Part IV of the Vacation Savings Series. If you missed a segment, start at the beginning.
If I have to pull over…
When I say road trip, which one do you remember?
- “Mom, he’s looking at me!”
- “Don’t make me pull over!”
- “Are we there yet?”
- “I have to go to the bathroom.”
- “We are out of beer.”
Nothing I can do about incontinence or narcolepsy, but road trips can be fun and frugal vacations.
Road trips used to be planned by Dad with a map, which he promptly left at home. The Internet offers sites like Road Trip USA, Road Trip America and RoadTrip.com to plan and book vacations without airfare.
Whether you want to drive your car or rent one, planning stops and booking the hotel, meals and entertainment before you leave home leaves more time to actually enjoy your vacation. Most sites allow printing of detailed maps to each stop.
Pick a Place
When you started your travel plans, you may have chosen a place in driving distance to save on the actual “travel” portion of your vacation. Or maybe there is a tourism mecca within a day’s travel from your home. Either way, road tripping is a great vacation.
Micro-vacations are always great for road trips, especially if there is an event in your vicinity. Local festivals, fairs and conventions make terrific road trip destinations.
If you have a longer time to spend, you may even consider a long distance road trip. Plan to travel in segments no longer than six hours total drive time. This still allows four to six hours when you stop each day.
When you find you like the place you stopped, stay an extra day, unless you have reserved (saving money) your hotel before your trip. You save the most money by booking and sticking to your itinerary, but some hotels will give you a pass for changing the reservation date by one day if you call 24 hours before their check in deadline.
Pack the Mobile
What do you need to bring to ensure you are saving money?
- Ice chest
- GPS, atlas or road map
Are you wondering about the last two? Getting lost is expensive. Wasted gasoline and missing check-in at the hotel are both expensive. Mind where both you are and the time.
Train excursions are one of the classic, and inexpensive, vacations. Passenger railways are not a thing of the past…yet. Decreased interest in a leisurely ride across the country is threatening rail vacations.
The fun of a mystery train vacation ranks it as one of the top hobby vacations in America. Check out some of the all-inclusive (read less expensive) adventures you can have by rail.
NEXT: How to save on gasoline on your vacation. Only three segments left of the Vacation Savings Series. Have you taken the poll?
What was your favorite road trip?
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2011
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