When planning a family vacation, you can cut costs and avoid being caught unprepared with just a little advance planning. Have fun and remain within your budget by following these steps before you go.


1) Plan in advance what you will do for dining
Decide before you leave how many meals you will be eating out. Prepare some food along the way, saving dining out for special occasions. If you pack lots of snacks, easy-to-prepare meals and plenty of drinks for your road trip before you leave, you will save some of this expense.

Look for restaurant coupons and discounts ahead of time online. Bring these along or have them sent to your smart phone so you can use them to save on dining out. These can help you save a lot on your food bill.

2) Pick how you will stay overnight
Your stay in an overnight hotel, motel or bed and breakfast also adds significantly to your trip’s expense. One idea is to travel in an RV motor home, which might be less expensive and provides a kitchen in which to cook your own meals. RV travel is a good way to save on dining out and overnight costs. There are campgrounds for RV’s in every state.

3) Plan your route ahead
Plan your daily travel route to economize on fuel on your trip. Whether traveling by car or motor home, fuel costs add up quickly. Book the places you will stop each night for the best rates and so you know how far you need to travel each day.

4) Plan for Highlights but Remain Flexible
Plan your journey to stop off at the attractions you like while still allowing some flexibility for a last-minute decision to visit a roadside attraction that you can’t resist. The best bet is to go online in advance to buy your tickets to planned-for attractions before you go. Using your auto club or other memberships, you may find special admission prices.

Take advantage of some art museums that have free weekends every month for some bank cardholders. Find out the right weekend to visit to take advantage of these offers.

Look in the local papers and online for upcoming local events so you can plan your travel schedule to attend them.


5) Plan for Appropriate Clothing
Pack appropriate clothing for your destination’s weather taking into account the time of year. Find out the weather forecast before you go. Take along a raincoat and umbrella just in case.

6) When you Travel with Children
Remember to bring along the children’s favorite games if you are traveling with them. There are several games with travel versions available. If your vehicle has a DVD player, make sure to pack a few favorite DVD’s for the kids.

7) Prepare Your Vehicle Before You Go
Here are some things you can do to prepare your vehicle ahead of time to save money and time on the road:

  1. Have good tires, properly inflated.
  2. Check your car’s fluid levels.
  3. Have oil changed and brakes checked.
  4. Have a qualified mechanic go over the car, checking sparkplugs and other engine essentials.
  5. Make sure all bulbs work: the blinkers, headlights, etc., and the windshield is clean.
  6. Ensure that your car’s air conditioner is in good shape.
  7. Take along extra fuses, water, motor oil and an emergency kit with flashlight, jumper cables and a knife as well as screwdriver and duct tape.
  8. If you are renting an RV motor home, these things will be provided as will an emergency number to call for help.
  9. Take along a first aid kit for any family emergencies as well as all medications that your family may need along the way.

Now that you are fully prepared for your trip, relax, and enjoy yourself. You are ready to get on the road and just have fun. Enjoy your vacation!

This article was contributed by Joe Laing, the Marketing Director of El Monte RV. Joe has been with El Monte RV for 18 years and has a wealth of knowledge on the topic of road trips and RVing.

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