Road trips can still be affordable

Jessica Stewart, Columnist

I absolutely love taking road trips.

Ever since I was little, I’ve always gone on road trips with my grandparents, and I fell in love with traveling that way. You get to see so much more country while driving.

The best road trip I’ve ever been on was with my boyfriend last summer.

We drove from Charleston to Sierra Vista, Arizona, then to the Grand Canyon, then to Denver, Colorado, and then home. Along the way, we stopped at so many incredible places and saw so many things.

We also made the trip extremely affordable.

Come the first week of July, we’re leaving for another road trip. This time, we’re going to Yellowstone National Park, Seattle, Yosemite, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and Denver.

We’re expecting this to be our best road trip yet, and we plan to make it affordable as well.

There are a few things I recommend you try to make sure your road trip doesn’t break the bank.

Sleep in your car.

The biggest expense on a trip is lodging, so by sleeping in your car, you cut out a lot of costs. It’s also very easy to find places to sleep for free.

For example, travel stops like Love’s and Flying J almost always allow cars to park there overnight since they’re open 24 hours.

These are also good places to stop because they usually have showers that you can rent for about $10, and they’re pretty nice showers.

If you don’t feel comfortable sleeping at travel stops, you can also sleep at free campsites all over the country.

The Free Campsites website shows places marked by actual people where they have slept, and you can filter the search to only show you free sites.

Bring a cooler and shop for groceries before you leave.

Instead of stopping at McDonald’s and spending $20 total for two people to eat, pack sandwich materials and drinks of your choice; the person who isn’t driving can make lunch.

You can also regroup at a travel stop early in the trip and stock up on free napkins, silverware, makeshift plates, mayo, peanut butter packets and jelly packets.

Budget your gas expenses.

There’s also an app called GasBuddy that shows you updated gas prices using your location.

This is a great way to budget how much you spend on gas, because you could figure out where to stop to make sure you spend the least amount of money.

Making a road trip affordable is easy, and road trips are the best way to travel. You get to decide where you stop, and you can take detours to see cool things you find along the way. I cannot wait for this next road trip.

Jessica Stewart is a junior English major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].