Are you hitting the road with your family? Whether it is for summer vacation, traveling for the holidays, or just a quick day trip road trips can be costly. These tips are for saving money while on the road. Road trips are expensive, but family road trips with a lot of kids can be very costly.
Use these tips to make your next family road trip budget friendly and even more important fun. Save money while on the road so you can have more trips to spend time together as a family.
Stock up on snacks
Snacks at the gas station can be pricey with a mark up of sometimes 100%. A little planning could save you a ton when you have a large family like ours, so instead, we stop at Walmart and the Dollar Tree and grab out snacks.
For cookies, I buy big packs of them and they put them in their own little baggies. For chips, I buy the bag of chips with all different type in them, and for candy, we buy either the 98 cent boxes from Walmart or bags of $1.00 candy from the Dollar Tree.
I don’t want my kids filling up on junk food though, so while I’m at the grocery store I pick up cherry tomatoes, cucumber (we cut into slices), Grapes, and other fruits I can cut up. I chop them up and put them in small baggies. This gives the kids things they can snack on that isn’t junk food.
Gas stations are only for gas
Gas stations have those expensive little “souvenirs” for a reason. They want your money. Keeping your kids out of the store is the best way to save money, so instead of going to the gas station for restroom breaks stop at a rest stop instead.
A rest stop is better for three reasons. First, you save money from keeping the kids out of the store. Second, it’s usually cleaner. Third, you can make it a longer stop. When you get to the rest stop, set a timer. Since we have a larger family we set our timer for 20 minutes (you can change this). Your family can you the restroom and get out and move.
We take a lot of trips to my husbands family’s home town, so we know the trip like the back of our hands. Every time we go we plan the same stops which we know will give the kids plenty of room to get out and play safely. It helps them to stretch but it also helps them release some of that built up energy.
No buying water
We don’t allow our kids to have sodas or sugary drinks on road trips. It saves us money, but it also eliminates some unneeded sugar. They can’t get out to run around, and when you mix all that sugar in it makes for a miserable trip.
Instead of buying water or sugary drinks we fill 2 jugs of water up and the kids get their own insulated cup with ice. All throughout the trip, we refill their cups. At a rest stop with a water fountain, we refill the jugs.
Buying fast food
I am NOT opposed to buying fast food. Let’s face it sometimes you’re tired, kids are tired, kids are hungry, and fast food is just the easiest option. I’m with you, but a quick way to save money is by skipping happy meals. There really is no sense is paying for a cheap toy that’s going to break.
Instead, if it’s dinner time stop at Burger King and grab their 10pcs nuggets. Here they’re $1.69 one pack feeds 2 kids. Add in a small fry and Icee, and you’ve fed 4 kids for less than $10.
If Burger King isn’t an option Wendy’s sometimes has kids meals $1.99 after 5 PM (make sure you ask the store first)
Have a picnic
If you want to skip fast food altogether, you have two options. You can either have a salad and a sandwich or if you have one of these hot plates you can bring something to heat up at a rest stop picnic section. The choice is yours.
I personally like this options because it allows us to still eat healthy on a budget.
Saving on Gas
My husband swears by using gas treatment to help get more miles per gallon out of our gas. He buys the bottle of treatment and puts it in the tank on our first fill up, and then again puts another bottle in on our first fill up on the way home.
Cruise control is your friend. If you are like me you have a “lead foot” as my dad likes to call it. He says I have a bad habit of speeding up and then slowing down. I do. I know it’s true. To eliminate this and stretch our gas we use the cruise control. We put it on the speed limit and it doesn’t move unless we need to break.
These tips will help you save money while on the road. Let’s face it the more budget-friendly family vacations are the more you will take them, and the whole point of a frugal life style is to live happily, have adventures, and spend family time together.