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Tips for a great road trip on a budget

August 25th, 2015

Going on a road trip is a classic travel archetype that many people dream of doing. Packing up your belongings to fit in a car and hitting the open road can be a spirited and freeing way to see the place you’re in. While often a more economical travel method, costs can still be high and with rising petrol prices, costs can be downright exorbitant. Here are a few tips on having the best possible road trip while sticking to a budget.

Use applications

While this seems like it may defeat the purpose of unplugging and driving along the country, there are so many different (and useful!) applications for finding free camping, attractions and cheap petrol. You can also use these to map out traffic patterns so that you can avoid detours or traffic jams (did we mention saving money on petrol?). Wiki camps is a great application that tells you the closest picnic grounds, camping, even BBQ sites nearby that cost little or no money. The technology is there, you just need to use it to save yourself some time and money while you’re hitting the road.

Go green and go reusable

In addition to leaving less of a carbon footprint in the world, using reusable tools at home will save you lots of expenses in the long run. If you can, purchase a water bottle with a built in filter so that you can fill up wherever you are. Bring along your favourite reusable coffee cup (hello KeepCups) so you can cut down on cardboard while you get your caffeine hit. Definitely scrap the paper plates and plastic utensils and bring a picnic set for each person in the car.

Picnic for twoBuy food, keep food

Always keep food in the car so that if hunger strikes, you don’t necessarily have to eat at the petrol station, unintentionally wasting money on food that probably won’t be the best anyway. Every time you are near a grocery store, just restock these items and you’ll always have something to nibble on in the car. The best non-perishable items for road trips are: cereal, dried fruit, peanut butter, wraps, bread, canned tuna, pasta, couscous, or the old faithful, trail mix and nuts.

Don’t waste fuel!

Petrol is probably going to be your biggest cost next to accommodation and there are so many ways you can prevent wasting fuel in your car:

  • Be sure your tyres are properly inflated. Slightly deflated tyres can decrease fuel mileage.
  • Pack light. The more weight in your car, the worse your mileage will be.
  • Maintain a steady speed. Use cruise control on the highway to help maintain consistent speed.
  • Avoid rapid acceleration and braking, which uses more fuel.
  • Park your car and walk whenever possible if you want to explore an area.

By following just a couple of these tips you can make your road trip friendly to almost any budget. A cheap road trip is on the horizon – just be responsible, plan carefully, budget your money and you will have a truly enriching experience. Oh, and don’t forget to make a playlist…music is of great importance!

Will Norquay is part of the team at Stayz. He’s a  great travel and photography lover. He likes to discover new places and eateries around Australia and share his experiences and stories with other travellers.

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