Whether you’re traveling on a budget or want a surefire way to explore different corners of the country, a road trip can be a very rewarding experience. If you’ll be packing up the car and hitting the highway within the next few months, here are a few essential tips to keep in mind.
1. Prepare for higher gas prices
The cost of gas has risen a lot over the past month, especially along parts of the East Coast, where gas shortages have been a problem. Be sure to factor the higher cost of gas into your travel budget so you’re not thrown off course. It also pays to use a tool like GasBuddy to compare the cost of fuel at nearby gas stations and snag the best deals.
Additionally, take a look at your credit cards and see which one offers the most cash back for gas fill-ups. If you have enough time, you may even want to apply for a new card that offers generous rewards for gas if your current cards don’t offer such great perks.
2. Map out some rest stops in advance
At some point during a road trip, you’ll need to stop, stretch your legs, use the bathroom, and eat. If you leave those pit stops to chance, you might end up pulling over along some very depressing, dull stretches of highway.
On the other hand, if you plan out your stops in advance, you can scout out some cool spots that are destinations unto themselves. You may, for example, decide to eat lunch at a scenic overlook with great mountain views or hit up a local restaurant that’s famous for its selection of gourmet pies and desserts.
3. Don’t assume last-minute lodging will be available
If you’re traveling at off-peak times (say, during the week) and aren’t picky about the hotel or motel you book, then you may be safe to hit the road and wing your sleeping arrangements. But if you’re traveling with kids and need a larger room to accommodate everyone, then you may be better off booking your stays in advance.
Furthermore, last summer, it was fairly easy to book a last-minute hotel because a lot of people weren’t out traveling. This summer is shaping up to be very different. Now that coronavirus cases are dropping and vaccines are widely available, a lot of people are making plans to travel to different parts of the country, especially once school is no longer in session. That means hotels could get booked up quickly. So you may want to secure your lodging in advance — either that, or pack some camping gear in your car, just in case.
Road-tripping can be an exciting adventure, and often, it allows you to get off the beaten path and uncover hidden gems. Keep these tips in mind if you’re planning a road trip today. Hopefully, they’ll not only help you better budget for your travels, but also make your experience a more positive one from start to finish.