One of the biggest expenses when it comes to a weekend away or a day trip with the kids isn’t the gas, it isn’t the tickets – it’s the food while we’re on the road. Stopping to gas up the car can easily mean that you’re going to come out of the convenience store with $25 worth of prepared food and snacks, if you hadn’t thought about it beforehand.
Use these tips to save money on your next road trip:
Portion at Home
Portioning snacks at-home into smaller bags is a manageable way to hand out snacks in the car, give the kids control over the snacks their choosing and save money. Buying a large bags of chips, nuts, pretzels or the like at Costco and portioning it into snack size bags can give you five times more food, at a fraction of the price.
Mix it Up
Check the local bulk section, or the bulk store (use the printable coupons) and choose a few snacks. Use these snacks to create salt, sweet or combination salty and sweet snacks portioned for the road. Creating snacks like make-it-yourself trail mix gets the kids involved and won’t leave you broke shopping for snacks at the convenience store on the way out of town.
Watch the Sales
Watch the sales in-store for things that you buy for trips anyway. Recently, Save on Foods had Gatorade on sale for $1/1L size. This is something that we do go through a lot of on road trips and so buying a dozen and stashing them away means that we’re not going to pay the $3-4 when it comes time to get on the road or go for a day trip with the kids. Stashed away in the bottom of the pantry, it’s easy storage too.
Juice boxes, bottled water and other drinks purchased in bulk are a great way to save on the costs of take-out and other meals that are grabbed for the road. Bringing your own means shaving at least a few dollars off of every meal that’s grabbed along the way and leaves more room in the vacation budget for the fun stuff.
Don’t Tempt Yourself
Getting gas? Pay at the pump to save time and reduce the temptation of grabbing a few snacks while you’re inside. Stopping for a bathroom break? Choose rest stops where the kids aren’t going to have to go through aisles of candy, sweets and overpriced activities to keep them busy while they’re in the car. Sure, the same snacks might be in the car – but good luck explaining that to a three year old that wants the bright shiny package. Avoid the road trip drama, save money, and shop smart.