Saturday, April 12, 2014

Budget Road Trip Planning

  Budget Traveling tips and links to help you out when cost is a factor in traveling.

This is road trip info.


There have been very few times when traveling that I didn't have to worry about saving money on the trip when I could.
I am one of those people who back in the day would head to Myrtle beach South Carolina for the weekend with a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter, a box a donuts and a pineapple..NO JOKE.There have been witnesses.

Plan as far in advance as you can so you will have plenty of time for research.Researching lodging,cheapest gas stations on your route,restaurants on your routes and coupons for anything you can get your hands on.This can be a little time consuming but worth the effort for sure in the run long.Here are some examples for you from my most recent experience.

Tip # 1 Hidden cost and figuring out accommodations. We are making a road trip with a small dog so I had to find accommodation that would permit dogs.Some Hotels permit dogs as service animals but not all do for just family pets.You must also take into consideration if they allow pets what the charge will be for that.I found a great tip for you...La Quinta Inn allows small family dogs at no additional charge.Now this hotel may be a little more expensive than some of the others but after figuring in the price for what some charge for pets along with other amenities it balances out fine...I also look for rooms online but then use the phone to make the actual reservation.I can speak to a human ask about any additional fees and usually get just as good a deal.Now I know there are lots of travel sites now who will help get great hotel rates maybe cheaper but i feel more comfortable with asking for special rates on the phone with a person.You most always can get an a.a.r.p,military or some sort of discount.I know some sites get cheaper rooms if you book at the last minute but my trips are always planned ahead,and I don't wait last minute.

Tip # 2 While on the subject of hotel pricing...I always look for hotels that include Breakfast...I like the ones which has a hot breakfast not just the old fashioned donuts and coffee..Although I have stayed at my share of those places as well. Our hotel noted on their site that they included a nice hot breakfast bar which said included waffles along with some other common items...Well sounded good but one of my travel partners is diabetic and wouldn't be able to eat waffles every morning. I found out they offered meats,and eggs also which a diabetic could have...So we are going to save money with what I hope will be a decent breakfast every morning just because we booked a hotel with a hot breakfast.

Tip #3 Read reviews! That's how I found out about the other options for the breakfast buffet.Then when booking the room I asked the person making my reservations to be sure.Reviews for hotels,restaurants,and even rest stops gives you lots of great info.By reading reviews for looking at places featured on Food Network Dinners Drive Ins and Dives I found I spot that Guy liked but most of the reviewers did not like it,and I found out about another place very close to that one which had top reviews from almost everyone.Now that was a great bonus.

Tip # 4 Use a site like Map quest or something similar that will help you plan your route.You will be able to look up and mark all your stopping points,such as restaurants,attractions,gas stations accommodations and even figure in fuel cost..( remember you can also research before traveling where the cheapest gas stations are on your route). I am not here to promote Map Quest but I am without a doubt a dinosaur when it comes to all the other options which I am sure are available such as some apps for phones or I pads..

Tip # 5  COUPONS! Once you have figured out your route with the stops you want to make you can then go on the ever so fun adventure of finding coupons for great deals for attractions and restaurants along the way..Don't forget to ask friends and family as well, they may know of some great budget friendly eateries they never mentioned to you before.Most of the time you can visit the websites to chain restaurants such as red lobster or olive garden,even Bojangles and Hardees ...join their e mail clubs and get coupons right away for something free.I have included links for some of the deals I have grabbed over the last few days at the end of this post.

Food is a huge cost and when booking our hotel I also look for a accommodations which had a refrigerator and microwave..I am one of those people who make a trip to the grocery store to stock up on drinks and munchies for the room. I simply refuse to pay the prices in the machines.
Lunch is normally cheaper then diner so if you were going to chose to eat out then that's when I would chose to spend my money and maybe have something in your room for diner. This trip we are opposite and will be having lunch mostly at the room and diners will be eaten out.With the occasional day time shopping and eating excursions I am sure. Speaking of chain restaurants...

 Tip # 6 USE THOSE GIFT CARDS! How many of us have gift cards we haven't yet used that were given to us at Christmas..Well I along with my traveling partners have around $150.00 in Chain restaurant gift cards that we have saved since Christmas..That's a big money saver for sure.
Now do I want to always eat at a chain restaurant of course not... I am a foodie!So I suggest you do your research and pick out that one perfect spot you want to give a try while traveling you know the one that may be a little pricier or just something out of the ordinary.Then use your gift cards for the chain restaurants.

TIP # 7 Get off those interstates when you can to find those great little Mom & Pop places,the dinners that have been around for 50 years or that hidden little place that serves fish tacos you seen on the travel channel.You will always see the huge road signs for the chains but the hidden treasure eateries are sometimes a little harder to find..That's why you should use a site like map quest to help you plan out your route with these places marked.

Tip #8 Ask ask ask!!! You should ask everyone you meet while making pit stops about local attractions and eateries.Ask the front desk clerk,the people at the gas station,others staying at the hotels.There are so many free attractions out there you may not know about until you ask.Speaking of free...Its a great idea when you can find a eatery you would like to try for the first time to ask about live entertainment.Lots of places have live entertainment at no additional cost or cover charge(make sure to ask about a cover though before you get there or checkout their web site).

Tip # 9 Take a small cooler. If you have kids or not this is going to come in handy while traveling.Add beverages,fruit a sandwich anything you can take to keep from spending to much money on food before you even get to where you are going.I have found that stopping for gas on long road trips while hungry can make you spend wasted money in the convenience stores on munchies and beverages that does really add up in the long run.

Tip # 10 Wear clean underwear when traveling!!! Isn't that what Mom always said?

Below is a list of links that I hope you will find helpful for your travels.Just click on the highlights for what you are interested in.Enjoy have fun be safe and remember you can still have a great trip even if money is an issue,just do your research.

Pet Friendly Hotels if you look under Lodging when you get to the site it is much easier to search exactly which accommodation type you are interested in and can then search by city and state.

Restaurant Coupons this is a easy search site which has done some of the work for you.You do not have to give your e mail to access this great site.

Hardees Coupons Deals of Awesome On Face Book This gives you the most recent Hardees Coupons Available on Face book From the Hardees Restaurant.I grabbed a great deal on free drink and fries with purchase of chicken strips.When you get to the tab just look to the left hand side and it will give the options for coupons for Breakfast,beef,chicken and so forth.

Free Bojangles Biscuit I received a coupon in my email for my choice of a free steak,sausage,country ham,or Cajun fillet biscuit ant my local Bojangles.I will take advantage of this by stopping by the morning of my road trip.taking my own beverage of course in my cooler.You must sign up to be a e club member but not a big deal.

Free Krispy Cream I got a coupon for a free doughnut when I joined the e club sent to my e mail.This is for my local restaurant so I wouldn't be able to use it while in Georgia.But there is a local K.C. in route yum.

Free Pastry from Panera Bread If you don't have a Panera bread member card you can go online sign up for the e club print off a temporary card present it on your first visit and receive a free pastry.I printed mine :) 

Free Appetizer or Dessert from Olive Garden with the purchase of 2 adult dinner entries when I sighed up with their E club.This was a good deal for me because I already have a O.G. gift card to use on my trip.No out of pocket $ for me.That's a win win.

Free Appetizer from Long Horn Steak House when you join their e club. Woop woop!! I have another gift card..No out of pocket money :)

Find Gasoline Prices for U.S. Cities There are many of these sites and you may find a better one this is just a quick idea for you.

I really could go on and on here because so many of the big restaurant chains has e clubs you can join and receive something.So just check out the web sites to the restaurants you know you would use and see what they have to offer.

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