How do I go about planning a cheap road trip?

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Answered by: Mark, An Expert in the Travel - How to Save on Road Trips Category
A few months back, I was approached with the idea of taking a road trip across the country, but I worried that my bank account wouldn't be too excited about it. I didn't think there was such a thing as a cheap road trip, but fear not, there are many ways to save money and still enjoy your trip to the fullest!!

First and foremost, make a budget for yourself and try to estimate your costs on a day to day basis. Depending on your activities and interests, this may vary. Do you plan on sight seeing at locations that charge? Going to amusement parks? Enjoying a lot of nightlight or cuisine? Once you've figured out all that good stuff, you can estimate a daily value to allot yourself.

Second, if renting a vehicle, find one with the best gas mileage while still being comfortable and with plenty of storage for whatever you may bring with you. Gas prices vary from state to state, so try to track down some gas prices and add that onto your daily expenses as well. Assuming you'll drive all day, most cars need to stop 1.5-3 times per day for gas. If you are with a group, take turns paying for gas and fill your car up whenever it gets to a half tank.

Eat smart! Have meals that are on the cheaper side during the day (while staying away from suspicions truck stop meat) and if you want to splurge at night you'll have a little extra cash to do so and enjoy the food of the natives.

Now that the suns down, lets worry about lodging, whether it be hotels or camp sites, there are plenty of ways to locate cheaper yet comfortable and clean establishments (especially now that we all have smart phones or tablets). In areas that have a lot of tourists, hotels will be everywhere and most are clean and wont hurt your wallet. If you plan on sleeping under the stars you'll save even MORE money, as hotels are more expensive. Though information on campsites should be done pre-road trip as they are sometimes more difficult to locate and book.

Now you're in your hotel and want to go enjoy the nightlife of this foreign land, perhaps a bar? Ask a hotel employee or find any local and I'm sure they'll be happy to point the way to the most popular watering hole.

Majority of your money will be spent of food and drink, while gas and lodging isn't as expensive as one might think. Plus, the more friends that enjoy this unforgettable trip with you, the cheaper it will be for everyone! As far as I'm concerned, money isn't a reason to miss out on an experience like this. A cheap road trip is very possible, just be responsible, plan carefully, and budget your hard earned money and you will not be disappointed or poor when you get home! I hope this helped, and safe travels to all!

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