Travel can be expensive. Road trips with stops for snacks, drinks, meals and hotels can really add up. My husband and I have worked hard on cutting down on our expenses while we travel. As you have read in my last blog post “Why The Hiatus?” you will have read that we have been on the road a great deal over the last few months. We have had a lot of time to master the skill of saving money while on the road. Our trips used to cost almost double what we spend now. I am so excited to share some of our tips and tricks that we have learned in our personal life. Originally this money saving lesson started because we wanted to eat healthier on the road instead of fast food. In the process of taking better care of our bodies we also took better care of our bank account. I hope this blog post can help you master your travels and save you money so you can spend it on the important things.
Bathroom Breaks: I have always had a standard that when I stop to use a bathroom I do not leave the establishment without making a purchase whether it is gum or a cup of coffee. A little trick that I have adopted over time is to take a bathroom breaks at rest stops instead of gas stations. Thankfully Nevada does a great job taking care of their rest stops and they are consistently clean.
Drinks: It is easy for me to drink over 88oz. a day. On road trips in the summer I drink even more. Bottled water can cost you $1.00-$5.00 easily. If you go into a convenient store you can opt for a cup of water at the soda fountain which will cost you approximately $0.20-$0.50 saving you a chunk of money if you drink as much water as I do. Most soda fountain dispensers have filters on the water option. Coffee can be costly on the road. You can get a fancy blended coffee with all the toppings for $5.00 easily. Coffee can be bought at a convenient store for under $2.00 and the flavors and creamers are free. You can even pour over ice if you don’t like it hot.
So far these tips might sound silly or insignificant but they really do add up. My husband and I couldn’t leave a gas station without spending under $20.00 but now we can get everything we need under $10.00 if you are gone for 3 days and make 2 stops per day that is saving you a minimum of $60.00
Snacks: A great tip for snacking is to avoid the fast food and convenient stores. If you can swing by a grocery store you will save money, have more options, find healthy options and get exactly what you want. I am not a fan of junk food (chips, candy and cookies.) so you can imagine how hard it was to find healthy snacks that I enjoyed. Fortunately there are a few places on the trips that we take that have healthy options at our usual gas station stops. Yogurt, boiled eggs, almonds and cheese. You will find the healthy options at a grocery store will equal or be a little less than your usual junk food at a convenient store.
Meals: Reno, NV. is a destination that my husband and I frequent at least once or twice a month. It has been nearly every week this summer but it should slow down soon. Reno has numerous restaurants and fast food locations all over town. We used to visit them often until we decided to watch our spending and what we are putting into our bodies as fuel. Restaurants were costing an average of $40 per meal with a tip. Now we visit places like Raley’s, Safeway, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. They have lots of options with a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables that we wouldn’t normally get each meal while eating out at restaurants. We are now spending $10-$15 per meals for both of us. Eating healthier can really pay off, it is saving us $25-$30 each meal.
Make no mistake, we definitely eat out and enjoy ourselves when we go on trips but it isn’t every meal while we are on the road. These tips allow us to save money or spend it on something special. One day of saving on meals, snacks and drinks can add up to approximately $80. Embracing even a few of these tips can save you money and improve your health while on the road. I used to come home from road trips and vacations feeling bloated, tired and just not myself. I had eaten so different from my normal day to day eating routine and it made me feel sluggish and not as healthy. My body needs routine and structure. I like eating healthy foods, mainly meat, fruit, vegetables and whole grains. The more that I can stick to my eating habits the better my body performs and the better I feel. Vacations are all about having fun and enjoying yourself but when I am having the time of my life I like feeling the best I can.