People love traveling! It’s no surprise that traveling is one of people’s favorite hobbies. Over the years, traveling has gotten elaborate and even more expensive. Even the age old adventures of road trips are becoming mere dreams!
My aunts are well seasoned travelers and have done many great trips and have taught me all I know about traveling thus far into my young 23 years. They once packed up shop and traveled coast to coast with just them and the open road! Wouldn’t that be nice! I’d love to take a whole month out of my life and travel the width of our great USA. But it seems like a financial nightmare.
I have a panic attack just typing about it (not really; but the thought is stressful). It can be done for cheaper than you might think. You just have to ignore all of the media mumbo-jumbo and research for yourself and use what you have to make it work.
You don’t quite have to sell your home or first born to get a good adventure – nor do you have to travel for 3 months on end or anything like that. I’ve been looking into numerous weekend trips within a 9 hour drive from central Kentucky.
Just follow these simple rules for saving money and not completely break your standards of living.
No. 0 A.K.A. “The most important”: K.I.S.S. rule. Keep It Simple Silly! Find a simple and direct route, with a drivable days distance, and easy lodging accommodations. If you want to keep it really simple, go camping! The opportunities are endless for this rule. Just keep it easy. Traveling is all about living life and experiencing something new and great.
No. 1: Always know your route. Knowing your route will increase travel ease and save you money on driving. If you don’t have to do a whole bunch of u-turns and weird turn around a because you’re just driving in a direction you think might work, you’ll save more money and wear-and-tear on your car.
No. 1A: Have an alternative route. Always carry a paper map/atlas alongside your preferred GPS/Phone app. Phones and GPS’ are great and all, but sometimes they don’t work right or route you somewhere you don’t want to be. So paper maps are always a safe bet.
No. 2: Travel light. Pack light all of your necessities and snacks for the road. This keeps the weight of your car down which is great for your gas mileage. It also reduces the risk of you losing something or accidentally leaving it somewhere (both of which I have experienced).
No. 3: Meet people. Local people. They will tell you the best places to go and often for the cheapest prices. If they work some where, they might even hook you up with some good deals!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked and befriended locals and they’ve helped me out with lodging, food, or attractions. If it’s advice on the best places to go or worst places to eat, they’ll know. As long as you are just real and treat them like friends rather than another tourist attraction, they’ll generally be willing to help.
No. 4: 86 the air conditioning. Air conditioning, no matter what kind of car you have, will decrease power in your car and cause your cars gas mileage to plummet due to the extra force the engine has to use to make everything run at the same time.
Use this rule with caution. If the weather isn’t permitting, go ahead and use air conditioning. Especially if it’s raining or if you’re driving through hot/muggy conditions as health issues might be of concern. If you’re going to be in the car for a while, you might as well be at least somewhat comfortable but also has conscious.
My boyfriend and I just drove down to Orlando, Florida from Lexington, Kentucky on $85 one way by following these rules. We did have to turn on the air when we got into the heart of Florida and it got too hot and humid.
No. 5: Drive the speed limit – cruise control is your friend. Again, another gas saver. Not only will going a safe and constant speed save you money, but it will save your driving record and avoid having to pay off a speeding ticket. Good things all around!
No. 6: Bring snacks! I always hint at bringing healthier snacks because health should always come first! But bringing your own snacks can have some other benefits as well.
The first being if you’re snacking a bunch on the trip, you won’t be as hungry and chances are you won’t impulse stop at some fast food going and gorge yourself on fries or foods that will make you gassy (just being honest!). Your pocket book will thank you! The dollar menu prices add up over time and you may be screwed out of money later. Don’t let it happen to you!
No. 7: The deal with lodging. This one is very tricky. The best thing to do is to either bring your own accommodations by tent/camper/etc and find a good campsite (this is a nice cheap option and it only leaves you to blame if things aren’t up to standard) or to be open minded.
I know I complained in a previous post about going too cheap with a hotel – but not every cheap hotel is going to be as awful as the Budget Inn I encountered in Byron, GA.
You just have to be smart. I know that may be easier said than done with the uncertainty of hotel rooms nowadays; but have a little faith in yourself and don’t lower your standards so much to where you’re uncomfortable or even in danger (whatever it may be).
No. 8: Coupons, groupons and other advertised deals. This is a great way to save some quick cash. Groupons have been very successful in attracting business to various tourist things and food stuffs. For example, we were going to go kayaking in Florida and had a groupon for a two hour kayaking tour for two people for only $25… Which is 50% off!
I do recommend checking the expiration date and even calling up the company or restaurant and a) making sure the discount or deal is still in effect and b) make reservations for food or tours to ensure that you get the experience you want during the time you want/need.
Now you have it! My 8 simple rules for traveling with a light wallet! If you have any other rules of your own to share, please let me know and I’ll work them into a future blog!