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Creative and Budget-Friendly Road Trip Tips

The warm season is finally here, and you’re likely already planning your next getaway. Time to fill up that tank: adventure awaits!

If your wallet is feeling a little light, we’ve got you covered with creative and budget-friendly ideas to help make your trip a reality much earlier than you think.

1. Choose a nearby yet new-to-you destination

A recommendation that is sure to lower your gas expenses: choose a destination that is not too far. Going somewhere close by will save you a few dollars, and you’ll still experience wonderment and make new discoveries since you’ve never explored the destination before. Who said going on an adventure required travelling far from home?

2. Use Instagram and Google Maps to plan your getaway

Planning your itinerary is crucial in terms of keeping your road trip on budget. Rather than researching destinations the traditional way, why not venture off the beaten track and turn to Instagram for inspiration? Search for hashtags related to the areas/cities you’re interested in, and you’ll find posts that might spark some interesting ideas. It’s a great strategy for building a unique itinerary! 

Once you’ve decided on your destinations using your favourite social network, enter them into the search bar on Google Maps. After browsing gorgeous photos on Instagram, this is the part where you actually plan your trip. You can already start exploring restaurants, gas stations, and other services in the area you are headed. 

Have fun calculating the duration of different portions of your trip using Google Maps, and make a note of any tolls on the way. It’s an excellent way of creating a unique itinerary, and will make planning your trip even more exciting!

3. Book everything as early as possible

Another way of minimizing costs is to make reservations for accommodations (bed and breakfasts, hotel rooms, etc.) and activities (museum visits, restaurants, etc.) in advance. Use the internet to reserve directly through company websites, or try deal sites which can help you save on different aspects of your trip. It’s a well-known fact that paying on location always costs more. And every dollar counts!

Here are a few websites that can help you save:

4. Pack a cooler full of food

Hitting the road for a short trip? Save money by avoiding stopping at restaurants on the way. Bring everything you need for meals from home, stocking your cooler with fruit, fresh salads, juice, sandwiches, and even iced coffee (especially when it’s hot out!). And don’t forget sweet treats for everyone in the car, as well as dry snacks that can be kept for longer. 

5. Go camping instead of staying at a hotel

Canada has so many amazing camping locations… not to mention that sleeping outdoors is much less expensive than staying at hotels and motels! If you’re heading out for a few days, and plan to make several stops, why not sleep in your tent? Ensure you have a good sleeping bag, flashlight, and plenty of warm layers (you’ll also need a tarp in case of rain). You won’t regret sleeping outdoors and enjoying nature! Grab a cooler full of food, and you’ll be set. 

6. Hit the road with friends!

“The more, the merrier!” is also true when it comes to road trips. Travelling with friends is fun, but it’s also a great way to cut expenses by splitting them among several people. Destinations that may once have seemed inaccessible now become possible. Ask around to see who is interested in joining your adventure, and go from there. We bet they’ll have great ideas to contribute, as well!

7. Seek out free activities

One of the great things about summer is that it brings with it a plethora of free activities and destinations throughout the country: festivals (both in and outside the city), shows, museums, parks, etc. Choose places that inspire you, and plan activities that don’t cost anything. You can also base your itinerary on free destinations and activities—a creative and budget-friendly strategy. 

8. Go on a road trip… in your own city

If you really can’t afford to travel far this year, it’s time to use your imagination and try the staycation version of a road trip! It may sound farfetched, but you’ll see just how much fun it is. Get in your car and head to the closest ice cream parlour, have a picnic in the park, go for a walk in a neighbourhood you’re less familiar with, or spend the afternoon swimming at the public pool. Be creative, and don’t take things too seriously: your staycation will be a true success!

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