Few things bring a family together like packing up the car and taking a road trip, whether your destination is only a few hours away or you plan on driving cross country. While these trips can create memories that last a lifetime, they can drain your bank account quicker than you might expect. If you are planning a road trip with the family, here are a few tips that can help you save some money before you leave and along the way as well.
1. Create a Detailed Budget
While a spontaneous road trip can be fun and result in a great adventure, it can also be more expensive than you planned for. Running out of cash halfway through the trip and having to rely on credit cards for the rest of your journey can result in debt that might cost you months to pay off, especially if you opt for a cash advance on a credit card. These advances can be convenient; however, they often come with fees and high interest rates you may not be aware of at the time of the transaction.
If you own a car that is not very fuel efficient, consider renting one that is. Factor in what it will cost you to feed everyone, whether you will be staying in any hotels, and allow some extra cash in the budget for emergencies as well.
2. Review Your Car Insurance Policy
Does your insurance policy include roadside assistance or 24-hour towing if something should go wrong with your car? If you are not sure about the answer to this, then it is a good idea to review your policy before you hit the road. Unpleasant surprises related to what you are not covered for can end up cutting your trip short. If you live in New York and need to renew or update your car insurance, contact a New York insurance agent for assistance. This will help give you peace of mind as you travel.
3. Pack Portable Provisions
Eating at restaurants a few times a day during your road trip can quickly eat into your trip money, and finding healthy options for everyone in the family can be a challenge. However, you can combat the cost and potential tummy trouble that can result from eating fast food by packing a cooler full of nutritious yet portable food. Consider packing items such as sandwiches, fresh fruit, bags of whole-wheat pretzels and baggies of your kids’ favorite cereals. Drinking pouches and bottled water in reusable containers can quench the family’s thirst at rest or picnic areas.
Packing a cooler can also help you save money on having to buy snacks at gas stations or from vending machines, but you might also want to pack green to cut down on waste. Consider using freezer packs instead of bagged ice and reusable individual lunch carriers with built-in dividers so plastic baggies or cling wrap are not necessary.
Taking a road trip with the family can be a wonderful time and can create memories that you will talk about for years to come, but it can be costly unless you plan carefully and take all financial issues into account before you leave.