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Part 2: Road Trip! 4 Ways to Save Money on Your Summer Vacation

July 4, 2016

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Summer has arrived! School is finishing up for the kids and hopefully you’re gearing up to take a well-earned vacation.

There’s lots of options out there, but whether you live here in the lower mainland or out east in Edmonton, Calgary, or beyond, there’s a special Canadian tradition that I intend to take full advantage of this summer.

The summer road trip.

This is the second part in a series of posts about inexpensive summer holidays.

There’s nothing better than rolling the windows down, pumping some tunes, and setting out to explore a portion of our beautiful country. Plus, embarking on a road trip for summer vacation makes it easy to keep your trip in check budget-wise.

Here’s how to save a few extra bucks when you’re out on the road this summer.


1. You’re Already On It: Driving Instead of Flying

I never really understood why people take expensive flights to hot climates in the summer - it was 30 degrees in the shade in Vancouver yesterday! So the mere fact that you’re using your time off to take a road trip means you’re already saving money on some well-earned R & R.


2. Watch Your Fuel Consumption

The biggest, most unavoidable expense on a road trip is the cost to fuel up your ride. If you’re budget-conscious then chances are you’re already driving a vehicle that’s fuel-efficient, so good job! No matter what you’re driving, you can save on gas by:

  1. Driving the speed limit and keeping your speed steady
  2. Inflate your tires properly before you leave
  3. Plan your route!


3. Eat Smart

Paying close attention to the big expenses is important, but it’s also budget-friendly to keep an eye on all the little things that can add up to a big bill when your trip wraps up. Food is a big one - it’s easy (and tempting) to eat all your meals in restaurants. True story, one time my sister was on a road trip and she sent me a photo of her cooking up some road-side pirogies on a small fuel-powered grill. That’s a healthy meal for a fraction of what you’d pay in a restaurant.

It also pays to be smart with the snacks. Keep some healthy nuts and veggies in the car to keep the cravings in check while you sit still for hours at a time.

Here’s three things no one wants on a road trip:

  1. Famished children in the backseat
  2. Starving partners in the passenger seat
  3. Regret after giving in, eating a huge meal, and sitting uncomfortably for another 3 hours on the road


4. Camping vs Hotels

If your road trip spans several days in locations that don’t include a welcoming extended family, then you’ll need to set up shop overnight. Hotels with waterslides and continental breakfasts can be great for the whole family, but multiple nights in a hotel adds up quick.

Pack a tent and your camping gear and tell yourself that this is the summer you live off the land for a little bit. Camping is a rewarding and relaxing way to enjoy the rustic nature of Western Canada, provided you know what you’re doing just a little bit.

Alright, all set? Everybody jump in the car, let’s go!

Oh yeah, don’t forget the kids!


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