Road trips are a dream holiday. You get to see a huge area all at once, stopping off and enjoying the key sights before moving on to something new. You can cross off bucket list items in their droves. But there are two things that often get in the way of a good road trip. One is the expense involved in driving around and staying in a different place every night, and the other is the hassle of plotting a route and figuring out where to stop. Here are five hacks you can use to make your road trip a lot easier.
1. Use Google Maps key features
Google Maps has some features that are a real godsend for anyone who wants to plan a road trip. They are as follows:
- The ability to see the average driving time along a route – and then add waypoints or stop-offs that will divert your route, updating the total time
- The ‘search nearby’ function, allowing you to quickly and easily find hotels, motels, restaurants, cafes, and anything else that you might need near to your destination
- Quick business details, so you can see at a glance whether a business will be open during the hours you’re likely to arrive
These features will help you plot a route more quickly, and help you to decide when and where to stop.
2. Rent a parking space ahead
Getting parked in a new city is a nightmare, especially if you are short on time and just want to get out of the car as soon as possible. You can usually find cheap parking spots on community sharing sites, so you can just book it and go. When you arrive, you park up with no hassle and then you’re on your way. It can also be cheaper than expensive city parking fees.
3. Stock up
Take a car just absolutely full of snacks when you travel. This way, you are never forced into stopping for lunch. That can be really useful if you are behind schedule, the place you were planning to go is closed, or you just don’t find anywhere that looks enticing. Being able to just keep driving is a real boon. Not only that, but you can also save money if you are stocked up. You won’t be forced to pay potentially higher prices at places where there aren’t many options for buying food.
4. Research prices
You can also save money by looking up the average fuel prices in every area you are traveling through. You will likely find pockets of higher prices and pockets that are lower. Scheduling your trip so that you need to top up in one of those lower pockets could help you save a lot of money over the course of the journey.
5. Get a toll account
Paying tolls is an unfortunate reality of life on the road in most countries. This is not something you can avoid in many cases, so instead, get an online toll account that will bring you discounts. Most countries have an automatic paying device you can attach to your windscreen. When you arrive at a toll booth, the device is scanned and your online account is charged – often at a lower rate than what others have to pay. Being organized ahead of time saves a lot of money!
With these preparations, you’ll find your road trip a lot more enjoyable and cost-effective. There’s no sense in getting stressed or wasting money when you could be having the time of your life!
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About the Author
Sarah Kearns is a hardworking mother of three daughters. She is a part of the team behind Parkhound – a place where you can find cheap parking spots. She loves cooking, reading history books and writing about green living.