A road trip can be an exciting way to vacation. You can travel at your own pace and see incredible sights. Plus, you can save some money by not having to buy plane tickets. But if you’re planning an epic road trip adventure, ensure you don’t forget to budget for costs that could creep up along the way. These extra expenses could quickly deplete your trip funds if you don’t factor them into your vacation budget. But have no fear, I’ll help to prepare you. Here are a few expenses to include in your road trip budget so you don’t feel financial stress.
1. Resort fees
Unfortunately, resort fees (sometimes called destination fees) are becoming more common. These fees are charged in addition to the nightly hotel rate, regardless of whether you use the benefits, like the hotel’s fitness center. In a major city like New York City, these fees can cost $35 or more and are billed daily. That could be an expensive surprise if you don’t plan ahead.
Thanks to a recent crackdown on junk fees, some hotel brands have become more transparent about these fees, so travelers are aware. But it’s still beneficial to review additional fees like this before you book a hotel stay for your next road trip.
Most people know to set aside money in their high-yield savings account before a road trip to cover gasoline costs. But another forgotten expense you may neglect to save for is road and bridge tolls. Luckily, you can plan your route and estimate toll costs to prepare with mobile apps like Google Maps. If money is tight, you may be able to take an alternate toll-free route.
3. Parking fees
On-site parking fees are another travel cost that may creep up on you. Even if you have no plans to use additional services like valet parking, your hotel may charge you a nightly fee to park your car in their parking lot or garage. Review these fees before you depart for your trip to avoid harming your personal finances. If the rates are too high for your budget, check if nearby lots or garages may allow you to park your vehicle in a safe spot for a cheaper price.
4. Roadtrip snacks
I can’t be the only one who requires quality snacks while on a road trip. If you have the same mindset as me, food and drink costs can make your vacation more expensive. You can plan by setting aside money for these costs. If you’re aiming for an affordable trip, packing a cooler with food and drinks is the way to go. You can stop and get more ice along the way.
5. House and pet-sitting costs
Unless you bring your furry friend along for the ride (with my cat, that would be a nightmare), you’ll want to save up for pet-sitting costs. Dog boarding fees can be sky-high — according to a Rover survey, you could be looking at $45 to $315 for boarding costs, depending on the type of establishment and how long you’ll be away. You might hire a pet sitter to come to your home instead, as this will likely be cheaper. For those without pets, paying someone to check in on your home and grab the mail is another cost that could make your trip more expensive.
Plan for a stress-free vacation
Considering extra road trip expenses like this well before you leave is wise. You want to allow yourself enough time to save for your trip, so you don’t feel financial strain during your travels.
If you’re driving a good distance, it’s also not a bad idea to consider investing in roadside assistance coverage so you can get emergency help if needed. An AAA membership includes many perks, like roadside assistance and travel and insurance discounts.
AAA membership prices vary by location, plan chosen, and number of drivers with coverage, but you can expect to pay at least $50 per year for a base-level membership. The highest-tier membership will likely cost you between $100 and $150.
As you plan for your next adventure, consider paying for your travel purchases using a travel credit card. This way, you’ll earn rewards on your spending. Review our list of the best travel rewards credit cards to learn more about the top features of these credit cards.
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