When was the last time you travelled to a new place without having to get on a plane? A roadtrip is the easiest way to achieve that adventure! Let me share with you some tips on how to do it but without breaking the bank.
- Plan Ahead
The first thing you should ask yourself is: what kind of roadtrip do I want to do? This can be to visit family, for a specific event (concert, festival), or for pleasure.
Next, you must determine how much time you want and need for this trip. For example, if you want to go to the beach and you only have 3 days for your trip, then ask yourself, what is the closest destination to home?
When you already know the type of roadtrip you want and the location, then you will detail all the expenses of that trip. Here you’ll have to be specific and do an extensive search. In this list you will include: gasoline, electric charge (if you have an electric car), lodging, food, activities, insurance, tolls, parking, and extras (shopping, emergencies, etc.). This information can be easily searched on the Internet.
Finally, you are going to check your finances and evaluate how long it will take for you to save for this trip. Be honest and decide if you can achieve the trip on the date you initially thought or if you need to move it for a later date. Also check to see if you qualify for credit cards that offer rewards for stay, gas, or even food.
Staying in a hotel or renting an apartment / house will depend on the type of traveler you are and who you travel with. Of course, always choose the one that offers the most for less money.
For hotels, I recommend that you first look in the downtown area and / or near your attraction so that you can discover the city more easily. Filter your search options such as: free breakfast, free parking, room with kitchen and / or shuttles. You can also research for hotels that are out of the city so you can compare prices. On this case, remember to add transportation to your budget as you might not be able to walk to the main hotspots. There are certain hotels (Marriott, Hilton) that offer points and / or discounts, depending on the times you stay in them or if you have a credit card from that chain. Finally, visit the hotel’s website as they sometimes have better discounts and you can register with their rewards program. Also, you can contact them directly by phone.
If you like spontaneity and are flexible, I recommend downloading the Hotels Tonight application on your phone. This application gives you the best prices on hotels if you are looking to stay that same night; reservation at the last minute.
To rent apartments or houses, I recommend that you look for a place where you have access to the kitchen, includes parking and is close to the attractions that you are interested in visiting. Remember that this option is excellent if you travel with several people since you can split the total reservation. Of course, be aware of extra fees that they want to add, such as cleaning or service fee, since this can increase the total amount significantly.
And of course, the cheapest option for lodging is camping. In the United States, there are several national parks that offer extremely low prices, starting at $ 9 a night. Just take the camping tent with you!
- Things to do
The things to do in your destination will depend on your interests, but yes, you can do it without spending a lot of money. I recommend you search the Internet for: free things to do in X place. You will find several news articles and bloggers with valuable information. You can also search on Facebook or EventBrite, just enter your destination and the dates so you can see all the events there are. Also try to search the official government page of that city as they will have information about events and offers for tickets or passes. For example, if you want to visit several museums, instead of paying for the each entrance, you can get a pass that includes all museum admissions t a discounted price. Use social networks to do your research, you can search by location, or directly with bloggers / influencer in the area. Also check information on the website of your attraction, as they might have free admission some days, or with some discounts. Speaking of discounts, if you are a student (or ex-student), take your ID with you, you will be surprised how many places offer benefits for this. Other free things to do in any city are: farmer’s market, walking tours, shopping centers, visiting public areas such as the beach, churches, parks.
- Packs snacks from home, enough for the trip to your destination.
- Take advantage of the free breakfast at the hotel, and / or cook your meals.
- Buy the dish of your choice at the supermarket for breakfast, lunch or dinner. You can choose food already prepared (salad, sandwiches).
- Buy food at the farmer’s market. Prices are usually low, and you get local stuff.
- Do not eat in tourist places, go where the locals eat.
- Choose to go out for lunch instead of dinner, as you can get lunch specials, as well as Happy Hours.
- Check if there are any discounts on Groupon or another website, where they offer discounts at restaurants.
- Bring a portable coffee maker (or use the hotel / apartment one) and make your own coffee.
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