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Frugal Road Trip Tips (non-camping)

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
This non-camping family of five is planning our first (longer than 5 hours) road trip. We are looking for any and all tips to save money on everything from gas to food, from lodging to site seeing. Ideas?
post #2 of 17
-Check the hotel lobby for coupons to different tourist attractions.
-If you are a state employee or have AAA you could qualify for discounts at some hotels.
-Pack a lunch and eat it on the way to save money on eating out.
-Pack muffins and fresh fruit to eat for breakfast if your hotel doesn't have a continental breakfast.
-Some places offer free admission on certain days of the week so check that out.
post #3 of 17
-Pick up local papers/minimags to look for coupons.
-Ask locals where the best bargain meals are for families. Most of the time they know where you can get really good food for cheap.
-Make sure tires are properly inflated for best gas mileage.
-I would definitely surf the net and investigate all the places you plan to go and those in between. YOu may find more coupons, plus avoid any costly mistakes (Like taking a really expensive tour of something that you find out isn't really worth the $$ and is 10 times more fun if you go at it without the guide.)
post #4 of 17
if you have a zoo membership, you could always travel to other zoos... check out the reciprical list & see what is free or half off
post #5 of 17

We love road trips too. Hit the dollar store for little "prizes" you can award for good behavior in the car.  Or, save Happy Meal toys throughout the year for this purpose.

post #6 of 17
There is a website called It tells you where the cheapest gas prices are. Most hotels have a computer you can use or free wifi.

Don't forget to stop at the rest stops they often have tons of brochures and coupons too.
post #7 of 17
For the first day you can pack your lunch and even dinner for the trip.
Also try and find some accommodation that has either a microwave or at the very least a toaster in the room so that you can cook your own breakfast or make your own diiner in the room.

Also if you are planning a 5 hour road trip then I hope that you are prepared for the time in the car with the kids. Check out Entertainment For Kids in the car for some very useful hints on how to keep your children quiet on the road trip. I'm not too sure what ages your kids are but there should be something there for all age types.

And most of all, HAVE FUN and remember with a road trip the journey is half the fun.
post #8 of 17
Cool ideas, my hubby and I are going to use them on our vacation next week.
post #9 of 17
We do road trips from CT to WI to visit family (long, long drive LOL!). The things we do to save money include: packing our own food in a cooler (especially drinks, chips, snacks, which cost a fortune on the road!); use our AAA or other group discounts for any hotels, etc. that we frequent during our trip; have AAA do a trip-tik so we can avoid road construction (which wastes gas and time); fill up the car and air up the tires, etc. before we leave to ensure we're getting the best mileage we can; pack a "goodie bag" for the kids for every hour or two hours we think they'll be awake while we're driving. The goodie bags can include small toys, coloring books, fun snacks we don't usually get at home, etc. I usually hit the dollar store, clearance bins, etc. for the "goodie bag" items; we also pack things like pack-n-plays if they kids need them b/c many times the items provided by hotels haven't been cleaned and/or checked for recalls, etc. Hope you have a great trip!!
post #10 of 17
Pack food for the car trip and for when you get to the hotel. If you have a microwave in your room, than you can make snacks or quick meals in your hotel room (microwave popcorn, microwavable hambuger helper, microwaveable mac and cheese, etc).
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