Whether you’re heading out on a once-in-a-lifetime road trip or crossing the country for business, getting out and hitting the open road is always an exciting adventure. Life isn’t like On The Road or a dated teen movie though — real-world adventures require extensive planning to make them affordable and enjoyable.
Getting out and exploring the world costs money, but that doesn’t mean you need to break the bank. You don’t want the lasting memory of your trip to be an empty wallet or an argument with accounts.
No matter what you’re hitting the road for, here is a simple guide for saving on your travels.
Think smart when it comes to fuel
There’s nothing more important to a successful road trip than the car — and the absolute best way to save money throughout your road trip is by keeping an eye on how much fuel it’s using.
As any economically minded driver knows, fuel ain’t cheap. It seems every time you pull up to the pump these days prices have gone up. To avoid getting caught out with a tank full of petrol or diesel you can’t pay for, it’s vital you get a handle on your fuel consumption.
Before you head off, make sure to check your vehicle for any faults. This isn’t just the safest way to start a road-trip but makes sure there aren’t any issues that will end up costing you valuable fuel on the road. Besides, a break down will end your trip and set you back a few thousand.
Being more economically minded when you drive is a fantastic way to get yourself into healthy habits that’ll save fuel. Driving at an appropriate speed isn’t just safe – but shown to have a dramatic effect on your overall fuel consumption.
If you really want to be smart about how much you’re spending on fuel though, you should consider investing in a fuel card. All major fuel providers across the country will accept personal or professional fuel cards — usually having their own unique branded option, such as Esso who offer unique discounts with Esso fuel cards. This is a cost-effective method that streamlines the process and earns you brownie points back in the accounts office.
Plan your route efficiently
No one wants to be the person who turns up to the first day of the road trip with a full itinerary and a meticulously planned route in hand. It kills the spirit of adventure. However, that person might be worth listening to.
Rather than leaving it (and the long-term future of your bank balance) to chance, why not give planning your route efficiently a go?
Just like monitoring your speed to save fuel — knowing your ideal route inside out, from expected traffic to surface quality, will save you money on that all-important gas. Constantly backtracking after taking the wrong turning is going to rack up some expensive bills.
Make sure you Google the best possible route before setting off. You won’t just avoid surprise toll payments, but also big bust-ups in the car.
However, at the same time, you shouldn’t make the whole trip about getting to the destination as soon as possible. Find a balance between cost and pleasure to make the journey truly memorable for everyone.
Consider alternative accommodation options
Of course, we all know road trips are about more than what goes on in the car. Finding somewhere to sleep is all part of the adventure. If you’re out on an exploration of youthful discovery then yeah, maybe you don’t mind slumming it on a friend’s floor for a night or two.
On a business trip though? You might want to get a good night’s sleep before the big meeting.
Hotels can be a significant expense though, especially if you’re there more than one night. That’s why more frugal travellers should look for alternative forms of accommodation that fit their tight budget.
Consider spending the night in a hostel. They’re cheaper and despite their association with student travellers and communal rooms full of bunkbeds, it’s actually pretty easy to find high-quality options with personal rooms.
Deep in the countryside and enjoying a lovely summer evening? Why not pull up, unpack that tent and spend a night under the stars. Combining camping with a road trip might be a sure-fire way to give the car some questionable smells, but it won’t cost you much – if anything – and might just give you an even greater sense of adventure. Make sure to double-check you’re able to camp in that location though.
Time to hit the road?
Hitting the road isn’t as cheap as it looks. Everything adds up – from the fuel to the continental breakfasts to the coffee to keep you alert driving late at night. The best cross-country drives are ones that are planned out in advance, affordable and safe.
Follow these tips, and you might just have enough cash left over for another trip a couple of months down the line!