Don’t know about you, but I love family road trips. Me and my husband have traveled both with kids and without them across the U.S. and it was a blast, pretty much every time.
During the years, I have learned a trick or two and today I want to help you get the best of it. To save money and have an even better experience on your own road trip. Read on…
1. Save on gas
You can do little about gas prices, but you can get a fuel-efficient vehicle and control the cost that way. Also, you can make sure your car is well maintained and have less drag.
Then, before the trip, use a service like GasBuddy to find gas stations with the best fuel prices, and plan your stops accordingly.
Finally, use a credit card that rewards gas purchases with cash-back or points, cause you don’t want to leave money on the table.
2. Bring your own snacks and drinks
Instead of eating at motels and gas stations, you can pack snacks from home. In fact, you should have plenty of snacks in the car, so make sure to buy them in bulk before you leave. Then package them into single (small) servings. A good tip is to go for the snacks that make the least possible mess.
The same goes for drinks. Pack as many as you can, but try avoiding sodas and juices. Instead opt for the water and coffee. You’ll need the latter if you want to drive by night (more on that in a moment).
3. Have your own entertainment
Tablets filled out with movies instantly come to mind, but think beyond digital to keep kids entertained while on the go. Actually, audiobooks are fine as they don’t involve your kid(s) gazing to the screen all the time. There are hundreds you could download for free from Librivox.
Also, I suggest old school, mess-free stuff like colored pencils, washable markers, and sketchbooks.
4. Pick a travel time carefully
There are two factors to deal with: when your kids fall asleep and when is the rush hour. The former can be easily “handled” with night rides, but not everyone likes driving by night.
As for the latter, check out Google and other services that could tell you how to avoid a rush hour if you’re riding near major metro areas. You don’t want to be stuck in a traffic — it’s not only time consuming, but can also be hard on your car and fuel efficiency.
5. Be prepared for emergencies
This is a common sense advice that applies to any trips, whether you’re travelling with your family or alone.
Have a first aid kit as well as a car emergency kit. The former can be bought online or in bigger stores. As for the latter, make sure you have all the essentials such as a spare tire, flares, and jumper cables. Also potentially useful are a flashlight and basic tools.
Finally, we advise everyone to have baby wipes at hand. They are all-round useful for all kinds of situations, even if you don’t have a small child. Whether it’s a coffee spill, messy face or something else — a baby wipe can quickly become indispensable…
And… you’re ready to go. Bon voyage!
Read next: How to Save Money on Your Road Trip