Guest Post: Budgeting Your Days…and Dollars

One of the biggest aspects of a vacation is planning an appropriate budget – both for time and money. A driving excursion is no exception. Fortunately, there are many new tools available which help you figure out your finances and strategically plan your stops. You also need to take actions which ensure a smooth trip. When you want to make the most of your day and dollars out on the road follow some or all of these tips.

A vacation is the perfect time to make memories with your family. Any time of year is the ideal time to go as long as each person in the family has time off from pressing chores or jobs. Then you want to make the most of every day on the road. In order to do that, you can implement some of these ideas to make it simple. Technology has advanced to such a degree that it makes every day travel easy and convenient. A general economical vacation is a good way to approach your time off. For instance, renting an RV motorhome can avoid the expense of motels and hotels, as well as give you the chance to cook simple-to-fix meals for yourself and your family rather than eating out all the time.

If you get an RV from a rental company, you will have 24/7 support and you won’t have to worry about breakdowns as the company will have your back. If taking your own car, you will want to ensure the vehicle is mechanically safe and all the fluids are at the correct levels. Take your car in and have them look it over at the shop just to be sure. It’s a small price to pay for safety.

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No matter how you travel, however, you should start out the planning process by deciding on a vacation destination that you can afford. There are some attractions that can be expensive and some can actually be free or close to it. It all depends on how much you’ve allotted to your vacation budget. Figuring this out first is priority. Then map your route, because you are going to get some smartphone apps that will help you make the most of the “getting there.”

As you decide upon your route to your destination, you can plan on the stops along the way. This will include scenic overlooks, campgrounds or hotels, places to eat, inexpensive gas and many spots of interest. Paper maps are a hassle and even smartphone GPSs don’t work where there is no signal. You can get the City Maps 2Go app and you’ll have access to thousands of maps, even when your phone doesn’t have a signal.

Now when you are searching for places to eat and you are hankering for one particular dish, find it with the YP Local Search & Gas Prices if you have an iPad. It will show inexpensive gas stations in the area as well, but even better is Gas Buddy. This app will locate the closest gas stations and updated prices. Track with the cost of your trip mile by mile with the Fuel Monitor app.

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Another app called AroundMe is a good app to have to find a restaurant or a parking lot or movie theater. With the Free Wi-Fi Finder, you will be able to locate Internet hotspots as you travel. This makes it simple to stay connected at all times and browse all your favorite sites.

Knowing what the local weather is going to be like for the places you visit is important so you know if you are going to be able to get to the beach or into the forest for hiking. Get the Weather Channel app downloaded and use it while away from home. Using it before you leave will tell you what sort of things you need to pack.

Of course, saving money on vacation isn’t all about using smartphone apps. Common sense works too. For instance, taking along healthy snacks is a great way to keep everyone happy and avoid huge food bills after hunger builds on a long drive. Easy-to-fix meals are a real treat in an RV, or you can store some good food in a cooler in your car.

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Preparing for your trip properly and taking advantage of all the smartphone apps available will make your vacation a real vacation and not just something additional to worry and stress about. Get a well-deserved break from all that with a well-planned and budgeted vacation!

About the Author: Joe Laing is the Marketing Director for El Monte RV, a nationwide RV rental company. El Monte RV also sells used motorhomes through eight different locations across the United States.

5 thoughts on “Guest Post: Budgeting Your Days…and Dollars

  1. Hiring an RV looks like so much fun, and this was a great post summarising the smartphone apps out there. Something you should plan to do though is not plan TOO much, so you still get to explore and discover things off the beaten track. That image of Monument Valley is stunning! One of the best views in America, I would say.

      • Yep, that’s right! I’m having a similar struggle convincing my husband… I think there’s something so exciting about a house on wheels but he’s yet to see it.

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