Planning a road trip is stressful business! When me and my boyfriend decided to go on a USA roadtrip, I didn’t realise the amount of planning that would go into it, until I actually got home from the trip. I thought I’d share various tips, to help you when you are planning your road trip – or any travel trip away.
#1 | Plan How Much Money You Need |
Realistically work out how much money you would be able to save. Use my previous blog post to help save more money if needed. Create a budget plan and work out on average how much accommodation, food, car rental, flights, activities etc are going to be, and from this work out how long you can afford to go for. The way I see it, theres no point going for longer if your going to be scrimping on some areas, you may as well go for a shorter amount of time and do everything you want to do.
#2 | Plan A Rough Route |
After working out the amount of time your can afford to go for, plan your start and end point. Then plan the rough route in-between, don’t plan the exact dates for anywhere, so that your free to come and go as you please – you might really not enjoy one place, and leave earlier, or love it so much you end up staying a few more days! (But you might need to plan a few areas – see point #6)
#3 | Decide Which Car To Rent |
Search for the best deals on cars – remember to check the terms and conditions and see if you can get a free additional driver, which I couldn’t recommend enough for when driving across America. We probably spent a little too much on the car, and could have done with spending a bit less, but my boyfriend insisted we got a convertible – and he was right, it was amazing driving along the Big Sur and across the beautiful Arizonian landscape with the top down. Saying that though, if we were to do it again, we would definitely get a cheaper car. We used the website Trip Wheels, and ended up going with a car from National – I would really recommend these, as they were really great!
#4 | Book your flight there and Back |
Once decided how long you can afford, make sure you get the best deals on flights there and back. Check out Skyscanner to get the best deals, and don’t leave it till the last minute.
#5 | Get Travel Insurance and An ESTA |
You need an ESTA to enter the USA, and make sure you get it from the official website. Also make sure you get good travel insurance – check out comparison websites, and Martin Lewis Money Saving website to get a good travel insurance. Always read the fine print of every insurance to make sure it covers what you need, and so you’re clued up with how to claim if you need to.
#6 | Book Your First Stop and Any Along The Way |
Make sure you have a hotel all booked for when you get there, you will need to write the address down on the form for when you enter America. Also, although I’m saying all this about winging it, looking back, we wish we booked a few bits along the way. We wanted to camp in the middle of the grand canyon, but it was all booked up when we got there. We wanted to stay in Yosemite, but it was all booked up too. Things like this – where you know its going to be busy and if you really want to do it, I would recommend booking in advance – and work the route around that date – it might even make you feel a bit more organised and less stressed when you’re there!
#7 | Get A Sat Nav |
When renting a car it has the option to rent a Sat Nav too – this can get expensive, so instead we ended up downloading a free Sat Nav app called ‘Navmii’ – I was a bit sceptical at first, but it was brilliant! Download it before you go, and all you have to do it download each state that you will be passing through, and its good to go. Theres a few bits which are not as good as a normal Sat Nav, as you have to save each place on the sat nav when you have wi-fi, but it is still a good option to save a lot of money.
#8 | Planning Some activities |
A good way of saving money while your there is booking activities in advance. If you don’t want to book in advance because you don’t know where you will be, then when your out there you might be able to find some websites that have good deals for some things, or even check out websites like groupon for some good deals!.
Happy Planning! P.S. If you need other ideas of how to make money, check out my blog post here.