THAT CAR TRIP OR VACATION
With a little preparation,
you can save money, and stay safe.
By Notso Funny, SeniorARK Editor
1. Remember discounts and
Don't forget discounts. If you're a member of any
organization, such as AAA or AARP, ask about travel discounts.
Also, look for those statewide hotel and restaurant coupon
booklets that sit in piles at rest stops and tourist centers. The discounts can be significant.
2. Book motels before leaving home
Chances are you are not vacationing with
your computer (or are you?). Shopping through hotel discount
sites can save a pile of money. So do your homework before you
leave. If you can save by booking ahead, that is one less
thing to worry about along the way.
3. Stay with a friend
Route your trip so you can spend a night
or two with family or friends. Chances are, they will be happy
to see you, and this is a wonderful opportunity for a visit.
Ask about sights in the area, and make it a mini vacation
within a vacation.
4. Take a cooler with you
Travel with a cooler so you're not purchasing drinks and
snacks at every rest stop. Make some sandwiches in advance to
save at least on food for the first day.
5. Get creative saving on food
Sample local fare from a farmer's market and enjoy a picnic
dinner at a peaceful stop along the way. Also, when booking a
room for an extended stay, look for one with a kitchenette. It
is easy for a couple to spend more on eating out each day than
they spend for the room.
6. Buy those odds and ends before
Tourist spots sell everything from film to sunscreen, bottled
water and aspirin for prolonging your fun -- at a higher cost.
Purchase these items before you leave home and save. You know
where the best prices are at home. I take an extra quart of
oil and window washing liquid in the trunk. And don't forget
the roll of paper towels and the box of tissues. My mother
always said. "You can never have too many Kleenex".
7. Take some tools
We don't mean enough for a major project.
Just a couple screwdrivers, hammer pliers, and perhaps a small
ratchet wrench set. Avery small roll of wire for attaching
something always comes in handy. The kind florists use to
8. Take emergency equipment
Read our SeniorARK article:
"Things We All Need
To Carry in Our Cars in Case of Emergency"
9. Check out the car before leaving
An automobile tow or repair can be an
expensive proposition on a trip. If you cannot check your cars
fluids, tires, etc on your own, go to your friendly
neighborhood mechanic before leaving so your car can get the
10. Organize your packing
Read the MSNBC article on:
for your next road trip by making the most of your space
11. Map your route
Go online to a service like mapquest.com,
or Yahoo Maps and ask for a route plan. If you are a member of
AAA they will do a route for you, warn you about construction,
speed traps, and other obstacles. They may also have other
info on attractions along the way that will make the drive
12. Pack your favorite pillows.
They will add to your comfort on the road, and at your
13. Buy a disposable cell phone.
If you do not have a cell phone, go to Wal-Mart or some such
place and pick up a $20 cell phone for the trip. This is the
temporary answer to breaking down on a dark, lonely, road, or
needing some other type of immediate help.