Spring has sprung and summer is right around the corner, which means it must be road trip season. We love road trips! But road trips can be expensive. From the hotel to the gas and general car maintenance to souvenirs to food along the way, the bill can certainly pile on. Family road trips are a pivotal and life changing experience for families and a great way to bond, so we want to make sure money doesn’t stand in the way of enjoying those experiences. Here are a few money saving tips to help you have a cost effective and enjoyable road trip this summer without going into debt over it.

Plan Ahead
Probably the most obvious one is to plan. Figure out where you’re going, then once you know that, plan out which places you’re going to want to visit, then look for deals on those places. Many towns will have local coupons or bargain websites you can use to get discounted tickets. Do a decent amount of research before you hit the road.

Find the Cheap Gas
Use an app like GasBuddy or CheapGas when your traveling in order to find the cheapest gas possible while you’re traveling. Instead of wasting precious gas driving around to find the cheapest place, these apps will find it for you so you can get gas quickly and be on your way. Also, if you know a certain gas station chain will be at most of your stops, investigate whether they have a text club or some other form of discount club if you go there often.

Make Your Own Snacks
Road trip food is one of the fun parts of a road trip, but stocking up on snacks at each gas station can get pricey, not to mention super unhealthy. Plan ahead and make your own snacks. Recipes for things like homemade granola bars, trail mix, and other road trip food are abundant online and in the long run will make more and be cheaper than buying those things at a gas station or other convenience store. Do the same with drinks. Buying things you know you’ll drink a lot of at the grocery store or even a bulk store like Costco will save a lot of money in the long run rather than buying them at each convenience store you stop at.

Pack Wisely
Once you figure out your destination and what things you’ll be doing when you’re there, you’ll be able to pack. Make sure you pack wisely and pack what you know you’ll need. A beach towel will be a lot cheaper at your local Walmart than it will at the pool or beach location. Your phone charger sitting on your bedside table is going to be a lot easier and cheaper to bring than finding one and buying it at a convenience store, so make sure you don’t forget those things.