Smart Budgeting Tips for a West Coast Road Trip

45% of Americans take a summer vacation every year, and a significant number of them plan the ultimate American road trip, according to recent summer vacation travel statistics. Road trips have been a summertime staple for many years, and America’s West Coast is one of the most popular destinations for both local and international travelers around the world. While every trip is unique in its own way, it’s always advisable to plan your road trip so you can make the most of your road adventure. A key part of this involves smart budgeting to ensure a successful trip. Here are some smart budgeting tips for a West Coast road trip:

Funding Your Trip – The Small Details Matter

Before you start discussing your road trip, you need to have a rough idea of the budget involved. How will you fund your trip? If you have set aside some savings for your West Coast summer road trip, you’re good to go. But if you haven’t, and still want to treat your family or have fun with friends, you can opt for alternative financing options for your summer trip. What matters most is going for a viable option that you can payback if you opt to borrow. Once you have the funds needed, it’s time to look into the smaller details. Plan your route and stops before you leave, keep your plans a bit lose for flexibility, make sure your ride is ready and pack wisely.

Find Ways to Cut Down Major Costs

You might have a good budget in place for your road trip, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still save. For your road trip, your biggest expenses are going to be gas, food, tourist attraction site fees like national parks, accommodation if you’re not planning for an RV and other expenses along the way. To save on gas for your summer trip, fill up your car the day before you leave, keep the weight of your trip cargo to a minimum, make use of specialized gas savings apps to shop around for the best gas prices and drive the speed limit.

To cut down food costs, consider packing your own food beforehand in a cooler. This way, you get to control the nutrition of you and your family and gift yourself extra time to enjoy your trips as your stops are much more efficient. If you’ll be visiting parks along the West Coast, you can purchase an Annual Park Pass to cut down park visit fees significantly. For accommodation, you should opt for low-cost but comfortable accommodation options like camping, motels or lodging. Sharing costs with your partner or even your traveling group can help cut down major costs. To save yourself the misery of last minute bookings, make sure to book accommodation in advance.

Planning a road trip is not always easy, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. Perhaps the most important thing to do, apart from having a detailed budget for your West Coast road trip, is to make sure that you ride is ready. The last thing you want is getting stuck along the way due to mechanical issues that could be avoided. You should know to pack like a pro, only carrying what is necessary. On top of that, once you’re on the open road, you need creative ways to keep everyone entertained on the road.

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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