Tips for Affordable Road-Tripping. There are plenty of reasons to hit the road and experience what the world has to offer. Whether you’ve got itchy feet and feel the need to travel, are headed across the country to see a friend, or even ditching town after a bad breakup, a road trip can expand your horizons and help you to find new experiences. However, picking up and taking an extended trip isn’t exactly easy.
Apart from the logistics of working things out with your employer (assuming you don’t just leave your job), the costs associated with taking a road trip can mount quickly. However, there are plenty of ways to make life on the road just a bit easier on your wallet.
One of the best things about road trips is the spontaneity of them. Getting up, deciding you just want to go, then maybe getting a friend to come with you before you drive off into the sunset. What can often put a damper on that situation is the fact that cars tend to, and often do, break down at inopportune times.
The best way to avoid a potential disaster like breaking down in the middle of the night going through a mountain pass is to plan ahead. Before you jump right into your car and take off, take it in for a check-up at your favorite auto shop. Making sure that you’re well within the timeframe for an oil change or that your tires are properly rotated can save you bundles of cash.
While yes, you will have to pay money up front for this peace of mind, think of it as a sort of insurance. Identifying any issues with your transmission and addressing them before your big trip will cost you a fraction of what a new transmission will run you if it ends up going out mid-trip. Getting everything on your vehicle checked out before you go on your road trip will help to ensure it doesn’t get cut short while also protecting your debit account from disaster.
When traveling across the country, you still have to address all your needs. Food, entertainment, lodging — just because you are on the road doesn’t mean that these factors go away or become less important. The cost of these necessities can quickly pile up, draining your funds faster than you had anticipated.
Eating on the cheap is relatively easy, especially since eating out at nicer restaurants can sometimes be a chore. Packing food like instant noodles or dehydrated meals can be helpful, as all you need to do is boil some water in order to eat a meal. It might not be gourmet, but when you’re pinching pennies every little bit helps.
For entertainment, you don’t have to settle for just bringing all those books you haven’t got to on your reading list (although that is a fantastic idea). Depending on when you take your trip, hunting for deals on entertainment can not only be easy, but fun in and of itself. If you’re heading out in the fall, you’ll find that most amusement parks will have slashed their prices from the regular summer season. Couple that with the fact that waiting time in lines is significantly reduced, you’ll find that spending a day having the run of an amusement park is well worth the money.
As far as lodging goes, you are essentially driving a tiny little apartment down the road! Believe it or not, Walmarts across the U.S. allow people to stay in their parking lot overnight with no hassle. If sleeping in a parking lot isn’t your speed, there are also tons of options for free camping, either in RV parks or on publicly owned land (depending on local laws). It might not be the most comfortable experience, but avoiding motels can save you a significant amount of money.
Depending on how long you want to be out on your adventure, you could consider fully transitioning to a nomadic lifestyle. Working while traveling has never been easier; thanks to advancements in telecommunication, anyone with a cellphone or laptop with internet access has the ability to make money while on the road, whether in their own gig or clocking into a remote job. In fact, there is an entire movement devoted to this mode of life that call themselves digital nomads.
Whether you decide to write freelance or restructure your side hustle into a veritable business, the option to fund your travels through your work is available to you. It takes an entrepreneurial spirit to tackle working on the road, but if you can pull it off you will find that it is a fulfilling experience. One benefit of working while traveling is that since you will be operating online, you’ll never have to worry about slow business, even in the middle of Death Valley.
You don’t necessarily have to dive into the nomadic entrepreneurial world head first, either. Freelance work is done at your own pace, and though it doesn’t net nearly as much money as regular, full-time jobs, you will still be supplementing your travel budget. You can also consider engaging in apps like TaskRabbit or Postmates to earn some extra cash on the fly in new cities.
Road trips aren’t supposed to be stressful. They are meant to be a freeing experience that shows you more about the world around you, and about yourself as well. If you’ve ever considered going out on a road trip, absolutely do it, but make sure you don’t go broke doing so!
Guest Post by Avery P.