It’s that time of year again! You’re getting ready to load up your car and hit the open road. Road trips are a great way to see the country, and for many can be a frugal way to travel. They can also be quite expensive, if you’re not careful! Use this list to make sure you don’t forget any of these road trip essentials – they could literally save you hundreds of dollars on your next trip.
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Don’t forget these money saving road trip essentials:
Roadside Assistance Membership Info
A roadside assistance policy is absolutely one of the best ways to save money and have peace of mind on the road. Breakdowns and accidents happen – it’s part of life! The membership fee for roadside assistance is tiny compared to the cost of paying out of pocket for someone to tow your vehicle should it break down just once on the road. This one tip alone could save you hundreds of dollars!
Also, many insurance companies offer roadside assistance as part of their policies (or as an inexpensive add-on). Take the time to find out your benefits and have the info handy should you need it on the road. You won’t regret it! With that, don’t forget to make sure you have:
Current Proof of Insurance + Registration
Heaven forbid you get in a fender-bender or get pulled over, but you’ll want to make sure all your necessary documents are on hand and current – just in case. This might save a bit if you’re ticketed for some reason, but it’s worth it’s weight in gold for peace of mind. It’s nice to have your ducks in a row. Also, don’t forget to pack a:
Before your trip, find out the ideal pressure for your vehicle’s tires, and then make a point to check your tires at the start of each day. This $4 tool could save you the price of a new tire, and at the very least make sure you’re getting the best fuel mileage possible. And, speaking of fuel mileage – you’ll want to download a good:
Fuel Price Finder App
On our last trip we used Gas Guru, and it saved us up to 40 cents per gallon on each fill up! It is so nice to be able to look up fuel prices ahead of time, and know that we were getting the best deal. And the savings really do add up.
Another road trip essential that could save you hundreds is to make sure you bring:
Plenty of Cash
Paying cash at gas stations is THE BEST WAY to avoid credit card skimmers at the pumps. Also, paying with cash can help you stick to a budget for your trip. We try to carry cash for all travel purchases, plus a backup stash that could get us home if for some reason there was an issue with our cards or bank account. Along with plenty of cash, you’ll also want to bring plenty of:
Buying a case of bottled water at the grocery store will cost pennies on the dollar per bottle, compared to convenience store prices. Also, when you bring a cooler of ice cold water you’re more likely to stay hydrated – a great way to stay healthy and keep your immune system strong on your trip. Also, don’t forget to pack loads of:
Bringing your own snack foods will save you boatloads of cash on your trip – and if you pack healthy snacks you’ll feel better too. (Here’s a list of 30+ Frugal and Healthy Road Trip Snacks!) Not buying snacks and drinks at convenience stores and vending machines can save you $5 or more per person, per stop. That adds up fast! Another helpful way to save is to bring your own:
A simple, insulated travel mug is safer to drink from while traveling, and will keep your hot beverages warm longer, and your cool beverages cooler. We like to fill ours at the hotel prior to checkout, insuring we’ll have a nice cup of coffee to start the day’s drive. Average savings? $3-$5 per day.
Another thing that is super helpful but commonly forgotten:
A Well Equipped First Aid Kit
Bringing a well equipped first aid kit (more than just bandages and antibiotic ointment) should top your list of money saving road trip essentials. Knowing you have the right supplies on hand to clean and bandage a cut or deal with nausea gives so much peace of mind. It can also prevent an expensive detour to a pharmacy or urgent care. To any comprehensive first aid kit (like the ones below) I like to add/make sure to include simple OTC medications for pain, nausea, motion sickness and allergies.
Also, don’t forget to bring updated copies of your:
Health Insurance Info
If you do have to visit an Urgent Care or Emergency room, knowing what locations are covered by your insurance could save you hundreds (if not thousands!) on medical bills. Make sure to have current copies of your cards, as well as what numbers to call if you need directions to the closest covered facility.
It Never Hurts to be Prepared!
As you can see, just a little advance planning could save you hundreds on your next road trip. And why not? Use the savings to go farther or do something fun! Or just let these road trip essentials make your journey more relaxed and enjoyable!
You Might Also Like:
- How to Make A DIY Travel Kitchen and Save Money on Road Trips
- How to Road Trip with a Cat
- 30+ Frugal & Healthy Road Trip Snacks
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Jamie Siebens is a freelance writer and owner of Always-an-Adventure.com, a blog focused on living intentionally and finding beauty in the everyday adventures of life. When she’s not behind a computer screen, you can find her with her husband and two daughters enjoying their current adventure – turning a former 1890’s one room schoolhouse and town hall into their cozy family home.