Road trips can be a lot of fun and are certainly cheaper than going on vacation where you have to fly to your destination.
However, that doesn't mean that the cost can't quickly add up. Choosing to stop at a convenience store for snacks, for example, can get really expensive.
Thankfully, there are small hacks to save money on your road trip. Let's take a closer look.
Pack Snacks and Drinks
One of the first things you want to do is pack snacks and drinks for the road. This can save you so much money.
Even if you buy everyone's favorite, brand-name snacks, you'll still save money. Check your local grocery stores and even your local Dollar Tree for snacks and drinks your family loves.
Another great tip is to freeze water bottles and pack those in your cooler to keep the drinks cold without the need for additional ice, which can take up valuable space.
Stick to Highways and Interstates
It's true that there's more scenery to enjoy when driving the back roads and through small towns, but it will cost you.
If the drive itself isn't main focus of the road trip, stick to highways and interstates, even if traveling through small towns cuts down on mileage, it may still use more gas.
The constant stopping and starting will use more gas than the steady flow of traveling on the highway or interstate.
Refuel for the Best Price
There are many websites and apps that allow you to check for the best gas prices in an area and save money on gas when traveling.
It's much better to use one of these apps than try to spot the best price on your own. One such app is GasBuddy. GasBuddy is a crowd-sourced app that allows users to enter the price of gas in their area. This allows you to easily find the best price and save $0.10 or more per gallon.
We used the GasBuddy app extensively when we drove to Michigan a few weeks ago to figure out which exits (and states) were the best to stop in for gas. For example, we stopped at the last gas station in Missouri since we knew that Illinois gas was going to be much more expensive.
You can also get cash back on your gas purchase with a new app called Upside. You'll get a 15 cent per gallon bonus the first time you fill up after you join and you can see how much cash back you'll earn at various gas stations around you.
Know Your Restaurant Options and Plan Accordingly
If you plan to eat once you arrive at your destination, or before heading home, research the restaurants in the area before leaving home. See which restaurants allow kids to eat for free or which ones have great coupons. This can save you a lot of money.
Purchase Dollar Tree Souvenirs for the Kiddos
Last, but not least, instead of spending money in overpriced gift shops, hit your local Dollar Tree before your road trip.
For example, if you're taking your kids to the aquarium, buy a bunch of marine-type toys, coloring books, etc. You'll be able to give them a whole gift bag filled with stuff for the same price as one souvenir from the gift shop.
Road trips can be a lot of fun and they don't have to be expensive. There are so many easy things you can do to save a lot of money. Who knows. Maybe your family will take even more road trips now that you know how to do it on the cheap.