4 tips for planning an affordable road trip

Summer vacations are often characterized by wide open highways dotted with cars packed full of families headed toward far away destinations on road trips to see family, friends or exotic locations. Often the cost of these trips can rack up due to gas expenses and sleeping arrangements, among other expenditures,but a successful road trip should be fun in addition to cheap. Here is a list of ideas meant to keep you within the limits of your road trip budget without sacrificing too much. 

Use a checklist to avoid forgetting anything
A simple yet essential task is keeping unessential purchases off of your itinerary. U.S. News and World Report recommends keeping a check list to make sure you don't leave behind something you'd have to purchase later. This list will make sure everything you need comes with you in addition to teaching your children the values of planning ahead and organization. 

Keep the timing of your trip in mind
Travel during off peak times in order to keep travel costs down. Avoid booking hotels during holiday weekends, and when you search for rooms, use websites that will hunt a deal down for you. Typically room prices will get slashed last minute in order to ensure the room is filled. Deals tend to appear more often in August when hotels have the opportunity to make up for slow summers before fall rolls back around.

Be smart about fueling up
Gas will likely be among the largest chunks of your travel budget. According to U.S. News and World Report, gas prices can vary as much as 20 to 30 cents in the state of Florida alone. One way to make sure you are saving money is seeking out the cheapest fuel you can find. There are several apps that can help with finding gas stations with the lowest prices. Taking the time to research gas prices in the regions you will be moving through, and downloading an app to assist in finding gas stations, will be significant assets in keeping your costs low. 

Avoid drive-thrus
Rest station fast food restaurants are not only more expensive, they are also less authenticate than a lot of the food you will find on back roads, according to Fox News. Instead of racking up greasy cheeseburgers and fries throughout the course of your road trip, try finding somewhere with a little bit more culture, a little bit less health risk and a cheaper menu. 

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