It's summertime! For many that means road-trips, but they can be expensive.
I recently underwent a 2,600 mile, round-trip, road-trip by myself and I have some hacks for you to minimize your spending. Due to the recent events of 2020, my funding is a little tighter as I'm sure many of you feel the same way.
The trip I just took was necessary, however, so I did what I could to make it all that way, without breaking the bank. Here's how...
Pack a Lunch
I packed a small cooler and a tote bag full of food and snacks eliminating my need to stop and pay $7-15 each time I was hungry or needed a pick-me-up in the form of coffee.
Sandwiches were my go-to because they're easy. Each morning I would pack a PB&J and a Turkey sandwich for lunch and dinner. I decided to bring fixings for both so I wouldn't get bored with the same thing all the time.
I also packed apples, bananas, sliced lemons for my water, rice cakes, and granola bars. That way I could snack and expand from my very boring sandwiches.
I packed a couple of gallons of water and iced coffee as well, feeding my caffeine addiction without going through Starbucks.
There have been road-trips where I cook an actual dinner but since I was alone, I lowered my culinary standard. If you want to cook an actual meal all you'll need is a camp stove, a pan, and ingredients.
Grant and I purchased our stove for relatively cheap and the pan we use is a retired pan for our kitchen. We have a crate just for camp cooking that is even equipt with a cutting board and knife, some spices, oil, and a collapsable washtub with dish soap for cleaning up.
My advice for cooking on the road is to pre-chop whatever veggies you want to cook. This saves time and clean-up. After a long day of travelling, I want to spend less time cooking and more time relaxing.
By packing my own food for my journey, I both saved money and ate more healthy. This also saves time on the road by eliminating the time it would take to sit in a drive-thru to wait for your burger and fries.
Find Cheap Accommodations
Normally when we travel we have the RV, however, this trip was a car trip since Grant could not take off work and needed the camper.
On a typical travel day with our fifth-wheel, we like to use RoverPass to search for accommodations. It's basically AirBNB but for campsites. With RVs you can get away with relatively cheap nightly stays, however, we aren't able to always travel with our camper.
Hotels are where I spend most of my money when we don't have the camper with us. On my solo trip, I was thankful that I had a good friend 1/3 of the way so I was able to stay with her instead of purchasing a hotel room one night.
If this is available to you, by all means, reach out and ask. Chances are they would love company after being in lockdown for months.
If that's not an option for you, no worries, I have some things that will help.
I typically search on a travel search engine such as Choice Hotels to find the cheapest rated hotel in my desired stopping point. If you join and create an account with them you end up saving a bit more and after a certain number of stays, you get free accommodations, which is great!
You can even sign up for their credit card and use it when staying at a Choice Hotel which gives you more points toward your free stays.
I have also been able to find great and cheap stays as well on sights like AirBNB or VRBO which you can easily download to your phone.
If I can, I search before I travel so I know where I will be stopping and I know where the best deals are located.
Find Cheap Fuel
Grant and I are on the road A LOT and we are always searching for a way to lower our fuel cost. Particularly in Grant's truck when we are hauling our fifth-wheel.
Thankfully, I have a car that gets good fuel mileage for trips just like the cross-country road-trip I just endured. A fuel-efficient vehicle is amazing when you're used to a big truck and trailer.
We recently ran across this app and I think it's the most amazing thing since sliced toast!
Gas Buddy is an app that searches for the cheapest reported gas near you (or wherever you want to stop) and gives you up to 5-10 cents off per gallon. You can even sign up for their fuel card, saving you up to an additional 25 cents per gallon. Which adds up quick!
Gas Buddy does limit you to a $75 purchase per day, however. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but when we are hauling, we hit that limit pretty fast.
Grant and I have seen a huge drop in our fuel bill since we started using the app and card. We all know that there is often much cheaper fuel a mile or so off the highway and Gas Buddy finds it for you.
We also use a fuel program through TSD Logistics. It is only available for Diesel Vehicles at truck stops but sometimes it saves us up to 50 cents a gallon on diesel with no limit on the amount purchased.
Pretty awesome, right? By taking these little steps we have saved a lot in fuel costs.
By packing your own food and using apps such as Gas Buddy and RoverPass, we have saved a lot of money that we can spend elsewhere on our travels. These three simple steps have helped us save 100s of dollars over the years and I'm sure 1,000s of calories.
Black Widow Adventures was designed to help you live the life you love, travel often, and gain the confidence you need to do you. We are all about travel (RV travel in particular) and I hope these tips help you along the road.
Always feel free to reach out to us with any comments, questions, or concerns. We love hearing from you!
Stay safe and travel on Adventure Tribe!
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