How to Plan an American Road Trip on a Budget
The great American road trip, it’s on many a bucket list, with many people thinking that it’ll stay that way for a long time – an unattainable dream. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are my top tips on how to have the best road trip possible, while keeping a tight hold on those purse strings…
I like to move it, move it
First off, sorting your transport doesn’t have to be as pricey as you think it does – especially if you’re not particular on your choice of wheels! There are heaps of car and motor-home relocation sites out there on the interwebs that offer fantastic rates if you’re happy to drive the vehicle from one location to another – perfect for moulding your trips around. We used Imoova for our trip from the East coast to the Best coast of America and got a steal with our mammoth RV for $1 per day for a two week trip! Compared to what it would have cost us at around $7000 to rent an RV straight out, that’s a helluva lot of cash saved to put to better use.
What’s the catch? We did have to put down a $1000 security deposit for our RV when we picked it up, but as long as your vehicle has been fully vetted beforehand and you don’t cause any major damages on your trip, this is fully refundable. Imoova is available worldwide – so it’s definitely worth a peek!
The almighty Walmart
All that travelling can be pretty tiring, so you’re going to want to rest your head somewhere that isn’t going to be a lay-by on the side of a busy highway, but you’re also not going to want to be splashing out on expensive hotels, motels and Holiday Inns every night. That’s where everyone’s favourite American supermarket comes in, as Walmart offers free overnight RV/motor-home parking at a large selection of their stores. Alright, so it’s not the the height of luxury, but it’s great for a free pit-stop on your journey and a break from the highway. Most stores are open 24 hours too, offering constant security, bathrooms and all the midnight munchies you’re going to need to keep you going!
Check ahead which stores offer overnight parking by using their handy Store Locator here.
There’s no place like home
Of course if you’re not travelling in a hefty RV kitted out with built-in beds and are opting for a snazzy little speedster instead, you’re going to need to look into accommodation options at the end of each day of travelling. But avoid checking into the Ritz just yet, as you could stay in beaut locations for FREE. Ahhh, my favourite F word.
Are you a pet lover? Good at looking after your own home? Could you do that for someone else? People all over the globe are heading off on travels of their own and looking for someone to step up and lovingly look after their pets and homes – offering them up to willing volunteers completely free of charge in exchange. So not only do you get to stay in much nicer surroundings than a dingy motel room, but you also get to experience the area like a local AND have a snuggle with a pet. Sound like your kinda thing? Explore some house-sits worldwide with Trusted Housesitters and start house-hopping today!
Bag yourself some free tickets
My favourite part of travelling is getting to explore the music scene in each city, as they always have something exciting to offer that is unique to that time and place and just gives you an authentic flavour of what the place is about. Plus if you’re constantly on the road you’re bound to catch one of your favourite artists along the way! But if like me your list of gigs to catch on the road is about as long as your arm, ticket prices can snatch up a huge chunk of your budget. Especially with those sneaky sneaky rising booking fees…
That’s why I blag my way in for free! If you think you can write a pretty good review of a gig or an event, there’s always going to be somewhere out there on the internet that will be willing to publish it for you if you know where to look, and sometimes if you contact them in advance they’ll even set up access for you. You don’t have to be the world’s best writer by any means (I’m certainly not) to get yourself reviewer access to an event, all you need is to be able to put fingers to keys afterwards and talk enthusiastically about what happened on the night. So for example, I’ve written some gig reviews for online music magazine Gigslutz, so if I were interested in a particular gig I’d whizz over an email to their Reviews Editor and ask if they were interested in coverage for their website, and if so if they could sort me out with access. Et voilà! Rock up on the night, your name’s on the list and you’re in for an awesome time.
This could also work with different types of events, just look up what you’d like to do in advance of arriving at the location and get in touch with event managers, band managers, PR contacts and the like and ask politely if they offer guest access for reviewers. After all, they’re looking for people like you to put the word out about how awesome they are!
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