People often believe that road-trips are spontaneous. Get into the car and drive where the road takes you! I wouldn’t say that it never happens but road trip planning goes a long way in making your trip fun. One of the things you must definitely figure out is the road trip budget. Here are some things you should keep in mind while planning the road trip budget!
You should start your road trip planning with a tentative budget in mind. Determine the purpose of the trip and what really makes you the happiest. That will guide you in deciding how much of the road trip budget you would be spending on what. It could be trying out the best restaurants, shopping, ticking off every sight worth seeing or living it up in the best hotels. The cost for a trip can be roughly divided into 4 main categories: Food, Fuel, Lodging and Miscellaneous Costs .
So lets start the road trip planning with the most important aspect: Road Trip Budget
Fuel costs can be estimated by multiplying the average mileage of your car with the average price of petrol/diesel. Though it cannot be eliminated, proper road trip planning can definitely help you reduce it.
1) Get your vehicle serviced and check the tyre pressure. A well-tuned car gives better mileage. This is the best way to prevent breakdowns and keep a check on the road trip budget.
2) Pack light. More the weight in your car, worse the mileage.
3) Always keep a tab on the fuel level and map out the petrol pumps on your route, so that you can be on a lookout for the best prices.
4) Park your car and walk. It will save fuel and it’s also a great way to explore a new place.
Where to sleep is the next item on the list. Hotels, Motels, B&Bs, Homestays – choose the one that suits your road trip budget.
1) Reach out to travel sites to seek better deals & find a hotel that fits your budget.
2) Check for any ongoing deals on your credit cards and/or any discount coupons your friends/family may have. This could go a long way in controlling the road trip budget.
3) Choose rooms with a flexible cancellation policy and early check-in/late check-out at no extra costs. While road trip planning helps, sometimes road conditions can be unpredictable You wouldn’t want to spend more money on lodging than necessary.
4) Stay with friends/family on the way or at your destination. It would be a great opportunity to catch up and spend some quality time with your loved ones
Budgeting for food is where you have maximum flexibility, in your entire road trip budget. For some people, food and travel go hand-in-hand, while others couldn’t care less about culinary indulgences.
1) Research the restaurants on your route during road trip planning. Decide your pit-stops beforehand, to ensure that you stay in budget.
2) Pack lots of dry snacks so that you don’t make stops every time someone is hungry. Do not pack snacks that go bad easily, melt or are difficult to eat on the go.
3) Pack enough water and drinks. Mineral water and sodas can be very expensive at highway restaurants and petrol pumps and can make a big dent in your road trip budget.
4) Avoid impulse food & drink purchases at petrol pumps and food malls. It’s better to stop at local grocery stores and stock up if you are running low on snacks.
Depending on your road trip plan, you would want to budget for the expenses to be able to have the best time.
1) Research your route well, to map out all the places worth stopping at on the way. This would help you account for entry fees, parking and other related expenses in your road trip budget.
2) Put aside a fixed amount while road trip planning, to spend on buying mementoes and local specialties.
3) Keep cash with you to pay for tolls and for stopovers where you may not be able to use your credit/debit cards.
4) Remember the activities you have planned while packing, so that you are carrying everything from home. This prevents wasteful spending when you are already at the destination. Such unplanned purchases can derail your road trip budget.
Also if you are looking for destinations checkout our list of road trips from Mumbai, road trips from Chennai, road trips from Hyderabad, road trips from Bangalore, road trips from Kolkata and road trips from Delhi.
Let me tell you a little secret. You can plan your road trip and map the toilets, pit-stops, petrol pumps, local attractions and dhabas on the route on our Trip Planner. Check out the Cheat sheet if you need help planning the same.