If you live in a state as big as Texas, it’s not uncommon for you to discover new towns you’ve never heard of. Our state is home to a myriad of unique displays, quirky practices and amazing sights, making it the perfect state for a road trip.
If you’ve been meaning to see some of the less-traveled parts of our state, or have been itching to relive the more adventurous chapters of your youth, then a road trip might be in order. One of the most appealing parts of a road trip is that it doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, most road trips are high on adventure and low on costs.
To get you on your way, here is the essential checklist of everything you need for a budget-friendly road trip:
- Maps. In our digital world, GPS and smartphones have made it easier than ever to find your way. But bring a set of maps as well; after all, you might end up somewhere where you get a low signal.
- Tunes. You’re going to want to have plenty of singalong moments, so make sure you have an extensive selection of songs and albums to rotate through. You can do this for free by digitizing old CDs, checking music out from the library, or downloading a free music app to your smartphone. You might also want to load up your phone with podcasts or free audiobooks that you can also find from several smartphone apps or at your local library.
- Entertainment. Needless to say, you won’t always be in the car, and you can end up spending a lot of money on roadside attractions. To avoid these money pits, be sure you bring along a deck of cards, a favorite board game or a frisbee to toss around during pit stops. Take advantage of any free or inexpensive shows or other entertainment in the area to get a feel for the local culture without going over budget.
- Food. Eating at a greasy spoon for each meal is a sure way to bust your budget and your gut. Rather than rely on restaurants, pack your own food. Make room for a large cooler (be sure to have plenty of ice packs in there!) and leave space for a few grocery bags’ worth of essentials.
- In-car activities. For long days or nights in the car, be sure to have some entertainment for the passengers. These can include loading a tablet with movies or favorite shows, books or activity sets. Again, take advantage of your local library as a source for movies to rent for free.
- Essential emergency gear. Jumper cables, a carjack, road flares and a list of emergency numbers are all vital safety nets for a successful road trip. In addition, be sure your spare tire is in good shape. If you’re really going off the beaten path, bring a full-size spare. In addition, be sure you have some emergency cash in case you get into a bind.
- Personal belongings. Be sure that everyone has the clothes and toiletries they need. Due to the constraints of space, you may have to limit how much each person can bring! Some of the essentials include: sunglasses, sunscreen, personal toiletries, several changes of clothes, backup cash, any medications, and your cell phone and charger.
- Cleaning materials. Bring plenty of wet wipes and napkins to have on hand. In addition, a small bottle of detergent for laundromats and dish soap for post-picnic cleanup are a must.
- Bedding. One of the great parts of a road trip is pulling off on a secluded road and finding a quiet spot of earth to sleep. Not only is this an essential experience, it’s one of the best ways to drastically reduce costs. Be sure everyone packs a sleeping bag and pad. Even if you’re going to stay inside every night, bring a couple extra blankets just in case.
Once you cram all this stuff into your vehicle, the last thing you’ll need to add is a few good people. Company, after all, is the single most important ingredient to a road trip.