In my last blog post yesterday, I talked about the lessons learned after a very fun road trip weekend to Canada. The one thing that I didn't talk about was how I was able to provide the funds behind the trip. Yes, the trip itself was a great time - and thanks to some well-timed specials, I was able to pay a fraction of the cost that I normally would. And I won't have to pay off the bills over the next decade.
So how was I able to make it all work? Allow me to outline the ways I made this trip easier on myself.
- Groupon and Living Social Discounts
Hotel planning was a breeze this time, as the majority of my hotel stays were paid for through Groupon and Living Social discounts. With these discounts, I was able to pay about a third of the price I normally would for the four-star hotels I stayed in, and had some extra bonuses added as well - such as restaurant discounts, wine tastings, and even free casino credits. However, the secret to making this a successful proposition was being able to stay flexible in my dates - as these deals are only good for a limited time frame. But that's a blog post for another day.
Average hotel costs: $110/night
Regular hotel costs: +/- $250/night
- Rental Car of Delight
Lets not pretend that the rental car that I road tripped with was not an expense - because in this case, it was. But as I outlined before, the last time I drove to Niagara Falls, I had to pay $300 to replace a flat tire. So in the grand scheme of things, the cost of the car was less than having to replace a tire on my own. Not to mention the 1,000 miles that I put on the rental prevented me from having to get a oil change that much sooner. And because of my elite status with the rental car company, I also earned a free rental car day as a result!
Rental Car Cost: $77
Avoided Potential Costs: $400
- Creative Meal Planning
The entire time I was on the road, I was able to make the most of my trip using creative meal planning. That is, instead of stopping for three squares a day, I instead opted for two. How did I make up lunch? By eating the nutritional equivalent throughout the day. To do this, I opted for snacks and smaller meals throughout the day that could be eaten on the road. While they were really only a slight step up from MRE rations, they did the trick - and kept me having fun on a budget!
Total Lunch Costs: $50
Average Meal Costs per Day: $25
All of these savings added up through the weekend allowed me to have a great time, and really enjoy myself throughout the weekend without worrying about money. Of course, I only say that until I'm forced to pay for all of my fun next month. Oh Visa bill, why can't you come next year instead?
How do you save money on the road? I'd love to hear your secrets - and maybe even try them out on my next trip! Let me know how you make it all come together in the comments below!
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