How to Save Money When Hitting the Road

Roadtrips.

Oh how I love traveling in the car. I am a road trip kind of girl.

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 As our family grew one of my worries was that we would have to curtail our road trips because of the size of our family. Thankfully that has never been the case. Our brood have shaped up to be awesome car travelers. They just love to hop in  and go.

As our family grew and the price of gas skyrocketed I knew we had to change some ways about the way we travel.

Here are some things we do to keep funds in check while on a road trip.

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1. Always pack food for the ride. 

Fast food would kill us.

Literally.

Not only is fast food gross, the cost of one trip to McDonald’s for the 9 of us would cost over $60 and leave us with nothing but an empty wallet and a stomachache.

I won’t even mention all of the trash.

Thus we always bring food with us. For example, on our recent trip to Vermont I went to the Aldi store and picked up mass quantities of snacking food for less than $80.

Lots of almonds, cashews, string cheese, fruit leather, apples, pears,oranges and one large bag of potato chips. We are snackers and as long as everyone can have something to munch on our stopping is minimal and we make better time.

( Sadly, although I am all about  making good time, we rarely do).

We wait until we make a stop or reach our destination to have a big meal. It assures less stomaches along the way.

We also brought several cases of bottled water. I know that bottled water is bad, but it really is the best and most economical way to keep everyone hydrated in the car without making many stops.

Water at the Aldi is $2.37 for 24 bottles. ( Don’t Aldi? More on that later.)

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2. Stay at a Hotel that has Free Breakfast.

Hotel Free Breakfast has come along way . What used to be a bin of cereal and some coffee has evolved into eggs, bacon, danish, fresh fruit and waffles.

This is a deal breaker for us.

As I mentioned before eating out can be quiet expensive for our brood, so breakfast included in an already low rate is a thumbs up.

We tend to frequent certain hotel chains that we know have a great breakfast spread.

3. Try to find a Hotel with a Pool. 

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A pool is always a good thing. It provides free recreation and fun for everyone. All pools are not created equal though. Hotels, such as Fairfield Inn have downgraded there pools to only 8 feet long.

This is like a large bathtub. Sorry but I don’t want to swim in a bathtub with other guests.

Also be sure to check that the pool is indoor during the fall and winter.

Here in the south many pools are outdoor but I found that most booking agents do not specify they just want to lure you in with the promise of a pool, they could care less if you swim.

4. Get a discount on your room.

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We  never pay full price.

Ever.

Now that our family is large enough that we need two rooms ( unless we are at great wolf lodge) a discount is mandatory.

     We have an AARP discount card, but AAA is good as well as online travel sites. Kayak is a good one. I have also been successful just calling the hotel directly.

I have found making reservations closer to our travel dates helps us get a better deal. When a hotel knows that they will have a low occupancy rate they are more likely to give you a discounted rate just to get you in.

The downside of making a later reservation is that you may not always get the hotel you want but you will always know you are getting the best deal.

5. Scope out the free things to do while you are traveling.

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It is rare that we pay to get into anywhere. Our country is full of so many free attractions that unless we are headed to see a paid attraction we avoid it for something equally lovely and free.

6. Skip the Souvenirs.

I love nick nacks but not the price. When we are visiting somewhere it is always been a rule of thumb that we don’t buy souvenirs, except maybe a bumper sticker.

Since we have always done this the kids don’t ask. If they have their own money and wish to spend it, they are welcome.

Most times the kids would rather take some pictures and pick up the same thing at a thrift store for a quarter.

So there you have it. Some ways we save money when hitting the road with our circus. Check out tomorrow when I’ll tell you how we did not save money on this trip and mistakes that we made.

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