Money Saving Tips For Summer Road Trips (Part 1 of 2)
College students love their road trips. However, vacationing can be a very slippery slope. Gas prices and airline ticket rates are soaring. Here are some helpful tips to make the most of your road trip while pinching your pennies.
- Before your trip, plan your route. Print off a map at home, rather than buying a map.
- Look for coupons online. A few weeks in advance, order a catalog of tourist information. Sometimes these come with coupons for local attractions. Also, you might get a few more ideas for the trip.
- The night (or day) before your trip, go to a local grocery store and buy snacks and bottled water. The price of these items are sometimes triple at rest stops and in tourist-y areas.
- When choosing a place to stay overnight, it pays to do your research. You can save major dollars by staying at a hostel or a hikers inn. If that’s not really your scene, go with a motel or hotel that offers free amenities (pool, free breakfast, etc.). Make sure to book your motel so you don’t waste time driving around town, looking for someplace to stay.
- If you’re the spontaneous type and didn’t book a place to stay, look for motels with empty parking lots, rather than ones with full lots. Empty lots mean they need your business and they might be willing to negotiate a lower price. Or, you can always pitch a tent! (I mean go camping, you sicko. Geeze.)
- Pack a sweater. Yes, it’s summer. Yes, it’s hot outside… right now. Bringing a sweater from home saves you from a) freezing your hiney off if the weather happens to change and b) saves you from having to buy a sweater at a gift shop.
- Instead of driving around in an unfamiliar area while wasting time and money, swallow your pride and just ask for directions.
- On the note, while driving long distances, take advantage of cruise control. This will save money in 2 ways: it saves on gas and you won’t drift over the speed limit and get a ticket. If your vehicle doesn’t have cruise control, just try to go easy on the gas pedal, as driving faster uses more gas.
- Roll down those windows and turn off that AC. Even that can help save on gas!
- Use that college ID! Some businesses will give discounts to students, as long as they have the ID to show for it.
- Instead of eating fast food constantly, take in an early bird special or buy your lunch from a grocery store. A lot of stores along the way will offer subs and fresh fruit for the same price as a Big Mac- and it’s a lot healthier, too.
- Think before you spend. You pick up a pen with the name of the town you’re in. It costs six dollars. You reach into your wallet. This is the perfect time to ask yourself these three questions: “Is this item worth it?”, “Will I care about this item in ten minutes?” and “Will I even look at/use this item when I’m at home?” The answers will almost always be no, no and no. (Now, put the pen down and walk away slowly…)
(Photo by Bella Lago.)