Even during a pandemic, families are holding on to their summer vacations and hitting the open road to make memories with their kids. AAA projects that Americans will take 683 million road trips from July to September. If you haven’t gone away yet, there’s plenty of time to take a last-minute road trip. Just keep in mind, traveling by car is cheaper than flying, but it’s still possible to overspend if you don’t plan carefully. Here are four common road trip budget busters with tips for how to save.
Budget Buster 1: Expensive Activities.
When traveling, it’s natural to want to see and do as much as possible to make the most of the trip, but action-packed schedules come at a high cost. However, there are plenty of fun destinations that offer no-cost fun. For instance, a mountain destination is excellent for hiking and camping, a lake provides opportunities to fish and swim, and a beach escape is perfect for building a sandcastle—all of which are free. Check out the Roadtrippers app for help planning, which offers a collection of classic American road trips that include fun and interesting stops along your route.
Budget Buster 2: Rest Stop Snacks.
Whether you’re pulling over for a restroom break or fuel stop, it’s tempting to run into the gas station market and pick up a few drinks and snacks for the road. Although these small purchases seem harmless, the costs can creep up quickly. Prepare ahead by making sandwiches for the road and pack a cooler with fruit, drinks, and other healthy snacks to keep your bellies full for the long drive. Then, carve out a portion of your budget to try a new restaurant at your final destination.
Budget Buster 3: Last Minute Lodging.
Finding a reasonably-priced room during the busy travel season will be a challenge, especially if you didn’t book a hotel room or home rental in advance, but you can still save. Download the HotelTonight app for a listing of luxury accommodations at up to 70% off or check outRoomerTravel.com, which connects you with travelers who are stuck with a hotel reservation they can’t change and allows you to purchase their reservation for up to 25% off.
Budget Buster 4: Pet Boarding.
When planning a trip, it’s easy to overlook the cost of leaving your dog behind. With commercial pet boarding costing up to $70 per day, depending on where you live and the facility and services offered, this can add a considerable fee to your overall travel budget. Instead, either leave your pet with a loving, at-home sitter in your area that will provide one-on-one care, or bring fido with you, so he can partake in dog-approved activities. Sites like Rover.com will help you find affordable, personalized pet care options regardless of your need or location – from daycare and walking to overnight pet-sitting services. Just pull up the app when you roll into town and find the perfect sitter for your needs, at a very reduced rate compared to alternatives.