Road trips can be a fun way to bond with family and friends and it can also be a less expensive way to travel. Flights for even a single passenger can run over $100 depending on your destination, making driving a frugal alternative.

Whenever possible, you should choose to drive instead of fly if you’re looking to save money. While a plane ride may get you from North Carolina to Florida in a matter of hours, driving will take you close to 10 or 12 hours with stops!

If you are not prepared for the road trip ahead, you could end up taking longer to get to your destination or turning around because you forgot something. Here are a few insider travel tips for the automobile.

Make Sure The Driver Gets Plenty Of Sleep The Night Before

You don’t want the driver to lack sleep or to be too exhausted if you can avoid it, starting out on your drive. Make sure that you get at least seven hours of sleep each night two days before traveling.

If you can, you should try to avoid driving between 1-3 pm as this is when most people start to feel drowsy.

Keep Food Handy

Road trips are unpredictable. You could get stuck in traffic for a solid 30 minutes straight, or not pass any exits for 30 miles! If you don’t want to bring full meals with you, you should at least pack a snack bag.

Skip fast food when possible, and stick to healthy food that will keep you energized and full.

Keep The Passengers Entertained

One of the worst parts of traveling with the kids can be the never-ending “are we there yet?” Make sure that you bring something along to entertain the family as well as something to keep the driver from getting bored and tired. We like to do engaging car games on long road trips or ask each other fun questions.

One of our all-time favorite games is the alphabet license game!

If it’s a long road trip, we’ll download a few audiobooks for the road to play that the whole family will love. The Chronicles of Narnia has been a favorite for the entire family!

Clean The Car Before You Leave

If you have a dirty car, I promise you’ll be miserable while traveling. You will be sitting in your mess, and it will drive you nuts! Prepare for your trip by giving your car a good cleaning.

Take out anything you don’t need for your road trip, and stock your car with road trip essentials. Having a few extra plastic bags handy for a trash can help keep your car from getting dirty while on the road, and a roll of paper towels is a must. Grab some baby and bleach wipes, air freshener, nausea medicine and water bottles. These are just a few of the items we bring to keep the car clean.

If You Don’t Already Have A Gas Rewards Card, Get One

This is going to save you so much money while you are on your trip! We have a Shell Fuel Rewards card which allows us to get a few cents off each fill-up and sometimes even a FREE Tank of Gas!. Over the course of a long road trip, this starts to add up quick! We also stock up on gas cards whenever Publix has their Gas Gift Card Coupons in the ad. This not only gets us $10 off a $50 gas card initially, this is also one way we save for vacation!

Exxon allows you to use your Plenti Points card at the pump to get you rewards you can use outside the gas station, and many other cards offer great sign up perks!

If you don’t already have a few gas rewards cards, look for some free ones to sign up for. It takes just a few minutes, and will save you big!

Bring Cash Just In Case

You will find toll roads in some of the most bizarre places! If you don’t have the money to pay the toll, this could cost you around $50 for each toll you can’t pay for! Keep coins and plenty of cash on hand in case you run into a toll or have to stop somewhere that will only accept cash.

We have walked into a gas station sometimes just to find that they can’t take credit cards or debit cards at the moment.

Road trips can make a fun vacation with family or friends, but if you are unprepared, it can turn a fun trip into a disaster in a matter of minutes. Make sure you are ready for anything your trip throws your way with these insider tips, and check out how to save on train and airplane trips.

Here are 10 Ways to Save on Road Trips!

YOUR TURN: Where would you head for a trip in the car? Let me know in the comments below!

More Fun Articles To Read:

What It Really Means To Be Frugal

Frugality is often confused with being poor or cheap and spending only the minimum. But I've found that living a frugal life isn't about sacrificing and feeling deprived. Being frugal is learning to live smarter so that you can afford to live the life you want. It's...

read more

The Ultimate Guide To Saving Money At The Grocery Store

  I've always believed that the grocery budget is one of the most flexible categories in your budget. So here's how to save money on groceries. There are so many things you can do to lower your grocery budget, and maximize your savings. I spoke about this topic on my...

read more