Let’s face it. Traveling is so not cheap. Not only does it take hundreds of dollars to consider your flight tickets and everything beyond, but if you’re an average person, you’re probably going to stress about your spendings. I’m an adventure travel blogger, but I do sometimes still question myself, “How do some people get to travel so much?” I’m not a full-time traveler (or a digital nomad who can make money while on the road) so I think it’s easy to see why that thought comes across me. But for the times I can travel, there’s one huge secret to how to travel when you’re with a limited budget or one of the cheapest ways to get around places (okay… maybe it’s not really a secret): Do road trips.
I was able to cross several states from doing that one thing alone: road trips. My journey to finding some adventure through travel also started out that way. My family was really into doing that with their kids and one time in my childhood, my parents rented an RV to head to Florida. I hope to one day have my own RV and actually live in one as a home to explore more places around the country, but that may just be a faraway dream.
It’s incredible just how many RVs I see in all the roads I drive throughout here in the West. They love having a moving home to be able to allow themselves and their families to get the best experience in travel and not a costly one. You can truly explore places from driving to places and enjoying all the bits of adventure that road trips grant.
Why road trips?
I know that not everyone’s cup of tea to travel is driving a vehicle for hours at a time, some would rather use an airplane to get to their destinations. Now, no matter where you are on a continent, you’re obviously going to stay driving only in the connected areas. If my car can drive across the water to the islands of Hawaii, how freaking cool would that be?
See more unknown spots, get to more destinations.
Road trips aren’t for you if you expect to be hopping from one country to another on a different continent and if that’s your style for traveling. Road trips will allow you to see the vast roads and sometimes back roads that lead into cities or towns that you’d never even know about until you’re there. It’s also the best way to see a new state and another one and so forth. It’s easy to knock off one bucket list item to the next in a matter of hours to a few days. Easy to create spontaneity on a trip instead of following a step-by-step itinerary.
Just a side note, remember to do routine maintenance checks to make sure your car is 100% safe to go without stressing about any hurdles along your travel journey. It would be disastrous to know you’re hundreds of miles away from your home just to have your car break down like oh dear… You should also remember to bring any necessary equipment and tools like a jack, battery, and a spare tire.
Yes, it is cheaper than flying. The money you will be mostly putting towards is your gas (and sometimes tolls), so better be prepared that gas stations will be your best friend. Then, you’ll have to worry about stopping by for food every now and then, but there’s a way to avoid that by packing/cooking your own stuff to go with bringing a cooler or a portable burner.
There’s a way to sleep at places with just your car… or outside.
If you have an RV or enjoy camping, you can save from the hotel rooms. All you need to do is set up a tent in public campgrounds (or lands approved by the Bureau of Land Management). You can also choose to camp in one of the 154 federally protected National Forests where you are free to camp in. Heck, if you really want to, you can also sleep in your own car!
You’ll enjoy more time with your loved ones.
Road trips mean spending countless hours in the car and it can get boring except for the times you are saying “WOW!” in the way Owen Wilson always does in all his movies when you glance over at the breathtaking views outside the car window. If you’re with loved ones, it’s the right time to catch up with them and just bond, whether that involves jamming out on the same tunes or cracking jokes. There’s a lot of storytelling and sharing you can be doing to kill the time.
You don’t have to worry about ticket refunds.
If you didn’t book any insurance for your air flight tickets or other travel bookings, you may run into a situation where you’d be at a loss for cost if for some reason you had to cancel your plans. If your ticket is non-refundable, you’re going to essentially lose every hope you put into that flight. With a road trip, you can work around your schedulings anytime since you’re not obligated to an airplane’s time.
I recommend always considering having travel insurance with you, whether you’re on the road or not though. Not only will it cover your costs for any emergencies that may emerge for your lodging, gas, food, medical, evacuation, and more. Travel insurances got your back and in the case earlier, it can reimburse you for your pre-paid or non-refundable trip.
WorldNomads Travel Insurance is great to consider. They are trusted by so many and backed by special insurers and global assistance partners, they’re available in 130 countries, they cover a lot of adventure activities (heads up if you’re a thrill-seeking adventurer!), and they have great customer service.
Check out the prices to see how much having a WorldNomads Travel Insurance will cost you in the box below here!
How you can save even more money through road trips
I mentioned before you can save a lot of money by packing your own food to go if the cost of buying food will be a concern (here’s a list of the best snacks to bring on road trips). A lot of the choices you make in any travel situation can make or break your budget. Here are some more smart choices you can make on how you can save during your road trips:
- Book your excursions or bookings before you arrive at the destination UNLESS it sells out quickly and needs to be booked ahead. By booking it later, you do not have to run into the issue of somehow not being able to make it and finding out that the ticket is non-refundable.
- Bring a reusable bottle and fill it with filtered water through supermarkets on the go or a gallon beverage cooler that you can fill with filtered water instead of buying water bottles on the go and having more plastic waste.
- You should try to stick with cheaper gas prices. To see what the average national gas price is in a state, taking a look at the AAA gas prices page will be a helpful guide. TripSavvy also has a very useful guide here on how to calculate the cost of gas for a road trip.
- Also, you can do good practices to help you save on gas by driving slow and steady (avoid driving fast even if it seems tempting to do so), paying attention to how you brake and how much distance you give another car to not brake so drastically (it’ll reduce how much gas you’re consuming), and turning off your engine when it’s hardly needed (avoid idling as much as you can).
- Always follow the rules of the law when you’re driving. Always drive on the speed limit so you can avoid those speeding tickets. Always look at the signs to pay attention to park where you’re supposed to so you can avoid those tickets.
Road trips are really one of the best ways to travel if prepared and done properly. If flying over to a new country, booking those hotel rooms, renting out a car, booking for your sightseeing adventures or activities are all too much for you right now, then road trips seem like a way to fulfill that wanderlust while staying on a less expensive budget.
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