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beckyrepp

Money Saving Road Trip Tips

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I'll start the ball rolling: My favorite: Eat out a big breakfast, skip lunch, & eat an early dinner.

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Becky,

 

Sounds like a plan! Now if I just ate lunch and no breakfast or dinner I would be as slim as you!

 

When I travel alone, I often buy a full sub at lunch and save half for dinner. You can make them anyway you like, and pretty healthy as well. Some sub shops are as low as $5 for a full sandwich.

 

I usually call at least two or three motels when I am an hour or so out of town and see who is most flexible on price. I can often save $20, and smile at the check in counter when the guy next to me is paying full rate. Obviously that only works when they expect to have vacant rooms, but it involves no haggling, just a simple “What is your best rate tonight?”

 

I have a friend that will haggle the handle off a shovel, and he frequently succeeds in saving some money. But that isn’t in my blood.

 

When Sheila and are on a trip we typically eat at nicer places. I enjoy a glass of wine with dinner (Sheila doesn’t, so she gets to drive back to the motel). I read in our local paper where folks are bringing their own wine! I’m not sure I have the guts to do that, but in mid range places where there isn’t a corkage fee, maybe bringing your own “jug” is an idea. With some pretty plain places charging $6 or $8 a glass for wine, I might try it out…or perhaps buy the first glass, and then bring out my “flask” if I want a second. That way they make their profit and I get a smile on. :rolleyes: Just a thought…not a recommendation.

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

 

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This may not be feasible for most, but now that we have a lap top computer, we take it along with us and usually make our reservations for lodging from the road. Of course this applies only if we're moving from town to town ever night. A lot of places...coffee shops come to mind...have WiFi that we use to get a connection. Several hotel chains offer "Internet Specials" on rates when reserving online, so we get some savings there. We've also used priceline.com and saved a lot there, but it seems we end up with those extended stay places which I'm not a big fan of. If you can't find a Panera or Starbucks, try your luck in a hotel parking lot! You can sometimes "borrow" their connection to make a reservation. I did that recently in St. Louis when staying at a Comfort Inn. Borrowed their connection from the parking lot, saved 10% by reserving online, walked in the lobby & checked in! :D

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It may not be for everyone, but camping suits me and is much cheaper. Many campsites have WiFi now, and even if you have to pay for it, it's cheaper than a motel. And camping is always better than those really cheap, questionable motels. Except in winter, of course.

 

Also, pack food. Restaurants are nice and are definitely a way to see the local color. But they're also really expensive. A couple of apples, some nuts and a peanut butter sandwich make for a fine meal. Also Clifbars. I think I survived a week or so eating nothing but those things. I can't eat them now though, I over-did it.

 

-Eric

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I agree that packing food is a cash saver. Even something as simple as buying beverages and ice at the local grocery store for the day saves a few $$. Besides, when you're out exploring the back roads, you don't always have restaurant access during the day. We toss in some high protein snacks, too. A jar of peanuts is always a favorite.

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I'm a penny pincher of the highest order -- so bad that I have Lincoln thumbs. My favorite way to keep my road trips inexpensive is to do day trips from some home base where I can sleep for free. My own house is my usual home base, but family and friends have provided lodging. For me, the journey is the destination, and it's all about the road.

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I'll start the ball rolling: My favorite: Eat out a big breakfast, skip lunch, & eat an early dinner.

 

I've developed the habit of getting on the road around 7ish, stopping for breakfast around 9:30 - usually Burger King, if I come across one. I'm not a heavy eater for breakfast and lunch - if I get the hungeries around mid-afternoon, I usually have crackers and peanut butter handy, along with a cold drink.

 

My heavy meal, when I'm on the road is supper - around 5. That gives it a chance to settle before I turn in around 10 or 11. I've found a couple of good chain resturants, such as Perkins, offer good meals at very reasonable (under $10) prices.

 

I mentioned starting around 7 - a lot of times, especially in the summer, have started as early as 6:30 to get a couple hundred miles down the road before it gets really hot. I'm usually off the road by 4:30 - 99% of the motels you'll stop at haven't started filling up that early. I've shut down for the night around 8, curling up with a book or a TV show and the parking lots were mostly empty - when I got up early in the morning the lots were full.

 

Hudsonly,

Alex Burr

Memphis, TN

Edited by Alex Burr - hester_nec

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Another $$ saving tip: I try to get information and guides from the local tourism bureaus. They frequently have booklets with coupons for area attractions. Now, many have coupons that may be printed off of their websites.

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