Last week, I shared three tips for saving money (and perhaps some sanity) while going on a road trip with toddlers. When you’re traveling with young kids, for any length of time, it’s important to keep both of these in check.
I am back again this week with three MORE tips for saving money while on a road trip this year.
Look for Coupons or City Passes
Two years ago, I knew we were going to be visiting Phoenix for my daughter’s first birthday. That gave me several months to search for Phoenix-based coupons. I would occasionally browse Groupon.com or Living Social.com’s Phoenix page for deals.
One deal I found was for discounted Phoenix city passes that allowed us to visit quite a few attractions for a huge savings. You can also look at your destination city’s newspaper’s website for any local deals or coupons happening the week you will be visiting.
Drive Smarter to Save on Gas
Once we cross the state line from California to Arizona, the cost of gas drops significantly. The six-hour drive we take is mostly desert, and the temperature can easily be over 105-degrees in the spring and summer. Traveling long distances in heat is miserable and costs more, since you’re blasting the air and your car is working a lot harder.
We plan to do the bulk of our driving in the cooler hours of the day. We also do not fill up for gas until we reach Arizona. Once we reach the state line, we only fill up a quarter of a tank, because gas an hour into Arizona is cheaper than the gas on the state line.
The GasBuddy app is a great one to help you determine where the best place to fill up on gas is.
Frugally Entertain Kids
I learned my lesson after giving my toddler my phone for one short car trip. She watched only two episodes of her favorite show, but that combined with me using Google maps put us over the data limit which cost a lot of extra fees.
Now, we just utilize the laptop as a DVD player and bring along movies for her. We have also used books, audiobooks, and kid music CDs from the library to pass the time. I find that changing the activity often helps her from getting too grumpy.
I also bring along easy-to-use car toys or activities that we already own, but make sure they are ones she hasn’t seen for a while to spark her interest.
For example, she loves her Magnadoodle, but I had stored it away about two months before the trip. This made it new and exciting again! This time around, I will likely bring Color Wonder products and our Melissa and Doug Water Wow Coloring Book.
Traveling With Toddlers
These are simple ideas but will make a huge difference when you’re trying to keep your toddlers entertained. That wraps up my top money saving-tips for embracing the open road with toddlers in tow. If your toddler is anything like mine, I also suggest sneaking in some protein powder in their meal before you leave.
My daughter is not the best eater and gets very emotional and grumpy when she has not had enough protein, so I try to avoid that problem by sneaking in some protein powder in a smoothie, oatmeal, or homemade pancakes.
What are your family’s summer travel plans? How do you plan to save money?