Don’t Forget To Budget For These 5 Crucial Things On Your Road Trip
Road trips might seem like the most spontaneous of all travel plans. All you have to do is get in the car and go. And it’s true! However, that’s a great way to come back with a giant hole in your bank account from lots of little, unplanned expenses. So before you hit the road, make sure there’s room in your budget for these five important details.
Gas prices aren’t standardized across the country. If you start out in New York City or Los Angeles, you’ll probably be thrilled by rural Missouri gas prices. However, remember they won’t always hold steady at that low cost. Be sure to factor in some wiggle room for your price per gallon to go up and down a bit depending on where you are.
If your road trip route passes through any major cities, prepare to pay to park. Whether you’re stopping in for dinner or a day of touristing, big cities aren’t big on the free parking idea. Watch for meters and be ready to pay per hour.
The open road might be calling to you, but you know what’s tricky about those open roads? Tolls. Ranging from a couple quarters to $20, tolls can be a huge burden on your travel budget — not to mention, it’s a pain to always have cash on you. Pro tip: Check Google Maps before you go. Your route will include a warning if you’re about to drive on a toll road so you can decide whether you’d like to choose an alternate path.
The best part of any road trip is when you see a billboard for the best ice cream in Small Town, U.S.A. and immediately take the next exit to try it out. But this habit could blow your budget if you don’t plan for it. So instead of giving up that delish scoop, put in an extra $10 a day for spontaneous snack outings.
Now, we won’t lecture you about where you sleep. If you want to sleep in seedy motels or even in your car, that’s your business. However, you do need to budget sleep into a different kind of currency: travel time. It’s a safety concern. If you’re driving, you need to sleep. End of discussion.
One last note: If you’re renting a car, read the fine print before you sign the lease. You don’t want to be surprised by little fees, like for refilling the gas tank or insurance.