Spring Break is a great time to plan a road trip. The budget minded will find that a Spring Break road trip is often more affordable than imagined. There are a number of tried and true Spring Break road trip tips to make a Spring Break road trip more affordable. Planning is essential for a budget-friendly Spring Break road trip. The ten tips will start any road trip off on the right path.
1. Pack Snacks
Snacks are an essential part of any road trip and it is likely that a snack craving will surface at some point on the journey. Convenience stores are aware of this and the prices will reflect the convenience. If you want to save some money on a road trip, take a pre-trip venture to a local supermarket or discount store and purchase packs of snacks, fruit, or other goodies for the ride.
Spring Break road trips on a budget become more budget-friendly when you can fill the car with a few other travelers. If you are part of a group taking a Spring Break trip, make arrangements to drive together. The savings on gas and expenses add up fast when split among friends.
3. Stockpile Restaurant Gift Cards in Advance
One way to keep control of your Spring Break road trip budget is to accumulate or purchase a few restaurant gift cards to chain restaurants in advance. Online reward sites such as mypoints.com offer gift cards for shopping online or trying online offers. If you plan ahead, you can earn gift cards before your trip. Another option is to pre-purchase a few restaurant gift cards for quick stop meals. This will mean less money out-of-pocket while on Spring Break and also help to keep your meal spending budget in check.
4. Bring a Cooler
Small coolers can be a money saver on Spring Break road trips. Fill a small cooler with some ice before you go and grab a 12-pack of your favorite soda or drinks at the grocery store. The unused sodas can be consumed while on your vacation and you will stay hydrated on the road trip without having to pay for single serve beverages at convenience stores or gas stations along the way.
5. Plan Overnight Lodging Ahead of Time
The worst possible motel or hotel rates to get are those quoted at ten o’clock at night when you desperately pull off the road for the night in search of a hotel. One way to save money is to plan your stop over ahead of time and research rates online at sites like priceline.com or expedia.com. If you have AAA or other discount cards you can also book ahead of time at a discounted rate.
6. Use a Coupon Organizer to Budget Money
The accordian pocketed coupon organizers are great tools for budgeting trip expenses. These handy trip organizers can usually be found at Dollar Stores or other discount stores. Label each section by food, lodging, souveniers, gas, and extra/emergency titles. You can add set amounts of money to each section to stick to a budget.
7. Stop at Free Sites Along the Way
Some of the best places to see on any Spring Break road trip are free. Be prepared to stop at places of interest along your road trip when you see a free attraction or photo opportunity. Scenic roadside picnic spots can be a great way to take a break while taking in some scenery. Research a few free travel attractions for your road trip online before you go.
8. Fill up the Tank at the Cheapest Gas Stations
Save money on filling the gas tank by planning ahead and not waiting until the tank is near empty to fill up. Gasbuddy.com lists current gas prices you can look up for locations along your road trip. Most cars can drive about 4 hours or so before a re-fuel is needed.
9. Split Hotel Costs
A budget Spring Break trip does not have to leave you lodging at the Roach Motel. If you can split the costs of lodging, you can also upgrade where you stay usually. One way to save on both lodging and meal costs is to rent a condo with a group. Many condo rentals sleep 6-8 people and there are some great deals online for those who want the luxury of a condo and are willing to share accomodations. The added benefit is the access to a full kitchen where you can buy food to prepare meals and save on restaurant costs. A weekly rental for a 2 bedroom condo may cost $1000/week but split between 6 people, the average cost per person is under $200 each. A regular hotel room for a single will likely run about $600 for the same week.
10. Plan a Spring Break Trip Off the Beaten Path
Spring Break trips to popular Spring Break locations are likely to cost premium amounts during Spring Break season. One way to save some money on a Spring Break road trip is to choose an alternate destination which offers similar appeal. If you want a beach Spring Break trip, consider a destination near the popular spot, but a few towns over. You’ll be close enough to the excitement without breaking the bank.