Tried, tested & true, the following life hacks are used by us when we travel.
You’ll find most of these quite common but you’d be surprised to know that most people who travel feel the “vacation” experience is enhanced by “all inclusive”. That somehow their vacation isn’t real unless someone is waiting on them hand and foot. For me, I’m happy being thrifty on the road. Saving a buck wherever I can makes my trip worth while. If I can cut a corner somewhere, save a few dollars in my lodging to be able to spend it on a bigger, fancier meal or something I really want, then that’s what I’ll do, every time.
When we travel, we try to stick to the west coast or the southwest. Rest areas dot the highways along the way. These are the ultimate places for us to stay. Why? They’re free. They have bathrooms. Some even have showers. The key word here is free. I save one hundred percent when we stay at one. They are bright, clean and safe. I’ve never had an issue staying at a rest stop. However, it is illegal to stay overnight, so make sure that you grab four hours of sleep before moving on. After all, the state troopers would rather you stay at one than drive fatigued.
If you insist on staying somewhere, try a motel over a hotel. They’re more cost effective. They have free WiFi, free coffee and in some cases, they have a continental breakfast. I love me a free breakfast. My personal favourite is Motel 6. The WiFi is decent, and they have swimming pools and more importantly hot tubs (spas). These are great for weary travellers with sore bodies. I could sit in one for an unhealthy length of time and shrivel up like a prune. Also, after a certain hour, some are kid free.
Even better than a motel are certain types of camping spots that come with showers and laundry facilities. These are the hidden jewels of the road. Some state parks have coin operated showers, which is a bonus when you’ve been in a car for way too long. Some RV/camping sites not only have free clean showers, but laundry too. That’s the ultimate find when you’re travelling. Of course, the laundry is coin operated, but I’ll spend a few bucks to save my nose from an unhappy confined space situation.
Rest areas are the biggest money saver on the open road. But you can save big money by stopping at small mom ’n’ pop grocery stores and buy fresh fruits and vegetables to keep in a cooler in your car. You don’t need to stop once or twice a day and eat at a restaurant. It’s expensive and usually unhealthy. I like to control the kind of nourishment I consume. By buying fruits and vegetables, you save on money, ensure that you’re eating well and you can buy in small quantities to make sure nothing spoils while you’re travelling. Do we eat out on the road? Of course. We usually stop once a day at an eatery. We’re a little picky about our food, so we take our time finding spots to stop at.
However, after reading this, if you still feel like you’re happier staying in expensive hotels and eating at potentially unhealthy restaurants, have at ‘er. But if you’re looking to save big money, give our technique a try. We not only save money, more often than not, we come home with cash in hand.
With these tips and tricks, we have managed to go on two or three vacations a year without breaking the bank. I love travelling, but I love saving a few bucks even more. It’s awesome when you can do both at the same time.
Give it a shot, what have you got to lose?