for us, we like the detours, stops and the joys of finding hidden gems. These are what make road trips memorable but it can get costly – if not planned well. So here are some ways to plan a fun, hassle-free and budget-friendly road trip.

 

how to plan a road trip on a budget




PLAN YOUR ROUTE

Choose the route that has tons of interesting stops. There are countless apps that will help you with this. For the most part, they are helpful, but each road trips are different, so tweak those plans and make it your own. The app that we use in general on all our road trips is RoadTrippers.

You can schedule your stops, find attractions, food stops, hotels and more with ease. We especially like their “Things to do” section, it shows you the attractions and talks a little about the culture. It’s an all in one stop for road trippers!

BEFORE HITTING THE ROAD

Be cautious of your car and your gas

Make sure you get your car in tip-top shape. Schedule a complete check-up and perform maintenance checks like fluid levels, oil change, wipers check and tire checks or at least try to have the trip planned fresh after a complete oil change and routine service. By doing these things, you are sure that your vehicle stays reliable and economical the whole way most especially when your car has already some miles on it.

Taking these proactive tasks can help you economize your gas mileage and will maximize your car’s efficiency. The minimal car problems you encounter on the road the more money you save along the way!

We found an app that helps us monitor gas prices and locations – it’s called GasBuddy. This app shows you the cheapest gas prices in each area just by entering the zip code. It gives back too, if you put in real-time gas prices, you can earn and collect points for special discounts and prices.

Another cool app that we use to help us save on gas mileage is GasTracker+ by Fuelly, you can download this app for free in your App Store. This app helps us calculate our vehicle’s fuel economy, it also allows you to track your gas mileage over time and help you keep track of your car’s health.

Practice safety. Always have a pocket knife, a strong flashlight with an SOS function and have a fully functional tire replacement kit with a spare tire. We live in Texas and there are long stretches of just roads and nature. The last thing you want is to have a blow-out in that part of the country at night. People are extremely friendly here and will immediately offer help but it will be difficult in more isolated areas.

Related post: If you want to know what to bring on road trips, take a look at my Road Trip Essentials blog.

Find CHEAP lodging

You don’t need to pay for fancy accommodation, all you need to do is find the best value for affordable lodging. You can search online or download apps that can help you with this. I recommend to read the actual reviews – this will help you gauge the type of service they provide and if it accommodates your needs.

The apps we use for this are TripAdvisor and Priceline. These apps help us find the best deals on motels and hotels, all we have to do is choose then book, easy as that.

Personal Tip: If you want to even stretch the savings further – you can call your friends or family and ask if you could crash at their place. Send some thank you cards and gifts for their hospitality.

Study the weather and road conditions

This part gets skipped a lot, but for us, this is very crucial. You can save money and time when you take note of these things – think about it if you have optimal driving conditions, you are at a lesser risk of having car problems, which cost money to repair. To monitor the weather, we use TheWeatherChannel app, and Waze to have live traffic updates. Remember, the safer the driving condition, the better.

Find Free local attractions and food stops

Even small towns offer free attractions – there are parks, free museums or galleries, local fairs, historical spots and other places that you can stop by and enjoy free of charge.

Another thing, just because you try to save money on a road trip, doesn’t mean you skip eating at local favorites along the way. You only need to look for the best bang for the buck food stops and don’t miss out on the experience. When looking for great stops and restaurants, aside from using RoadTrippers, we also use Yelp and Foursquare. You can get actual reviews and have a little fun while connecting with people who use the app.

 




OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER

For the four legged babies

If you are like us who have 2 dogs, it can be difficult finding a place for them to stay when we go on trips. It can get costly too. One way to save big bucks is to ask friends who are willing to look after them and offer to pay – they are way cheaper than paying for pet boarding places or vet clinics.

However, there will be instances that friends aren’t available to help with this, so choose pet boarding places that are worth the value.  Our personal experience with our German Shepherd Tinkerbell is she loves open spaces. We were once newbies and thought she would be okay in some local lodgings in our area – boy we were wrong! We left her there and kind of regretted that we did, as we went to Vegas to spend time with family. The place was cramped and the dog hated being confined.

If you happen to live around West Texas or along the way, I recommend Live Oak Veterinary Clinic in Jacksboro Texas. The dogs will be well taken cared of and they have individual kennels with doggie doors that open to the outside if they start to feel claustrophobic. The wide open backspace allows them to run around freely and play with other dogs. We are very happy with their facility and services, not to mention, our doggies enjoyed their stay.

Numbers of friends/family nearby

Always handy to have around. You never know when you need to call a friend/family for help when you are on the road. So list them down and have it ready.

Schedule you driver switch and taking breaks

Driving for a long time can take a toll, so plan switching drivers. What my husband and I do is switch every 4 or 6 hours. Give each other a little break so both of you will have time to enjoy the drive and sceneries.

What’s next? It’s time to prepare your Road Trip Essentials

Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post. Read full disclaimer here.

How do you plan your road trips?

Share your thoughts and comments below

 

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