Sometimes you just want to get away and scratch off something from the bucket list. With 76 percent of travelers still choosing to road travel over air (USA Today), it is still one of the more popular vacation ideas to take with family and friends. With road trip season coming up, there are absolutely no excuses to stay home.
- Choose a destination no more than 8 hours away.
Anything more than that and you are going to be adding a one night stay in a roadside inn or hotel. Avoid the cost and keep it pushing. Living in San Diego, I have planned weekend road trips to Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Long Beach, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, and most recently the Grand Canyon.
- Bring your own food.
Need I say more? Even as the driver, you are expending energy and as your body uses it up, it wants to eat and drink to replenish itself. Load up a small cooler with ice or chillers and drop in some water bottles, energy drinks, cut up fruits and even veggies. Don’t forget to eat a meal in town before hitting the road so you don’t end up getting the hunger pains and spending unnecessarily on fast food.
- Depart at off peak times.
Recently, my family and I headed to the Grand Canyon and we left on a Saturday evening around 8 pm. What was the advantage? Not only was there no traffic, but we also avoided pit stops like outlet malls that are tourist traps for more spending!
- Don’t buy it, borrow it!
I spent countless hours online trying to find the perfect tent for our camping trip, but realized that I didn’t know one iota about what to expect at the Grand Canyon. Instead, my cousin let me borrow hers. All it took was a post on Facebook and a phone call. The power of social media is unbelievable. So believe in it.
- Don’t go it alone – go in a group – or quid pro quo.
It’s the same concept that a business like Groupon thrives on. The idea is to limit costs be splitting it within members of the group. The larger the group, the cheaper the cost. In my case, planning the Grand Canyon meant reserving a camping spot early. I could not wait for others to confirm and pay beforehand, so I decided to delegate duties! In lieu of paying for the reservation, my friends and family could bring a meal for everyone to share. This took meal planning off my shoulders and it gave us all one less expense to worry about.
There are even more specific ways to travel without emptying your wallet, although, admittedly, nothing is quite free. Whether it be an app on your phone, a work perk you never knew about, a Groupon deal, a great vacation rental, or just keeping an eye out on travel sites like TripAdvisor, the cost of the adventure doesn’t have to outweigh the fun you’re supposed to have.
That last shot was all of us at the South Rim in the Grand Canyon. Which reminds me, don’t forget to take great photos! Here are some tips for taking photos like a pro.
Until the next adventure,