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Hi, everyone! :wave2: Just wondering if you could help me plan ahead for a vacation that is coming up. We're going to a place that will take approx. 2 days to get to including an overnight stay at a motel. I want to save on trip expenses, but I need some help in this department.

Could/Would you please give me ideas of unforeseen expenses that could arise on our vacation with tips on how to plan ahead? A friend of mine suggested having a couple bottles of window washer fluid handy to avoid having to stop at a gas station and paying 3X the price than a retailer. Very good idea!

Any and all ideas would be greatly appreciated. :thanx:
 

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Take along as much snacks, drinks, and food as possible. If you have a cooler that would help.

Make sure you plan out your trip and have a good idea of how much gas will cost.
 

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If you can, stay at a place that includes breakfast. Even if it's cold cereal or muffins, it's still free!
As well, instead of going to a fast food place for lunch, stop at a grocery store, and buy their premade sandwiches at the deli. Lots of times you can get a tray of 4 subs for around $10 or so.
We do this all the time while travelling, and it really helps!

Since we can't do anything about the price of gas, we fill up at places that give us stuff. Canadian Tire for CT money, Superstore for their Superbucks, Shell has Airmiles, etc...you may not be saving money right then, but at least you get something out of it.
 

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How soon are you going? I ask because if its during winter times you will want to make sure and pack hand-warmers, blankets, hats and gloves for emergency. In addition to wearing them if its already cold out.

Pack food and water with a variety of sweet vs salt so it will be easier to resist temptation at gas stations. If kids are going pack games they can play, pillows, and let them have a say in the snacks that you are packing, it helps if they try to beg at the gas station.

Pack/make your own baby wipes and pack paper towels, kleenex or TP for mishaps. Stuff happens, even just something as simple as spilling your soda can make a real sticky mess without baby-wipes or washcloths.

Map out your route ahead of time and try to stick to that plan. Decide ahead of time how many times you will allow eating out so you can stay firmly on budget once the hunger hits.

Don't try to do it all in one long stretch, take breaks even if they are just "safely off the road getting out of the car" stretch breaks. This will also help with the fatigue and hunger which then will hopefully help you resist extra cost temptations.

Take your car in for its maintenance if its getting close to the due date/mileage. Don't do this the day before, do it a few days before just in case there is a problem after the maintenance. Have them check your tires, as well. Good air pressure helps with gas mileage.

Hope you have a great trip!
 
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Put some money in an envelope and stash it some place safe just in case you need it. Set this aside specifically for emergency money. Don't use it for anything else (i.e. food, motel, gas) that you've already expensed for.
 

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I'll second what krbs said.

Pack snacks, *and* a trash bag for wrappers. Keep the car tidy and it will be a more pleasant trip.

Have the car serviced, top off all fluids, check your brake lights, etc.

Pack a small first aid and medicines kit. You can really blow a lot of time and money trying to find antacid, cold medicine or band-aids in rural nowhere. Put it someplace easy to get to, not under the luggage in the bottom of the trunk.

I carry a travel folder with printouts of all important paperwork, like the hotel reservation and confirmation #, phone numbers of places we are going, emergency contact phone numbers (family, insurance co, AAA, etc.). I also print off a google map of the general area around our hotel, and one of our trip from start to finish. I also keep state maps in the car for all states we will be visiting.

It's a good idea to look at your route and do a little figuring. How far can you get on one tank of gas? Where is a good spot to fuel up? Larger towns on the highway have more amenities. You don't want to be low on fuel and thinking "Gee we should have stopped at the big truck stop 30 miles back". What is the halfway point of your trip? It helps with morale on a long trip to acknowledge progress.

Emergency cash. Take $50 or $100 or what you're comfortable with. This is money you do not plan to spend. Keep it on your person in the event you are separated from your car or luggage.
 
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I like to make sure I have good music in the car :)

I also get the tires rotated and checked before a long road trip. Snacks are very important. I try to stock up a couple weeks before we go. That way I can easily fit the "extras" into my weekly grocery budget.

I would recommend taking small cups of bowls to dole out snacks. That way you don't have a lot of spills and everyone gets to snack at the same time. Also clothespins! You can always find uses for those suckers. Mainly to close the snack bags ;)
 

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We bring reuseable water bottles and refill them with water bought along the way. We also only allow water in the car in case someone spills. Water evaporates, soda pop and juice gets sticky and is uncomfortable to sit in.
 
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