Have you already got your summer road trip vacation nailed down? Maybe you have reserved a condo on the beach or have plane tickets purchased and your bags already packed. But if you are more like the other group of us who have just finalized their work schedule, then these tips are for you. Here are some of our tested tips for how to plan the ultimate road trip.
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How to Plan the Ultimate Road Trip
Road trips can be a great budget friendly way to create memories and see some amazing things but they do take a little bit of extra planning to make them successful.
Schedule your dates:
If you have a work calendar that needs to be cleared, do that NOW. Time off doesn’t organically happen. Most jobs will never really be done and ready for you to take time off. You must put vacation on the calendar.
Look at your budget:
Vacations should not be something that is put on credit. Look at what you can realistically afford and set a budget. Can you move some money around or skip some things now so you can have a little more to spend on vacation? Do you have any extra things you can sell on ebay or have a yard sale to get a little more money?
Look here to see how much money you can save between now and time for your summer vacation!
Study the map:
Our family loves to hop in the van and go exploring. A few weeks ago we hopped in the van and drove over to Charleston, South Carolina because the kids had never been to that state. So we did a quick weekend trip and made some great memories exploring the Charleston area. We even took a carriage ride through the streets of historic Charleston.
If you don’t like to spend a lot of time in the car, then look locally. Are there waterfalls nearby that you can go explore or a free factory tour that you have never experienced?
If you are feeling a little more adventurous then expand your search and see where you can travel? Decide your drive time limits. For us, we are often willing to drive 6-8 hours the first day so we can get outside our home area. Then we only like to travel up to 2-3 hours each day after that.
Pull up a map app online and start plugging in destinations to see where you can go.
If you’re looking for some road trip ideas in the Midwest states, take a look at these vacation ideas from on of our Midwest road trip last year (trip ideas cross Chicago, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois).
Look for Attractions:
Our family prefers to look for natural or historic attractions and sites. We love seeing where our presidents and the founders of our country lived and walked. So for us, we will search out presidential homes, natural parks or waterfalls on our adventures. If you are a sports fan, maybe you will want to see where the hall of fames are for your favorite sports. If you are a thrill seeker, then check for amusement parks.
You can do traditional amusement parks or Nickelodean Universe in Mall of America!
Think about Food:
When we take a road trip, we don’t eat out every single meal. We try to find a hotel that offers complimentary breakfast, pack something small in the car for a snack lunch or supper and then eat out only one meal a day. If you plan ahead, you may even be able to find places where kids eat free during the week.
Find free options!
When my daughter and I went to New York for the weekend, we didn’t have the time or budget to actually do everything in the city. We really wanted to see the Statue of Liberty but knew there was no way to work in a full visit. So we found the free option. Did you know you can ride the Staten Island Ferry and get up close to Lady Liberty? The cost for this boat ride? FREE!
If you want to experience a museum or park, check ahead of time and see if they have free nights or discounts. You can do a google search for the attraction + free nights or discounts and possibly find ways to save money.
Do you have friends that live where you are planning to visit? Call them and see if they know of any discount options for locals. They may be able to get a discount since they live in the area. Bonus: you get to make memories with friends while enjoying the attractions.
Get Loyalty Perks:
Where do you buy gas? Do they have a loyalty card? If you shop at Kroger, then make sure you are earning fuel points. By purchasing gas at the same place on road trips, you can get loyalty perks like discount gas prices or drinks.
What are your trips for planning the ultimate road trip? Where are you heading this summer? I’d love to hear! See you on the road~