We all have fantastic memories of road trips. And for good reason — they’re great. They offer the chance to travel intimately with friends, without the worry of annoying other passengers. There is something special about having the freedom to be your crazy self.
But removing your rose-tinted glasses for a second. Road trips aren’t always an efficient way to travel. In fact, being initially cheaper than travel tickets is really the only savings you make. And after taking into account fuel prices and potential breakdowns, the bill begins to rack up.
However, recent technological advancements have seen the road trip become not only a great laugh but a genuinely thrifty way to travel the world.
Read on to discover some fantastic money-saving ways you can streamline the classic road trip.
Organize fuel costs
The classic ‘out of fuel’ set-up is a beloved sit-com trope. It has tension, mystery, and potential for comedic payoff. But, unfortunately, reality does not afford the same charm as scripted television. In real life running out of fuel has some scary implications.
You won’t get far running on empty, but it can also do damage to the engine, and eat away at your no claims bonus; meaning you are left without a car and set back a pretty penny in the long run. So, fill up on fuel as you go? You’re not thinking thrifty enough for my liking.
Consider making the extra effort and invest in a fuel card before your trip. It is a common mistake to attribute the use of fuel cards to big fleets. But, the versatility of the cards makes them viable for personal use too.
For one, most providers apply small discounts to fixed fees, resulting in steady savings across the board — perfect for long-distance road trips. Secondly, fuel cards like the Allstar fuel card are accepted across the world, so you’ll be able to fill the tank without the worry of it being rejected. Just make sure you read the lowdown on comparison sites like iCompario to ensure you are getting the best deal for personal usage.
Getting to your destination is key, but the journey can be long and tiresome. Often fatigue ruins road trips, from dampening the mood to putting passengers at risk. And despite what we see on television, a good night’s sleep in the back of a car is a myth.
Booking a place to rest along the way is a good idea. Yet finding a decent hotel at the drop of a hat is difficult and incredibly expensive. It is best to organize overnight breaks before setting off on your trip.
Again, comparison apps are a great place to start. They allow you to plan ahead and make the most savings; serving as an effective research tool, by storing a comprehensive database of hotels from around the world.
Generally, the sooner you book accommodation, the cheaper the rate. But we know things don’t always go to plan. So, the best penny savers will always have something up their sleeve. When your tire is punctured and continuing isn’t an option, last-minute booking apps are your best friend. Sites like Hotel Tonight serve to get you out of trouble and save you money; providing a selection of instantly available rooms, whilst protecting you from extortionate late booking fees.
Use a route planner
Sometimes getting lost is all part of the fun. But not if you want to save money. And in reality, it results in nothing more than a long, expensive detour.
The chance to find beautiful new places off the beaten track is priceless. That likelihood however, is few and far between. You are more likely to waste fuel by darting up and down miscellaneous stretches of motorway. So, think about the plotting route before leaving the house.
Simple route planners like Google maps are here to help. They are mostly free and provide consistent road updates to help avoid traffic.
Prepare food in advance
Road trippers believe sacrificing healthy eating, saves time and effort. I don’t agree. Yes, it may save you time, but ultimately the standard road trip diet boils down to service station fast food and an expresso. And nobody craves a squashed burger, with a side order of soggy fries. The services are incredibly expensive and not worth your time.
Sustaining a balanced diet on the road is vital and no amount of fast-food will solve the problem. Instead, look to plan ahead with friends to avoid unneeded expenditure and horrible food. Making your own food is the best way to save money and keep your energy levels up.
Snacks like granola and fruit salad are perfect options for a road trip. But not all of us are brilliant cooks, so consider sharing a food planner app amongst your mates. Such apps simplify the cooking process by providing recipes. And you can delegate responsibility, as well as, expense — saving you time, money and effort.
Recommended reading: 4 Tips for Traveling Abroad by Yourself
With the benefit of modern technology, the road trip can be both adventurous and pragmatic. In the future, consider these neat tips before switching on the engine.