Here are some top tips for seeing the highways and byways:
– Get everyone involved in the planning. Whether traveling as a couple, a quartet, or more, the whole family should be in the spirit of the trip before leaving the driveway, and that zest often comes from extensive planning. Mapping out an ultimate destination – whether it's a natural wonder like the Grand Canyon or an urban landscape like New York City – is only a small part of the planning strategy. Have kids pick spots to stop along the way, by having them research certain segments of the trip, like whether there are any fun sights in the stretch between Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Minneapolis, Minnesota, for example (but don't be surprised if they opt for Hormel's Spam Museum).
– Choose a cashback credit card as your extra travel buddy.
Bringing along a credit card instead of cash is often a good idea
since emergencies like car repair may arise and require a boost of funding. Also, gas dollars can stretch farther by picking a card that offers reward points or cash back. One stellar option that's particularly good for road trips is the Discover Open Road Card
since it offers a five percent cashback bonus on your first $100 in gas and auto maintenance purchases each billing period. To make sure that there's also enough cash on hand for the smaller items you just have
to buy (think Slushees and beef jerky), part of planning could be printing a map of your bank's ATM locations in other states.
– Skip the drive-thru and hit grocery stores instead. Besides lodging, one the largest expenses for travel is food, and even seemingly affordable choices like fast food can crimp a budget as quickly as one of their employees might flip burgers. For healthier meal choices and saving money, locate supermarkets or small groceries instead, and keep a cooler in the car. It's far cheaper to buy a loaf of bread, some condiments, and lunch meat for sandwiches than to motor though a drive-thru. Plus, your car won't smell like old french fries for half the trip.
– Make it a weekend trip. If the kids are back at school or work is too pressing, a meandering drive through a few states may not be an option. In those cases, take the opportunity to explore your own state, and all the quirky little sights and unsung restaurants that might be just a half-day drive away. Weekend trips are ideal for learning more about what's nearby, and enjoying the unique natural aspects that aren't so far away. For instance, Chicago dwellers might zip northward to Door County, a region known for its quaint shops and luscious cherry desserts. Those in bustling Boston could drive westward to spend some time hiking the Appalachian Trail, which runs from Georgia to Maine.
No matter where you travel, planning helps streamline the trip, and can whip up creative strategies to have more funding for souvenirs and delicious dinners. So, get out on the open road, and leave the gas price worries at home.