Thursday, June 30, 2011

Frugal Road Tripping...

I love me a good road trip. No, really, I do! And that's a good thing, considering I have family that I visit each week that just so happen to live 100 miles away from me. After 5 years of making this trip, and yearly longer road trips, I have picked up quite a few tips and tricks.

1. A cooler is your best friend! Rather than buy individually packaged drinks like juice boxes, water bottles, and soda cans, I prefer to pack everyone their own reusable water bottle and their own travel mug with a top. This way I can buy the larger, less expensive per serving drinks, and pour a drink for whoever wants one. Bonus points, most places will discount your cup of joe if you bring your own cup. Filling your cooler doesn't need to be expensive, either. I fill up milk jugs that have been well cleaned with water, freeze, and use that as both my ice and a drink. I bring flavor sticks, and now some of those neat little liquid concentrates to add flavor to the water. I usually pack a few snacks, including fruit and baby carrots.


2. Thermos. I know I just mentioned discounted java, but you can also bring a big thermos filled with coffee or tea. I'm the only one that drinks coffee in my house, so I don't have to worry about various levels of sweetness or milk, but you can also bring some sweetener with you. If you use liquid sweetener, try reusing a baby food jar! You can also use a thermos for cold drinks, of course!

3. Emergency kit. There's nothing quite like a roadtrip to draw "Murphy" into your life. I keep 2, one for car related, and one for "personal" related emergencies. My car emergency kit stays in the car- jumper cables, a can of fix-a-flat, a jug of water, a quart of oil, and the liquid concentrate windshield washer fluid that I use. There's also a pack of baby wipes for quick cleanups, a small tool kit, and of course, the spare tire and everything I'd need to change it!

As far as for "personal" emergencies- in my world that means stuff that I'd be tempted or required to stop if I needed them. So, I have an old purse with deodorant, "lady products", tums, pain relief meds, chapstick, sunscreen, etc.

4. Plan your stops. Let's face it, you're going to have to stop on the road! I love using my smartphone to make this easier. I use the Gas Buddy App to find the cheapest gas, and search the Google Map app to find the nearest grocery store (almost always have public bathrooms, and if you feel like you "have" to buy something you can get fresh fruit), plus in phone navigation keeps me from getting too lost and reminds me which way the highway is...

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