Camping road trip is a great way to travel around the United States and is significantly cheaper than other vacation options. However, there are always ways to make your dollar go further. Before you leave, here are some ideas you should consider to ensure you can save while on the road:
Save Money at Home while You Are Away
- Stop any subscriptions during the duration of you trip such as newspaper deliveries
- Turn off or turn down air conditioning and heating units
- Have a neighbour, relative or friend care for your pet instead of paying for a kennel or cattery
Perform Basic Vehicle Maintenance
- Check tire pressure, spare tire, hazard lights, air filter, oil level, etc. This will help to prevent any unexpected breakdowns and also help the functioning of your vehicle during long drives.
- A First aid kit stops you from having to do a quick dash to the local convenience store for band aids at a higher price. See our article Camping first aid kit essentials to know what your first aid kit should consist of
- Maps to know where you are going in advance and how to get there without the hassle of stopping to find directions
- An extra vehicle key in your wallet so you're not in the situation where you need to pay someone for help
- Bits and bobs as you will never know when items such as a needle and thread, duck tape, scissors, stamps and safety pins may come in handy
- Electrical goods including cell phones, iPods, portable DVD players. Remember to fully charge them before you leave and bring extra batteries to prevent having to purchase these along the way
- Bulk buy food/economy size and repackage them into snack sized servings to prevent paying high prices for individual packs at convenience stores
- Bring lots of water as this can be used in different situations. Also consider bringing powdered soups, mixes and cordials to help stave off hunger and costs
- Pre pack some meals and have a list of recipes ready to go
- Have a big breakfast before you leave to prevent hunger along the road
- Bring a thermos for ready made hot drinks
- Bring condiments, herbs and spices that you use frequently at home, so that you're only buying fresh produce while on the road
- Fill up in advance on the cheapest gas prices available. Also bring a spare tank of petrol, just in case
- Choose a destination close to home and minimise your driving distance, to save money on gas. If going further away, try to find the fastest or shortest route possible
- Be prepared to drive more efficiently, to get more mileage out of your gas
- Drive in off peak traffic times in big cities where possible
- Gather all your membership cards for Supermarket clubs, camping clubs, national clubs, etc. They should have savings for stores, restaurants, entertainment and accommodation. Find out if they offer any specials to places that you will pass along the way on your trip
- Gather all coupons and discounts from magazines or online and keep them in a safe place and remember to use them!
Entertainment and Attractions
Vehicle Maintenance, Care and Road Side Recovery
- Consider joining AAA who offer roadside breakdown service with the membership
- Plan to use a nationwide auto care company such as Firestone for repairs and maintenance to your RV. This can save you lots of money if you are always on the move, as you can negotiate discounts based on being a repeat customer and if one location's repair does not last, you can get the next location to fix it for free under warranty
Staying in Touch
- Sign up with T-Mobile HotSpot if you plan to use your laptop frequently to access the Internet while on the road. For a fee you get Wi-Fi Internet access at over 10,000 locations across the USA, including Starbucks coffeehouses, Music stores, and Barnes & Noble stores. Service plans start at $9.99 a month. There are also pay as you go options
- Join Skype to make free or low cost calls to friends and loved ones using the Internet
With all these ideas there are no excuses for not saving yourself some money if you do a little planning before you go.
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