Hit the Road

It looks like once again gas prices are going to sneak up on us just in time for summer. Even though this may hinder your plans there are still plenty of ways to spend some time away from home. Some planning and readjusting can accommodate your finances for the family adventure.

The family road trip is an American tradition and is still an affordable way to spend your vacation. The media has been predicting that gas prices will be even higher than last summer. Most are saying that the average cost per gallon will be $2.62, which is 25 cents higher than last summer. Just because gas prices are high doesn’t mean that you should have to stay home this summer. This might be a good summer to explore your region. Plan a weekend trip that is less than 400-500 miles from home.

Many states are busy promoting themselves to their residents. More than likely there are interesting attractions and activities in your state or one of your neighboring states.

Let’s say that you have a car that has a 13-gallon tank for gas. At $2.00 a gallon it would cost you $26.00 to fill up. Gas is expected to be on average $2.62 a gallon this summer. That would mean it would now cost you $34.06 to fill up your tank. That’s a difference of $8.06 for every time you fill up. If you travel a distance less than 500 miles you probably can make it there with 2 full tanks if your car gets at least 20 miles per gallon. Of course you have to make it back home so there is another 2 more full tanks. Let’s add another full tank of gas for driving once you reach your destination. So five full tanks of gas at $2.62 a gallon will total $170.30. That’s forty dollars and thirty cents more than when gas was at $2.00 a gallon.

Here’s the good news; that is still considerably cheaper than a plane ticket. There are plenty of ways to save forty dollars during your trip that will make up for the extra gas cost.

Food is a big expense a family of four could easily save forty dollars on by skipping on a roadside meal, or frequent gas-station pit stops. Pack your food and drinks beforehand to prevent you from spending too much on food. You can bake a batch of goodies, or make a bag of homemade Chexmix to munch on throughout the trip. Pull over at a rest station and unpack the sandwiches and thermos full of your favorite drink. Even when you get to your destination, run to the store and pick up some things for sandwiches or buy from their deli. By not eating out for every meal on your vacation, it will help you save a bundle.

Accommodations are another expense that will eat away at a vacation fund. Here are a few quick tips to consider when finding a place to shack-up. Though you may be reluctant, friends and family will offer you a place to stay for free. When making your plans get a hold of them and tell them you are planning on visiting the area. Take them up on their offer (if there is one). You can always offer the same extension and assure them a warm bed whenever they come to visit you.

Campgrounds will also offer a more affordable night’s stay. Make sure you research the weather in the area prior to your visit. You will also want to have some basic supplies and a little Scout knowledge never hurts when in the great outdoors.

You can also stay in a hotel and find discounts or special offers year-round.

Before making any reservations or planning your vacation, it is important to research ahead of time. There may be activities or events that are going on, which could mean higher prices for hotels or maybe even no rooms at all. The last thing you want to do is spend a day on the road only to find out that there are no hotels left unless you want to pay four times the amount.

The resources below are full of fun attractions and ideas for road trips. There are fun, affordable things to do in each state.

A vacation is a time for relaxation and quality time with your family. Remember, it’s not always the destination but in how you get there. Good luck and have fun.

Web Resources:

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