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Cheap Road Trip Ideas

Jul 30, 2018

Before booking a flight for your next summer vacation, consider taking a road trip with your family to save money. Here are our cheap road trip ideas on how to save money on your vacation.
Cheap Road Trip Ideas

Tips to Save Money on Your Road Trip

Find an Affordable Destination along the East Coast

Whether you’re looking to travel near or far, Pennsylvania is conveniently located within driving distance of destination hot spots that will fit your budget. As a first step in planning your family vacation, consider destinations that can be accessed via car – the price of gas will be lower than airfare. Plan a beach vacation to the Jersey shore or escape into the mountains by traveling to the Poconos. Both destinations provide family-friendly fun and aren’t more than a few hours by car from Philadelphia.

Other affordable options that are a bit farther away include Washington, D.C., or Florida. Washington, D.C., offers dozens of free museums that could keep the family occupied for hours. It’s also a walkable city with a number of visitor attractions. While driving to Florida is a time commitment, it’s significantly cheaper than paying for flights for the entire family. Check out more tips for your road trip to Disney World!

Create a Budget

Before finalizing your road trip ideas, make a budget to keep track of the expenses for your trip. Go grocery shopping prior to hitting the road to save money on eating out. Budget enough money to cover gas expenses, which should be a fixed cost depending on how far you’re going. It’s also a good idea to bring your car in for a checkup and make sure you have necessities like a spare tire and jumper cables for emergencies. If you plan to stop along the way to your destination, allocate some funds for activities along your route and a hotel if needed.

Pack a Cooler

Once you’ve agreed on your next vacation destination, load up the car with all of the essentials for your family. Depending on how far away your destination is, pack up a cooler with water bottles, juice, sandwiches and any other food that requires refrigeration. Mini-sized snack packs with pretzels or trail mix are perfect to toss into a bag for a snack when the kids get hungry. Packing food will save money on eating out at restaurants along the way. With that said, don’t forget to pack cleaning supplies! Stock up on wipes and napkins to clean up those inevitable spills or messes.

Play Games

Sitting in the car for an extended period of time can make anyone get antsy. Prepare for tantrums and breakdowns by planning ahead with fun games for the kids. Coloring books and colored pencils are easy to stow away under the seat and don’t create too much of a mess. Another option is car bingo – this can be played with free printable boards you can find online and reuse for your next road trip. You can also brainstorm other games that don’t require any supplies. Play I spy by calling out landmarks or cars that you pass out the window.

Save money this summer by following our road trip ideas. Research an affordable destination, create a budget, load up the car with packing essentials and provide entertainment to have a successful road trip on a budget.

Erin Elis 
Erin Ellis
Accredited Financial Counselor ®
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