Thinking of taking a road trip this year with the kiddos? Be prepared to hear, “Are we there yet?” “I have to go to the bathroom!” and inevitably “But it only costs a dollar, can I please have it?”
Taking a road trip vacation has its share of expenses and even the best prepared may fall into a budget busting dilemma. By gaining a better understanding of how to deal with unexpected expenses will keep you on track and having a good time.
Here are a few budget saving tips to keep in mind while you are on the road.
1. Use cash. By funding your vacation with your credit card you may end up paying double or triple what you spend depending on your cards APR. Unless you can afford to pay off the balance when you return, leave the credit cards at home. Start a savings account specifically for your trip and use that to cover all your expenses.
2. Avoid peer pressure. If you are traveling with others make sure you are all on the same page about what you want to spend. Dining out, excursions, and expensive hotels will add up. You don’t have to keep up with the Jones’s, stay within your budget. If your travel partners are considering something that isn’t affordable for you, consider an alternative plan.
3. Avoid filling your tank on the highway. Make sure your tank is filled before you get on the highway. Gas prices are typically about 6-cents more per gallon at EZ-off/EZ-on service stations.
4. Plan your meals. Stopping for fast food or convenience items can increase the cost of your trip. Consider keeping a cooler in the car and pack snacks and drinks.
5. Just say no to shopping. Stopping at gift shops “just to look” almost always results in an impulse purchase. Avoid the situation all together by not even going in.
By being prepared before you venture out on your next road trip you can avoid the sticker shock of traveling. Know your limits, stick to your budget, and avoid situations that will put you in a position to spend more than you intended.
Suzanne is a certified credit counselor and a Social Media Specialist for CareOne Debt Relief Services. Suzanne writes for Divorce, Debt and Finances and A Straight Talk on Debt. Follow Suzanne on Twitter @ADivorcedMom and @AskCareOne where she shares her insights on divorce and managing your finances.