The following is a guest post by Jessica Stark from Instructions Optional.
Summer road trips are inexpensive ways to get your family out of town for a vacation to somewhere within driving distance. Although driving to your destination isn’t quite as cheap as it used to be, considering the rising cost of fuel, road trips are still a great option, especially for large families. When you’re planning a getaway, arrange the following aspects ahead of time to make sure your trip goes as smoothly as possible.
Decide where you’re going.
The first step is to plan where you’re going and how long you’ll take to get there. Although you can stay in hotels if you have to drive more than a day, you’ll save a lot of money if you plan to stay overnight with friends or family. Even if you have to detour slightly from the most direct route, doing so is usually worth your time and gas money. Another way to save money is to seek out campgrounds along your route. Load up your vehicle with basic supplies like a tent, cots, bedding, basic survival supplies like a lantern, bug repellant and food for the nights you’ll be camping, and you’ll be all set.
Get your vehicle ready for the road.
As your trip nears, it’s time to get your vehicle ready to go. Make sure your oil has recently been changed and have your mechanic give the car a general onceover, including checking the levels on the transmission and windshield wiper fluids. When you’ll be putting lots of miles on your tires, make sure they have enough tread to last for the whole trip. If not, look for deals on a new set of tires. If you’re not replacing your tires, do make sure they’re properly inflated to get the best possible gas mileage. Lastly, test your air conditioning system, if you have one, to ensure everyone will be comfortable in the car. Having an emergency car kit is also a good idea in case your car breaks down during your journey.
Pack your vehicle for the trip.
The last part of getting ready is packing your vehicle. One of the things you’ll want to bring along is food and beverages. The cost of dining out for every meal will quickly add up, especially if you’ve got a lot of people to look after. Pack a cooler with ice water, sandwiches and snack foods like baby carrots, nuts, a few treats and other foods your family enjoys. Consider using mobile phone apps to help you find deals on food along your route and get the best gas prices when you need to fuel up. Lastly, don’t forget to bring along some entertainment for all of those hours in the car. Check out a good audiobook from the library, get travel-size games for younger kids or load up the iPod with some new tunes.
Road trips are a staple of summertime for many families, but even the most seasoned travelers can learn a few new things about planning trips and saving money. Don’t be afraid to try something new when traveling, such as having newly licensed teenagers take the car for its oil change or camping instead of staying in a hotel. The changes you implement might just become a new annual tradition for you and your family.
About the author: Jessica is interested in traveling and spending time with her family. She enjoys reading and spending time outdoors in her free time.