Traveling on the road can be expensive. It is very necessary to make sure you have made adequate plans. No one gets up and decides to go on a road trip. It takes careful planning and management. You might even need to involve some friends since going as a group makes the experience more wholesome and exciting. No matter which country you’re having your road trip, there are several basic things to consider when making preparations. One of the major things is money, l’argent, sika, or whatever money is called in your locale.
Without the necessary funds, you’ll find out that your road trip would just be a short trip to that grocery store down your street and back(lol). For the extensive, adventurous kind of road trip, you’d need enough funds to pay for expenses like gas/petrol, food, tolls, and accommodation.
As an African living in Ghana, road trips are one of the best ways to get to see the country. You get to explore cities, towns, and villages. It is a great opportunity to network, meet new people, and have a good time. I mostly prefer to go on road trips with my friends, which makes it more fun and intriguing. I’d only go solo if I need some me time.
In this article, I’d be giving you some important tips on how I saved money on some road trips I’ve been on.
1.Plan your route.
Planning your route is one of the basic requirements to saving money on a road trip. It prevents unnecessary spending. It also saves you quality time. You’ll need to get a map for your route, know the route by heart. It is important to make necessary inquiries about the route you plan on using to prevent any surprises. Know the ins and outs of the route, where to get gas in case of shortage, bus stops, police stations, and the necessary things you may need on the route.
2.Create a budget.
Make a budget for expenses that are likely to be made. Write down the items and services you would have to pay for and make room for changes in costs. Ensure you always have extra cash to cover all your costs. The ideal budget should have you listing items like gas/petrol, food, souvenirs, tolls, accommodation, and unforeseen events.
Packing is another one of the crucial items that need to be on your to-do list when going on a road trip. It saves money and prevents you from spending unnecessarily on items that you already have but didn’t pack. It is advisable to pack heavy for long trips that would take a day or more and light for trips that will take only a couple of hours. I always pack heavy no matter the distance, cause I believe it’s always better to be well prepared than to be found wanting. Pack the necessary clothes, medicines, toiletries, sleeping bags and blankets, and important travel documents if you’re going on a long trip.
4.Get your car serviced.
Another thing that should not be left out is getting proper servicing for your car. Your car needs to be in the best of conditions to brave the elements on the road. Ensure that your mechanic checks the breaks, shocks, and oil levels in your vehicle to prevent any issues with your car on the road. It would be a bummer if your car were to get a problem on the highway. Ensure you have a spare tire just in case, and your toolbox is intact so you can fix any minor problem that comes up.
Do not make unnecessary stops and use less of your car’s air conditioning to save fuel. But rather roll down your windows for the fresh breeze. No over-speeding as that can also increase your has /fuel usage.
6.Plan your meals.
It’s always important to plan meals on road trips, it might be a bit cheaper and healthier that way. The alternative would be buying overpriced junk food and fast foods at stops on the road which is not prudent. It is much better to prepare meals for your road trip. Pack up some healthy snacks and beverages for the road, ensure you get lots of water, it’s important to stay hydrated. You can go the extra mile like I do and prepare some meals and store them in a food pack or food warmer. I normally make sandwiches, rice, and sauce just for the road.
Traveling on a road, you may need to get someplace to rest, or lay your head for the night. It may not be safe and comfortable to sleep in the car. But you can rent a guest house for a night at a low cost. If you’re traveling in a group of two or three, you can rent a big room and make do with sleeping bags and blankets. It is always advisable to search for information on guest houses and hotels before you set out on your road trip.
8.Plan for unforeseen circumstances.
On a road trip, there are going to be some unforeseen circumstance/ delay, you have to be ready and poised to tackle them. Having sufficient funds comes into play here. It could either be a car fault, issues with security personnel, or even something as benign as a running stomach from last night’s spicy meal. You need to be prepared whatever the case.
9.Take breaks and stops.
It is important to never forget that you are human. You would need to stop and rest after driving for a couple of hours. You may need to go to the washroom or eat something if you’re famished. On most of my road trips, I am in charge of when and where we can take breaks.
I get famished from all the driving around. The driver would also have to rest a while and regain lost energies. It will also be a good time to explore different small towns and villages you drive through on your trip. People ask, how does this save money? Well very simple, it prevents you from overworking your car, which could lead to overheating and other faults.
Driving safe is the ultimate way to save not just your money, but your life too. You don’t want that road trip to be your last. Obey road regulations strictly, adhere to all highway signs and signals. Do not over speed and do wrongful overtaking. Be extremely cautious when driving at night when there’s less visibility.