Finances

Did Someone Say “Road Trip”?

I think my best vacation memories are during road trips. I’ve taken a few in my day. In fact, I had racked up 150,000 kms on a car in two years tripping out west and out east in Canada! I’ve taken road trips across the eastern provinces (separate times), down to Florida, Pennsylvania, Maine, etc. on different occasions.  I love the unknowns, the adventure, and the people I traveled with. I could go on about that for a while, but this isn’t the Life blog. 

Now that things are opened up again in Canada, some of you have the itch to get out and take a vacation. But your budget may have gotten a little tighter this year. If you aren’t sure of what to do, how about a road trip? If I could do it as a broke college student, so can you.

Tip #1 – Drive

Since gas is lower than normal right now, driving is the cheaper option verses a plane, train, or cruise. The weather is great and every country has its own beauty to be discovered. I’m actually surprised at how many Canadians have seen different parts of the world but haven’t visited their own country. I feel this is probably true for many countries. 

Depending on how much you like driving and how much vacation time you have, pull out a map and chart your course. How far do you want to travel each day? Any sights you’d like to see near home or in another province? You can figure out how much gas you’ll spend by planning your route. This will also help you decide how far out you want to go. 

Tip #2 – Phone a Friend

Is there a friend that lives along the path you want to take that you haven’t seen in a while? If they’re open to it, ask them if you can come for a visit and spend the night. If they say yes, you now have a friend to visit and a place to stay for free. 

Don’t be too cheap. Try to arrive with a gift in hand for their generosity. Though I’m sure they’ll be happy for the opportunity to catch up with you regardless. 

Tip #3 – Sleeping Arrangements

If you’ve run out of friends along the path and you’re trying to avoid hotels and Air BNB’s, another option is your vehicle. Depending on the kind you have, you can get creative. Do you have a van, truck with a cover, or a larger SUV? Bring an air or foam mattress along and turn the back of the vehicle into a bed. You could either build a quick frame to set the bed on and put the luggage and food stuff underneath it, or pack around it.

I’ve seen people purchase mesh covers to go over the windows in the vehicle, so they can sleep with the windows down at night and embrace the fresh air. 

Prefer a bit more room? Try camping out. Borrow a friend’s camping equipment if you don’t have any. Just be sure to take good care of it.

Tip #4 – National Parks

If you like the great outdoors, plan to visit some national parks or beaches. They are inexpensive and will give you an entire day of things to explore. You can stretch your legs from the long drive and enjoy a hike in the hills or mountains. Or, pull out a towel and enjoy the sunny beach and the cool water. 

Tip #5 – Meal Plan

You can apply the same tips I shared last week about meal planning in regards to camping. Pack something to cook with, enjoy easy meals and snacks that are car friendly. Buying groceries and making your meals will be way cheaper than having to buy every meal at a restaurant. 

Please at least treat yourself to a few meals out if you can afford it though. You are on vacation after all. 

Tip #6 – Make Some Memories

Make sure to make some fun memories. Stop at random places. Make up fun games. Read to each other during the slow, more boring parts of the drive. Crank up the tunes and sing along. Some of those moments will be what you remember most. And the best part is, those are all completely free. 

Happy travels!

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