1. Reliable vehicle
A trip to the mechanic is a must before a road trip. Get a general check up of the tyres, lights, battery, fluid levels and other basics. This process will help you save on fuel and avoid emergency stops for repair.
If you do have some bad luck, have an emergency kit ready to save time and labour costs. Store necessities like a spare tyre and equipment for changing it, jumper cables, a torch with extra batteries, road flares and reflectors.
2. Drinking necessities and cheap eats
- Pack a thermos. Coffee breaks are never just coffee breaks. When you walk into the store your $4.50 coffee bill increases to $30 because of sweets and snacks. Having a thermos full of coffee keeps you alert and allows you to avoid unnecessary junk food stops.
- Purchase a 2 litre bottle of water per person and refill them. This will save you a lot of money if you add up all the $3 smaller bottles of water you buy throughout a trip. Keeping hydrated will also steer you away from spending money on soft drink.
- Never eat in a tourist hotspot as the prices are often exaggerated. The locals know best, price-wise and quality-wise, so ask a local for their tips on the best places to dine without tourists.
- Cook your meals. Buying a small stovetop and/or grill is an inexpensive investment and useful for more than just one occasion. Purchasing from farmer’s markets and grocery stores along your tip, means you can cook healthier meals that are cheaper than eating out three times a day.
- Carrying a cooler box and food boxes also allows you to keep leftovers and stock more ingredients.
3. Fuel use
There are a number of ways you can save money on fuel costs. Make sure your tyres are properly inflated, pack light, maintain a steady speed (cruise control) and try to buy fuel on the low side of the price cycle. Using a fuel app will also help you buy the cheapest fuel. The presenters on the MythBusters television program discovered that it’s actually more fuel efficient to roll down the windows instead of using air-conditioning.
4. Affordable Entertainment
Here are a few ways to plan your stops along the way.
- Check the official tourism websites of the places you plan to visit for links to free things to do.
- Spend a day at free museums.
- Parks, art galleries, and libraries often offer free concerts, lectures, and plays.
- Bring active wear and a football or two for free fun.
- Use concession cards to your benefit.
5. Inexpensive laundry
Laundry is not cheap in a hotel or a hostel, but dryers cost more than washers. Keeping a clothing line and few pegs can help you air dry your clothes overnight.