Vacations are a must once in a while, but jetting off to some exotic locale can be both expensive and stressful. Yet if you have a car at home, your ticket to an exciting getaway is literally just the turn of a key away. Road trips are the perfect way to see the sights without breaking the bank, and these travel hacks are guaranteed to keep your pockets full as you tackle the open road one adventure at a time.
Kill two birds with one stone by traveling to two vacation spots that are close to one another. A trip to the sunny beaches of California can quickly become a ski weekend if you head just a few hours east or north.
If you have a membership at a nation-wide gym chain, you can stop off for a quick shower for free at most locations. Otherwise, some national parks offer showers for just a few dollars, and most RV parks will let you pay for a quick rinse even if you’re not staying.
Let’s face it: the internet isn’t always reliable. In those moments when your LTE says “g2g,” make sure you have a paper map handy so you can stay on track to your next destination.
Dining out on a road trip is a great way to enjoy all kinds of regional cuisines, though its easy to fall into the habit of seeking out familiar chain restaurants. Don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path and sample some of the local flavor — it’ll likely even save you a few bucks.
If you plan on renting a car for your big adventure, fuel efficiency is just as important as trunk space. Behind the wheel of a fuel-efficient vehicle, you’ll spend less time at the pump and save plenty of dough to boot.
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If you would rather not travel lugging around your body wash bottle from home, why not make a soap pouch? It’s very easy: just sew up a bar of your favorite brand of soap inside an old washcloth and you’re ready to get sudsy on the go!
Before you fill your tank at the first station you see, hit up Google to see if there are any others on your route that have cheaper gas. There are also apps like GasBuddy that can help with your search.
Believe it or not, Starbucks is good for more than just charging you $15 dollars for coffee. Their cafes all have reliable Wi-Fi and more than enough outlets to charge your devices, keeping you connected no matter where you go.
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If dining out isn’t your thing, bring a well-insulated cooler with ice to last roughly 5-7 days. That way, you can pack ingredients for a quick breakfast, lunch, or dinner without then having to make multiple trips to the grocery store.
In a financial bind? Try including a budget for the miles you’ll be driving within your itinerary. By doing this, you’ll be able to keep tabs on how much you’re spending on your trip and decide whether or not you can afford to make a few extra stops.
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If you find yourself exploring a small town while on your adventure, consider ditching the car for a few hours (only if you feel safe, of course). You’ll be able to conserve gas while still seeing the sights, and you may even stumble upon a hidden gem you would’ve missed if you’d simply driven by.
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Leftovers are the gift that just keep on giving, but when you’re out on the road, food storage can be hard to come by. By packing a few spare food containers, your leftovers will stay fresh longer and avoid taking up excess space in those clunky takeout boxes.
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Everyone gets snacky, and when you’re in a groove behind the wheel, sometimes you’d rather munch on something to hold you over instead of stopping for a full-blown meal. Make sure to pack plenty of munchies for the road, and if you spot a low-cost convenient store, you’d be wise to stock up there too.
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If your trip includes popular entertainment like a Broadway show or a day at a theme park, look into ordering your tickets ahead. You may even be able to track down discounts online or in certain stores like Wal-Mart.
If a trip to Starbucks isn’t really your thing, try stopping at a local library for your daily tech fix. You’ll have access to Wi-Fi, computers, and helpful librarians. The best part? It’s all free!
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National park’s aren’t only good for a cheap shower: they can save you money on gas, too. Most parks offer shuttle services to whisk you from place to place, and choosing the bus over a car can even save you on entrance fees in certain states.
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While it’s always smart to keep cash on hand, change can prove to be your best friend on a road trip. Public showers, laundry machines, and some campsite amenities often only accept coins, so make sure to stock up on quarters and keep them someplace safe.
A great tip for car renting is to pick one up as early as possible. Many low-cost cars are unavailable first thing in the morning, making rental companies more willing to rent you an expensive car at a cheaper rate.
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If you’re planning a road trip to a popular destination like Las Vegas or California’s wine country, you’re certain to find cheaper event and experience costs during their off-seasons. You may have to put up with some inclement weather, but the savings and lack of crowds will surely be worth it.
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Rather than try to rough it in some forest clearing you only just discovered, seek out a designated campground. Most only charge a few dollars a day, or better yet, you may even be able to find one for free.
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If you have the chance to visit a museum, go for it! It’ll be a great change of pace, the free AC will be worth it, and, best of all, most museums are free, discounted, or offer a suggested donation.
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Space is at a premium when you are packing for a long trip. Get as much out of your suitcase as you can by rolling up your clothes when you pack them instead of folding them. It makes a real difference!
If you’re worried about your clothes smelling less than fresh once you unpack, just stick a few fresh dryer sheets into your bag! They will keep everything smelling like you just pulled it out of the laundry.
Just because you’re traveling that’s no reason not to look your best. To keep your necklaces from getting knotted, string them through a straw like this one. Just remember to remove the straw before you wear it!
If you’re trying to book hotel or event tickets, always make sure you have private browsing enabled before you click. These sites can tell when you’ve visited them before, and they often raise their prices accordingly.
When you pack a suitcase, you don’t want to have to worry about your dirty shoes sullying all of your freshly laundered clothing. Spare yourself the headache by storing your shoes inside shower caps!
Those extra contact lens cases you have kicking around make great containers to store a little bit of moisturizer and foundation. This is also a convenient way to freshen up your look during super long trips.
Even if you don’t use a glasses case regularly, investing in a cute one is a great idea. That’s because they’re the perfect size to help store all of the cords for your electronics.
You don’t need to spend a fortune buying speciality travel cases for your toiletries. All you need are some plastic straws and tape! Fill them up with the desired amount, then label and seal them with the tape.
If you carry a lot of jewelry when you travel, you might want to pick up a cheap pill case. These cases make for great storage for smaller items like those favorite pairs of earrings you’re always misplacing.
If you’re traveling with something fragile like a bottle of nice wine or your favorite perfume, why not try putting it inside of one your shoes instead of leaving it loose in your suitcase? The shoe acts as a great protective barrier.
You can even pack items like your socks and underwear inside of your shoes if you’re running out of space in your suitcase (and who isn’t?). It works like a dream.
If you travel with earbuds consider picking up a binder clip to keep them safe and to prevent them from forming knots in the future. Binder clips also work as a great option when it comes to covering up razor blades.
If you’re traveling abroad, you ought to make sure that you have plenty of emergency cash. Using something like an old ChapStick container can be a great way to store cash in a place no one would think to look.
If you use Google Maps when you travel (like so many folks out there) and you’re heading to an area without a signal or WiFi, simply type “ok maps” into your search bar to save the map of the currently displayed area.
If you are traveling with a few pairs of stud earrings and you don’t want to misplace them, consider storing them on a large spare button. This keeps them organized and makes the earrings much easier to find.
If you are traveling with a blow dryer or a curling or straightening iron, consider also packing a pot holder. These can be handy ways of storing your hair care appliances—and not burning yourself—when you’re on the go!
Don’t forget to check out apps like FourSquare before you try that cute-looking coffee shop. Not only will it give you a great review, but it will very often give you the Wi-Fi passwords ahead of time.
It’s not uncommon for some people to become nauseated while they are traveling. Using peppermint tea for aromatherapy purposes can really help. It can also freshen your breath and banish body odor in a pinch.
40. Instead of packing a bulky iron with you the next time you’re staying at a hotel, use the hangers in the closet to hang up your wrinkled clothes in the bathroom while you shower. The hot steam will remove the wrinkles.
41. If the air conditioning in your hotel room is non-existent (or might as well be), take a towel from the bathroom and dampen it slightly. Then, either place it near your air conditioner or near an open window. The chilly droplets in the towel will evaporate, adding some cool, moist air into the room.
42. The shower caps that most hotels provide have more than one great use. When you’re packing, make sure you use them to cover your shoes and protect them from harming your nice clothes with dirt or other grime that have accumulated on the soles.
43. You can save a fortune by making your own food inside of hotels instead of ordering room service. With a little planning, you can not only save major dollars, but also carry a little taste of home with you!
44. If you are traveling with kids and you don’t want to have to shell out for an extra room or a pull-out bed, try using the copious amounts of pillows provided to create individual sleeping areas atop the same bed.
45. If you’re a light sleeper, staying in a hotel can be rough. Place a rolled towel along the bottom of your hotel room door to block out annoying and distracting lights and sounds that might disturb your slumber.
46. If your daytime activities get rained out and you’re trapped in your hotel room with the kids, why not use painter’s tape on the rug to mark out fun routes for your children to explore with their favorite toy cars?
47. While most of the curtains in hotel rooms do a great job blocking out the light, that pesky opening where they meet can leak in a lot of unwanted glare from outside. Instead of suffering a sleepless night, use one of their fancy clipping hangers to clip the drapes together.
48. If you need a place to feed the kids inside of your hotel room look no further than the in-room ironing board that comes equipped inside of the closest. It’s the perfect solution—and the kids will love it!
49. If you are running late to a meeting or your next fun activity, you can use the coffee pot and its hot water to brew up instant meals like oatmeal and ramen noodles in a snap. Now that’s a seriously awesome hack!
50. If you run out of places to power your phone or you left your charger at home, you don’t need to spend money to find a way to charge your phone. Most hotel room TVs will have a spare USB port in the rear that works just fine.
51. If you need a place to change your baby and you don’t want to risk soiling your bedding, you can easily transform a hotel room’s desk into the perfect baby-changing station. Presto! How easy is that?
52. Another lesson for those who are traveling with a baby: dirty diapers can pile up quickly! That’s why you should store them inside of the plastic bag provided for hotel laundry. Just don’t forget to dump it at the end of your stay, or you may not be welcome back.
53. If you are worried about picking up bad smells as you travel, packing loose fabric softener sheets inside of your suitcase can be a smart way to banish horrible aromas once and for all! Chances are, you already have these lying around the house.
54. If you are staying at a hotel where they charge you to use the Internet, you can very often use your own phone as a private, personal internet hotspot. Just check with your provider before you head out.
55. Very often your luggage comes equipped with clothing clips inside. You can use these clips to keep your toothbrush elevated and away from potential germs. It’s a great way to stay healthy and avoid getting sick while traveling!
56. During vacation we all try to avoid doing laundry, but sometimes it’s just gotta get done. If you find yourself with clothes to be washed, put a plastic bag over the sink’s drain and weigh it down with coins to make sure the sink basin fills up enough. Now you’re ready to wash!
57. Don’t pay for room service. Instead, get restaurant meals and groceries delivered to your hotel room for free.
58. Bring your Amazon Fire Stick or Chromecast to play your family’s favorite movies and shows.
59. Stick your phone in a cup or ice bucket to amplify sound.