How to do road trips on a budget?
Traditionally road trips have been alluring due to their affordability. Competitiveness in the airline market and the availability of cheap airline tickets, put road trips into a different perspective. Then again, road trips are not about the destination. It is about the companionship, sites, snacks, songs, the road, getting lost and so much more.
Budgeting for a road trip is often overlooked. If done properly it will be affordable and an adventure of a lifetime. Why is budgeting important? Road trips are not cheap, especially when you think about high fuel costs and wear and tear on your car. Add to that hotels, toll fess, snacks and meals. Before you know it, you could run up a huge credit card bill.
Should I rent a car or use my own?
One of the most important factors that you have to consider is if you want to use your own car or rent one. You can save a lot of money in the long run if you consider this option from a practical point of view. Road trips mean travelling long distances. If your car is not in a good condition, you could end up spending a lot of money if it breaks down next to the road. Personally I prefer to rent a car. There are many advantages in renting a car and prices are very competitive, making road trips affordable. It is also important to know that many costs associated with your own car are delayed, which will impact you later down the road. It also offers you an opportunity to test drive a car that you haven’t driven before.
How to budget for road trips?
The first step in creating a road trip budget is to break the cost down into main categories: car rental, fuel, food, accommodation and toll fees.
Many car rental companies offer coupon codes. This can put money back into your pocket, which makes car rental appealing. It is important to rent a car that is fuel efficient. Keep in mind that a deposit is required in order to rent the car. This needs to be calculated into the budget. Car rental is calculated by the rental amount x number of days.
One of the most challenging areas of a road trip budget is to estimate how much fuel you are going to use. Fuel will probably form the bulk of your expenses. Road trips mean travelling long distances. Long distances require fuel and there is no way around it. There are a lot of little things that you can do to save on the fuel cost. Here are a few suggestions to save fuel while driving.:
[v_icon color=”#1e73be” size=”18px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-checkmark-3″] Turn off the air conditioner. The air conditioner use a lot of fuel!
[v_icon color=”#1e73be” size=”18px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-checkmark-3″] Don’t speed. Speeding can get you into trouble and it wastes a lot of fuel.
[v_icon color=”#1e73be” size=”18px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-checkmark-3″] Keep your tires inflated.
[v_icon color=”#1e73be” size=”18px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-checkmark-3″] Use a GPS device to avoid getting lost and to waste fuel.
[v_icon color=”#1e73be” size=”18px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-checkmark-3″] Check fuel prices before filling up. Fuel is not the same price in all regions. GasBuddy is a handy application for your smartphone that will find you the best fuel prices.
Food can make a big dent in your pocket and it is important to budget according. How to budget for food and snacks? Take the number of people x number of days of the trip x daily food cost. For example: 5 people x 10 days x $10 per day = $500. It is a good starting point and the formula can be adjusted according to the needs of the group.
Accommodation is calculated by the cost per night x number of nights. It is advisable to look for accommodation before you depart to ensure that you don’t waste fuel by driving around for hours in search for accommodation.