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Affordable Family Road Trips (+Safety Tips)

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When planning a road trip and ensuring you have everything you need to make the journey safe for your kids, don’t forget about making the trip safe, too. While having your kids’ eyes glued to screens may help you keep your eyes glued to the road, you don’t want them to miss out on enjoying the journey. 

Distracted driving statistics demonstrate the danger of driving without focusing on the road, so we’ll share tips to improve your focus and safety while driving. In addition, we’ll give you tips for saving money and enjoying the trip.

Money-Saving Road Trip Tips

BP gas station at night

There are several ways to have fun while traveling and stay within budget.

Save on Fuel

There are a couple of different ways to save on fuel. First, you can reduce your consumption, and second, you can reduce your cost per gallon.

To increase fuel economy, make sure your tires are inflated to manufacturer guidelines. Underinflated tires could use up to 3% more fuel than properly inflated tires. Plus, tires wear faster when they’re low.

If you want to find the lowest-price fuel, one way to do that quickly is to search for the cheapest gas stations along your route. You should also consider downloading fuel savings apps for money back on every fuel purchase.

Visit State Parks

Some states have free state parks, while in others, you need to purchase a state park pass good for all parks or a pass for each park. But, even if you have to pay to visit the parks, they’re often the best bang for your buck. 

For example, Custer State Park in South Dakota is home to some of the country’s best hiking and wildlife viewing and only costs $20 per vehicle.

In Minnesota, you can purchase a state park pass good for a year and have access to all its state parks. From prairies to woodlands to waterfalls, you can enjoy what each area offers.

Helping Kids Enjoy Traveling

Road trips don’t have to be a necessary evil to endure. Instead, they can be one of the best parts of your trip.

Play Games

The old-school road trip games are just as fun now as they were 20 years ago. For example, you can try to find license plates from all 50 states, find every letter from the alphabet on road signs, and play road trip BINGO.

Share Tidbits About the Route

Before you travel, research the route, its history, and facts. That way, when you cross the Continental Divide, you can talk about it. And when you pass a sign for “Buffalo Jump,” you can share the history and how it got its name.

Pack a Variety of Snacks

Sweet, salty, crunchy, and soft snacks can help you and your kids stay satisfied and happy. But when you’re packing snacks, consider how messy they could be. For example, sliced apples are pretty low risk for a mess, but chocolate frosted donuts are almost guaranteed to leave you a mess to clean up.

Take in the Sights

Don’t let getting to your destination make you miss out on the sights along the way. If you stop for meals, consider trying foods that are unique to the area that some might even consider weird foods

Staying Safe While Driving

There are several ways you can improve safety on the road.

Avoid Distracted Driving on Your Road Trip

As tempting as it is to look at your phone while you’re driving, especially as the hours drag on, you have to resist the temptation. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of crashes. It’s just not worth it.

Maintain Your Vehicle to Prepare for Your Trip

Before you travel, have your vehicle checked out to ensure your brakes are in good condition and you don’t have any other things to fix that could give you problems during your journey. 

Drive Defensively for Road Trip Safety

After driving for a while, it’s easy to zone out. You may need to frequently remind yourself to survey your surroundings so you can anticipate potential hazards or actions of other drivers.

Update Your Insurance Policy for Road Trip Protection

Remember that you need comprehensive and collision coverages to protect you against financial losses from damage to your vehicle. Make sure your deductible is set to something you can afford. And consider purchasing roadside assistance before a road trip so you’ll have coverage for many situations that could leave you stranded.

Road trips can be fun for the whole family, and you’ll make memories you can talk about for years to come. You can maximize your adventure and preserve your mental health with a little preparation and taking advantage of what the road offers.

Melanie Musson writes and researches for the car insurance comparison site, CarInsurance.org. She’s passionate about helping people understand their insurance needs and how an appropriate policy can be affordable and provide financial protection.

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