Darrick and I have been discussing taking a small trip for Spring Break! If we plan early we know we can have fun, but also stick to a budget rather than just go on a whim. We are considering places that are 4-6 hours driving time away from Cleveland, Ohio. Planning ahead is the key to traveling on a budget. One of the first things to do is create an itinerary if you are making it a road trip.
Try to optimize your mileage so you aren’t zig-zagging too much on the trip. We have thought of destinations with specific attractions but to make the most of our trip we have to map out our locations, this helps a great deal for traveling on a budget!
What we do know is we are staying in the Midwest and East Coast areas. However, if we were traveling South, we know to contact our friends and relatives who live in proximity to our destinations. Letting family know you’re coming in town is the best way to have an impromptu “reunion,” catch up over dinner, or utilize their house as rest stop! A safe place to relax (take a nap) for a couple hours, or for the night before getting back on the road.
Tip: Even though it’s family, drop a thank you note in the mail before you leave their town. Offer them the same hospitality if ever their travels take them to your neck of the woods.
Bring snacks for the road to avoid making every meal a restaurant. Pick and choose your restaurants in advance from the recommendations of your friends or by asking the local people in the area where they like to eat. You can always look for those little “hole in the wall” diners that have a lot of cars parked outside. If the locals eat there, it is probably a good bet that the food is great and the value is good. Picnic lunches in city parks can also be very enjoyable, as well as economical.
Be sure to check the air pressure on your tires before setting out on a trip. You can lose mileage with improperly inflated tires. Attend to your regularly scheduled vehicle maintenance. If repairs are necessary on the interstates, it will be costly.
If you have access to a GPS, you can save driving extra miles being lost if you have this little navigation tool. Study your maps before setting out, so that you can get your bearings and have a good sense of the direction you need to go.
Check into clean and accommodating hotels. Lodging has a checklist that Darrick and I aren’t willing to compromise on. We have to have a place that we feel safe, comfortable and it is accommodating for a family. Believe it or not, we have found a lot of deals with these requirements. We don’t have to stay in a five-star hotel, but there are a few “must-haves” for our family.
If you are planning to visit popular attractions on your trip, like Disneyland or Six Flags, take a stroll through the local grocery store. Often you can find promotions that will save you money.
Be sure to pack appropriate clothing for the places you will visit. It gets costly if you have to make purchases for items you already own at home.
Create a list of places and things you would like to splurge on. You will also want to create a list of things that you don’t mind cutting corners on. Organizing these lists will help you to generate a perfect itinerary for you and your family.