We’re getting towards the end of January and that means we have one more cold month of winter ahead of us. While winter is nice, it’s hard to enjoy waking up to 15 degree weather and icy windshields when you know that a quick road trip can land you smack dab in the middle of paradise. If you find yourself getting cabin fever sometime in the next few weeks, maybe a road trip is the answer you’re looking for.
“Life is about accepting the challenges along the way, choosing to keep moving forward, and savoring the journey.”
—Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
Road trips are all about spontaneity, adventure, discovery, roughing it, being creative, and enjoying all the quirks of life that come your way. But if you’re not afraid of the occasional wrong turn, eating PB&J for a week, or trying buffalo jerky from an out-of-the-way hunting lodge, a road trip could be just the adventure you are looking for.
Road trips can be one of the cheapest forms of vacationing. Rather than booking expensive hotels, eating at nice restaurants for every meal, and paying entrance fees to every theme park, attraction, and tourist hot-spot, road trips are about finding all the fun, free stuff. Of course, there will be expenses, the most notable gas. But between you and your friends (and phone apps that help you find the cheapest stations around), you should be able to handle the costs. Outside of that you may have to pay for a few nights at a motel or hostel and of course some food. But aside from that, you won’t have to pull your wallet out for much else.
HOW to Enjoy the Journey
1. Stock up before you go
Before you take off, stock up on your favorite foods, snacks, and music. Try to bring food that doesn’t need refrigeration and that can be enjoyed for days. PB&J works wonderfully. So do crackers, chips, popcorn, dried fruit, and trail mix. But make sure not to miss out on local cuisine as you drive through town. Many out-of-the-way cafes, restaurants, and bed and breakfasts offer great quality food for decent prices. This is your chance to sample some of the best food America has to offer. See what edible jewels you can find along the way.
2. Stock up on coupons
When you’re on the road it’s hard to not spend money on fast food. There are plenty of foods you can pack to save on road trip food costs, but if you do need to eat out a couple times, use coupons! Restaurants and fast food places often have apps that include points and discounts that you can use to get a meal without paying full price.
3. Enjoy what is around you
There are a lot of beautiful, exciting places out in Mother Nature that are there for you to enjoy at no cost. Relax at the beach, wander through a canyon, play hide-and-seek in a small forest, or explore the streets of out-of-the-way towns. Especially during the summertime, many cities and towns throw festivals, open street markets, celebrate holidays, and hold cultural events. These usually offer free concerts, dances, cheap specialty foods, and a lot of good times. These are fun, unique, exciting opportunities to experience the diversity that exists in your own backdoor. Have fun, make new friends and enjoy a cheap, quality entertainment!
4. Talk to the locals
Another good tip is to ask locals what to check out. Rather than chasing after the typical tourist sites or falling for the places with the biggest advertisements, ask locals where the best food is, what locals like to do for fun, or where to go to see the best sunsets.
5. Save by camping
Motels, inns, and hotels can be extremely expensive, and honestly, the more affordable options can be sketchy and gross. Skip it all together! Just go camping instead. Camping is better than cheap motel options because you can accumulate your own camping set up and sleep in comfort during your travels. You can always use a personal loan to take advantages of sales and help you purchase quality camping gear.
Follow these tips and you’ll be able to enjoy a adventurous and cheap road trip whether it’s this winter or any time of year!