6 Money-Saving Tips For A Cheap Road Trip  

Oct 24, 2023 | Car, Tips & Tools

There’s something special about hitting the open road, with a full tank of fuel, the adventures ahead of you, and the endless possibility for all those memories you could make. Whether it’s simply to get to your holiday destination, avoid expensive flights, or a way to explore South Africa’s beautiful landscapes and diverse culture, road trips contain a treasure trove of opportunities. 

That said, road trips aren’t cheap. Fuel is pricier than ever and eating out for each meal will eat into your wallet. The trick is to stay on top of your spending – and the good news is that we can help you with various strategies on how to travel light financially.  

Set Your Fuel Budget 

Put our Fuel Consumption Calculator and Trip Fuel Cost Calculator to the test. With our Trip Fuel Cost Calculator, you can tell how much it’ll cost you over a set distance. And then with our Fuel Consumption Calculator will help make it easier for you to estimate how much fuel your car will use at difference distances in kilometers.   

Between the two, you’ll know how much you need to keep aside for fuel. Not only will this help you create an accurate fuel budget, but it’ll also prevent you from eating into this stash of cash. 

Create A Full Road Trip Budget 

You can’t be accountable to what you’re planning on spending if you don’t actually have a budget. This means considering how much you’ll spend on fuel (thank you, tip 1), accommodation, entertainment along the way, emergency funds, and a set amount for miscellaneous expenses (things that don’t fit anywhere).  

Pre-Trip Car Maintenance 

Your money is earmarked for fuel, food, and fun. Not for car issues, right? So, don’t let something that could have easily been fixed for much cheaper before the trip, turn into a nasty and expensive (and even life-threatening) incident while you’re on the road.  

Here’s a checklist to tick off before your road trip: 

  • Regular Maintenance: Check the oil, coolant, brake fluid, and transmission fluid levels, and top up any fluids that are low to avoid costly repairs while on the road. 
  • Tyres: Inflate your tyres to the recommended pressure and check for nails, a slow puncture, cracks, or bulges.  
  • Brakes: Test the brakes and listen for any unusual sounds or vibrations – better yet, have a professional check them out.  
  • Lights: Test all the lights, including the headlights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals.  
  • Battery: Test the battery to ensure that it is fully charged and in good condition. 

Plan Your Food and Accommodation 

Planning your meals and accommodations in advance is the best way to avoid overspending during the trip and helps you save money before the trip. Booking things well enough ahead means that you can take your time to get the best deals. Oh, and on this note, be loyal to your favourite booking system, because the more you use the system the more likely you are to earn points, level up, and score better (and cheaper) deals. 

We also suggest that you book self-catering options, because cooking your own meals can save lots and lots of money.  

Put Some Thought Into Your Packing 

Thinking about what gear and supplies you’ll need will save you from buying stuff on the road that you already have at home. This goes beyond clothing, so think about kids’ entertainment, snacks, toiletries, spare tyres… anything you might need that you could have packed.  

Save On Fuel 

The best and most practical tip that we can give you is to make sure that you drive efficiently. Yes, it sounds basic, but actually doing things like maintaining a steady speed, sticking to the speed limit, avoiding sudden acceleration or braking, and keeping your tank on the fuller side will all contribute to spending less on fuel. 

If you’re planning on hiring a car, opt for something more fuel-efficient – even if it means sacrificing a few creature comforts.  

Feel informed?  

While we hope this helps, we have to point out that there is at least one more thing you can do to make sure you don’t blow your road trip budget. You need car insurance, because if something goes wrong, you can call your insurer and let them handle towing, storage, repairs, and all the costs associated with a car accident. 

Visit  AA Insurance Supermarket, to compare up to 7 car insurance quotes and choose the right car insurance for your your car. The last thing you want is to have something go wrong that you have to pay for out of your own pocket.  

Enjoy your trip, and safe travels! 

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