Traveling is awesome but spending money never is. It’s actually one of the most stressful things we deal with on the road (besides our vehicle breaking down, that is). Over the past couple of months we’ve figured out a few ways to cut down on our expenses. Following these money saving travel tips might just help you save enough to stay on the road a little bit longer.
5 Ways to Save
Come up with a spending plan.
The first step is to figure out where your money is going. Save your receipts for everything for a couple of days and then add up your expenses. Analyze your spending and figure out where you could improve. For us, our two biggest expenses are fuel and food. We love to drive and eat. A lot. Our plan for spending less starts here: with cutting down on our miles and eating “at home” a little (sometimes, a lot) more.
Eat a lot of Cup Noodles.
Right. So if you’re thinking uh, I can’t eat that, I ate that back in college…we get it. But at $.28 cents, it’s pretty much the cheapest thing you can eat. If Cup Noodles isn’t exactly your thing, come up with a bunch of easy meals that you can cook up or at least assemble pretty easily on the road. We also eat a ton of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, hard boiled eggs, bananas, yogurt and cheese.
Stay with friends and family
So many of our favorite people in the world have given us a place to crash when we’ve been on the road and honestly, we probably couldn’t have stayed on the road for as long as we have without their help. Because even though we can sleep in our vehicle, nothing beats an actual bed and a shower. It’s a double-bonus, too, to spend time with people we love and catch up with them.
Make your own coffee
Going out every morning for that Tall Frappa-Grande-Mocha-Latte-Soy Milk beverage is going to cost ya. Don’t get me wrong, we have a VERY soft spot, a downright certifiable weakness when it comes to coffee and coffee shops but if you’re really trying to keep some cash in your wallet, bring your own beans and make a fresh pot of french press in the parking lot.
Bring your own mug.
Some mornings we just can’t muster up the energy to make coffee (like when it’s 20 degrees outside and we woke up with cold noses). A lot of places will give you a small discount by bringing in a reusable mug so take ’em up on it and bring your own.
5 More Money Saving Tips
Don’t buy bottled water
I’m a germaphobe and sometimes have a hard time with water fountains and sketchy water spigots but the days of purchasing water are over. Get a good jug or two and fill up when you can. It’ll save you wallet and the environment.
Map out your route
Sometimes this might be the last thing you want to do because you just want to wander and discover things along the way. But if you’e short on money you can save a lot by being smart aboutyour fuel consumption.
Watch your speed.
This also has to do with gas consumption. Going fast is going to cost ya. According to fueleconomy.gov “While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 mph. If you have cruise control and feel safe using it, give it a shot! Most of the time it will help you save on gas.
Nothing burns fuel like walking. Caloric fuel, that is. And when you can’t walk, consider taking public transportation. And if you’re staying in a city for more than a couple days, look into getting an unlimited pass rather than single use fare cards.
Sleep in your vehicle
We’ve been known to sleep in the parking lots of hotels and motels (with permission, of course) and sometimes laugh at the irony that a bed is literally steps away. But when we crawl into the back of our 4Runner and shut the door, we give each other a high-five knowing that we just saved ourselves a big wad of cash. Have you seen our packing list for this?
Have you tried any of these cash saving tips?
Did they work for you? Let us know what you thought and stay tuned for more tips on how to save money on the road.