Family,  Family & Kids,  Lifestyle,  Money

10 Budget Travel Tips For Your Next Family Road Trip

Family road trips are such a fun way to explore new places together and spend some quality time together, making memories and adventuring. With the freedom to explore at your own pace and the memorable experiences to cherish forever, family road trips are amazing, however, if you’re not too careful, the costs can quickly start to add up! From fuel prices to accommodation and even food, there’s a lot to budget for. Fortunately, with some strategic planning, you can enjoy a fantastic family road trip without breaking the bank. Here are 10 budget travel trips for your next family road trip to help you save money and make the most of the journey. 

*Collaborative post.

1. Plan Your Route Carefully

One of the very first steps to a budget-friendly road trip is to plan everything – especially the route you’ll be taking. This part of the process takes away a lot of uncertainty and financial anxiety as you will be able to plan the best routes, avoid detours, mark down fuel stops and even consider visiting some free attractions along the way. Remember to set up your SatNav to find the most efficient routes and adjust the settings to enable alternative routes in case of traffic jams.

2. Pack Your Own Food and Snacks

I’m a big fan of packing your own snacks, whether you’re heading out for the day, or embarking on an exciting adventure. It makes sense, therefore, that my next suggestion in this 10 budget travel tips for your next family road trip includes a section on saving money by packing your own food.

The cost of food can very quickly add up, especially if you’re relying on motorway services and fast food services. Instead of eating out for every meal, I suggest you pack a cooler with sandwiches, fruits, snacks, and drinks. Not only will this save you money, but it also allows for healthier eating options and avoids any possible upset stomachs from too many greasy or unhealthy foods. For longer road trips, you could consider investing in a portable stove or grill for cooking simple meals at rest stops or campsites.

3. Use Apps for Fuel Savings

When planning your road trip route, you will need to take into account one of your main expenditures: fuel. The price of fuel can vary significantly depending on your location, so the next suggestion on our list of 10 budget travel tips for your next road trip is to do some pre-planning and download some fuel comparison apps onto your phone. These apps compare the prices of all the petrol stations in your area and can show you the cheapest fuel prices along your route. These savings may be small, but they can add up over the course of your road trip, so it’s well worth taking a minute or two to check the app before filling up.

Additionally, don’t forget to use your loyalty cards if you choose to purchase fuel at specific petrol stations or supermarkets. Many stores offer fuel points that can be redeemed for discounts, so keep an eye out for these savings.

4. Look for Affordable Accommodation

It may go without saying, but on a budget family road trip, you’re all going to need somewhere to stay. Instead of booking hotel rooms at each of your destinations, why not consider alternative lodging options such as camping, or utilising family hostels? Websites like AirBnB also offer affordable options for accommodation, especially if you’re able to book in advance.

5. Take Advantage of Free Attractions

Along your route, you may find some free or low-cost attractions that will keep your family entertained without breaking the bank. Many destinations offer free or low-cost attractions that can provide just as much fun and entertainment as paid activities, so be sure to research the areas you’ll be travelling through to find free museums, parks, festivals, and historical sites. Local visitor centres can also be a great resource for finding budget-friendly activities.

6. Use Loyalty Programs and Discounts

Sign up for loyalty programs with hotels, restaurants, and petrol stations before you hit the road. These programs often offer discounts, free nights, or special deals that can save you a lot of money. Loyalty card points, such as Nectar or Tesco Clubcard points can be used to purchase tickets for days out to popular attractions, thus saving you a significant amount of money. 

7. Monitor Your Budget

One of the most important budget travel tips for your next family road trip is to keep track of your expenses as you go. This will help to ensure you’re staying within your budget. Use budgeting apps or a simple spreadsheet to monitor your spending on fuel, food, lodging, and activities. This will help you make adjustments if necessary and avoid overspending. This brings me to our next point.

8. Be Flexible and Open to Change

Flexibility can be a key factor in saving money. If you find a cheaper hotel or a free attraction along the way, be open to changing your plans. Sometimes the best experiences come from spontaneous decisions and exploring destinations you previously hadn’t planned on visiting. 

9. Make Sure Your Car Is Up To The Job

Next on our 10 budget travel tips for your next family road trip is to make sure that your car is up for the job. An old banger may work well for your commute to work, but for adventuring around and exploring new places, you may need to invest in something bigger and more economical. Consider shopping around for a more suitable vehicle and take a look at the financial options available to you from sites such as Vizion Finance

10. Prepare Your Car

Before hitting the road, make sure your car is in good condition. A well-maintained car is more fuel-efficient and less likely to break down, saving you from costly repairs. Check the tyre pressure, oil levels, brakes, and other essential parts of your vehicle. Having a roadside assistance plan is also a good idea in case of emergencies.

By following these 10 budget travel tips for your next family road trip, you can enjoy a memorable and affordable family road trip that will be fun, entertaining, and even educational. Planning ahead, making smart choices, and being flexible will help you create lasting memories without the financial burden.

Rachael is a 31 year old mum to 10 year old Luke and 5 year old Oscar. She lives in England and writes about family life, crafts, recipes, parenting wins(and fails), as well as travel, days out, fashion and living the frugal lifestyle.

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