Best Budget Tips for Planning a Road Trip

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Thank you to our friends at Scotiabank for sponsoring this post and bringing you the best budget tips for planning a road trip this summer! All text and opinions are my own. Safe & happy travels!

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Travelling is fun & exciting and you don’t have to break the bank when planning a road trip!  When my kids were younger we took road trips every summer, usually to visit family.  The following are a few of my favourite money saving tips to make sure your adventure is nothing short of amazing

Prepare

Before you set off on the road you’re going to want to make sure that you are prepared to avoid any setbacks!

Service your vehicle:  Check your oil and other fluid levels and if you’re due for a tune up, now is better than later! Not only can repairs be costly but having a vehicle that is running in optimal shape will improve gas mileage as well (saving you money).

Plan your route:  Take a little time to figure out where you’re going and how to get there.  It’s much easier than trying to find your way on your phone when you’re in the middle of a “no cell service area”.  Don’t stress too much about exact times, traffic happens, bathroom breaks happen…  and you might need some extra time to stretch out your legs.

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Be Prepared: Prepare an emergency kit with Band-Aids and pain reliever.  Make a checklist to ensure you pack the essentials to avoid having to buy them at costly places (sunscreen etc.).  Ensure you’ve got a set of booster cables, check your spare tire and ensure you have everything you need for the road.

Have a back up: Unfortunately when you’re travelling sometimes the unexpected happens such as a flat tire, or a breakdown that requires an overnight repair.  It’s a good idea to ensure you’re travelling with a credit card such as the such as the Scotiabank® More Rewards®* Visa* card, just in case you run into any unexpected adventures on your travels.

Gas

Take it Slowly:  Driving the speed limit greatly improves gas mileage, especially if you’re highway driving. According to the California Energy Commission speeding is the quickest way to waste gas!! (Not to mention it’s dangerous and could also result in a costly ticket.  No thanks!!)

Save on Gas:  Download an App for your phone (such as Gas Buddy) that will allow you to find the cheapest gas near you. You’ll definitely want to pay for your gas with a credit card so you can earn rewards points.  This will be one of your biggest expenses on your trip.

If you’re using your Scotiabank More Rewards Visa you can gas up at Petro Canada and get 6x the points!  Earning rewards on the money you’re already spending… is like earning a winter vacation by going on a summer vacation!

Check Your Tire Pressure:  Gas mileage greatly improves if your tires are inflated to the proper PSI.

Food

This is a great place to save a LOT of money when you travel!  Planning snacks and meals (especially if you’re travelling with kids) is an important part of planning a road trip!

Freeze Water Bottles: Freezing water bottles and storing them in a cooler is the perfect way to have refreshing water all day but also to keep your other food and snacks cold while you’re travelling.

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Pack Snack Packs:  For some reason having small selections of lots of different snacks are more fun than just having a handful of crackers.  My daughter loves when I pack her a little snack pack for the road.  I always include a little bit of fruit, a little bit of veggies and a treat.

Stock Up at the Grocery Store:  If you do purchase meals while you travel, consider heading to the grocery store instead of the drive through or convenience store!  This will not only save you money, but the options are endless!

Most grocery stores will have a deli that sells both hot and cold food.  You can also grab fresh fruit and other snacks for a fraction of the price you would pay at the convenience store.  Bonus:  Stock up at one of the participating grocery stores below using your Scotiabank More Rewards Visa to earn 6 more reward points per dollar (and start earning towards your next vacation)!

Pack a Picnic: Be sure to pack a blanket in the car.  If you pack your own sandwiches in a cooler (or stop at the grocery store) a picnic is the perfect way to get out, stretch your legs, relax on the grass and enjoy some of your surroundings.  If you’re driving through a town and you have kids in the car, consider having a picnic at the local playground giving the kids a chance to burn off some energy!

General

Keep Everyone Entertained:  Pack along some games, books and crayons to keep the kids busy.  Print of a list of questions or conversation starters (they’re easy to find online).  My tween kids love to play “Would You Rather?” and you can print these online as well.

There are lots of games you can play without any equipment at all including 20 questions and I Spy.  This is a great opportunity to spend time with your family (or friends).

Don’t forget to pack your phone chargers or load a new movie on your device for your kids in case they need some downtime.

Earn While You Travel:  If you’re taking a road trip, there is definitely going to be some expenses that you just can’t avoid (like gas).  Since you’re going to be spending money, why not use this summer’s road trip to earn rewards that you can use for this winter’s vacation!  Good thinking right?!

The Scotiabank More Rewards Visa will give you great rewards (no limit or cap) that you can use towards groceries, travel & merchandise.

You earn 6 More Rewards points per dollar spent at all participating More Reward Locations (**listed below) and 4pts per dollar on all other spend, plus frequent in-store bonus offers and additional points when you double dip with More Rewards.  Visit your local Scotiabank branch, any of the More Rewards grocery partners listed here or Scotiabank online to apply.

Choosing a card that rewards you for spending is almost like getting paid to go on vacation!

Accommodation

Make it a Day Trip:  Depending on how far your road trip is, consider doing the trip in one day to save on accommodation costs.

Earn on Your Stay: If making your trip into a daytrip isn’t feasible, use a credit card that gives you rewards back for any accommodation you pay for.  The Scotiabank More Rewards Visa can be used at participating hotels (like Coast Hotels throughout Canada & the US or Accent Inns in BC) to earn extra rewards. You can put those points towards your next trip!

Consider a Camp Out: You can always consider renting a space at a campground in lieu of a hotel.  Camping is always fun and depending on your budget can be a great money saving alternative!

Remember, you don’t need a huge budget to have a fabulous road trip!  You’ll just want to be sure to take some time when planning a road trip so you’re prepared.  This will help make sure everything goes smoothly.  Between gas, food and entertainment, there will be some expenses involved in travel but making sure that you’re getting rewards to put towards future travel and merchandise is the best way to go.  It’s as though you’re earning to go on vacation!

Safe and happy travels!

** Participating More Reward Locations with 6 More Rewards points per dollar include Save-On-Foods, Overwaitea Foods, Urban Fare, Cooper’s Foods, PriceSmart Foods. For a full list of partner locations visit MoreRewards.ca.

Add your own great travel tips in the comments below!

This post was produced in partnership with Scotiabank® More Rewards®* Visa* but all opinions expressed are my own.

 

Here are my most budget friendly money saving tips for planning a great road trip! How to save money on gas, food and accommodation! Happy travels!

Holly

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

3 comments on “Best Budget Tips for Planning a Road Trip”

  1. I save money on accomodation by house sitting during my vacations. It is a win win situation, the owner know their house is safe and secure whilst away and we have free accommodation. Another plus is it is fun staying in and exploring places we may not have otherwise visited.

  2. Holly, thank you so much for some much needed travel tips. Headed on a vacation soon, so your tips came at just the right time.

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