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Travel Hacks: Road-tripping for less on spring break.

Do you have plans to take a road trip this spring break? Whether it’s you and the kids, just the two of you or you on your own, we’ve got tips to save money on the way.

The open road is calling! And here’s the good news: You can have your epic vacation without breaking the budget. Here are seven ways to road-trip for less. 

1. Establish a budget.

Like any vacation, a road trip needs a budget. This should include expenses like fuel, accommodations, food, and activities. Leave some room for unexpected costs that may crop up but set a fixed amount for each of your planned expenses to help keep your spending in check. 

2. Optimize your route.

Plot your destinations in advance, consider the most efficient routes and try to minimize backtracking and/or unnecessary detours. Online mapping tools and navigation apps, like Google Maps, can be super-helpful when planning a cost-effective route.

3. Save on fuel. 

If you have options, choose a vehicle that is fuel-efficient for your road trip, such as a smaller car or hybrid. Next, download a gas app to find the cheapest fuel along your route. It’s also a good idea to ensure your vehicle is in proper condition before your trip to improve its fuel efficiency. Finally, consider traveling during off-peak times to avoid paying a premium for gas.

4. Consider purchasing a National or State Park pass.

It may be worthwhile to buy a National Park pass, which will grant access to all 63 national parks, as well as some additional recreation areas. If you’re heading south, there are many Indiana State Parks you could visit along the way. Turkey Run State Park and Brown County State Park are two of the most beloved parks in Indiana.

5. Bring your own food.

Save on food costs by packing smart. A portable grill or camping stove can be sufficient for prepping your meals on the go. Bring some bread, a few proteins and cheeses, fruits, veggies, and lots of drinks. The more you bring from home, the more you’ll save.

6. Look for free attractions.

Don’t pay for an outing if you haven’t first looked for something free to do nearby. Search through community websites to find free attractions you may have missed or ask a local to help you out. If you’re traveling around Indiana in the springtime, some Hoosier-favorites include:
•    Spring festivals
•    Outdoor movie nights
•    Community picnics and barbeques
•    Nature walks and guided hikes

And, if you’re searching for the best places to (safely) watch the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, Visit Indiana provides detailed countdown timers, a map with key spots to see the eclipse, and other great resources. If you’re crossing Indianapolis on the way to your destination, White River State Park is another fantastic place to visit.

7. Stay with family and friends.

If you have relatives and friends living far from your hometown, ask about staying in their homes during your trip. You can plan your route around these locations, and you’ll enjoy a comfortable, cost-free stay. When your guests take their own road trip someday, you can return the favor. 

A budget-friendly road trip this spring break is entirely within reach with the right planning and tips. By following these easy steps, you can enjoy an unforgettable adventure without overspending. Keep in mind, the real value of a road trip doesn't come from the money you spend but from the incredible experiences you collect, and the lasting memories you make along the way.

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All information presented on this page is for educational purposes only and doesn’t constitute tax, legal, or accounting advice. It is to be considered as general information, not recommendations. Please consult with an attorney or tax professional for guidance.
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