Another frugal road trip

road tripAfter our harrowing experience in Washington D.C. last week, we’re both a little nervous to get back on the road. But we’re heading up north to see our families for the next week!

Tony starts school again week after next, so this is our last chance to make a trip to see family until Christmas. We’ve already decided to stay home for the holidays this year since we’ll be saving money and vacation time for Europe, so we want to spend some time with family now.

Here’s how we’re planning ahead to make it healthy, frugal, and stress-free:


We made these plans (and saved the money) months ago. We budgeted and set aside $150 for gas, and it shouldn’t cost much more than that. We’re bringing the dog, staying with family, packing food for the road, and making the trip in one day instead of stopping overnight and spending money on a hotel room. Snacks and meals for the trip are covered by this week’s grocery budget. This should truly be a frugal vacation.


I’m putting some extra time in at the gym this week to make up for extra calories I’ll most likely ingest at home. We’ve made a vow to avoid fast food at all costs on the road. It’s a particularly bad idea when we’re traveling with the dog, because we have to eat in the car. Fast food makes it stink for weeks. Yuck. It also makes us feel horrible to eat fattening food, and then sit still in a long car ride.

Our grocery store deli makes delicious footlong subs out of premium deli meat and bread for only $4. We’ll pick one up on our way out of town on Friday, put it in a cooler, and eat it for lunch. For the drive back to North Carolina next week, we’ll probably stop at Subway for a $5 footlong.

We’ll be taking Howie out running every morning before it gets too hot to let him burn off some energy and burn some calories ourselves. Hopefully that will keep me from getting too out of shape before I return to the gym next Monday.

With cookouts and restaurant meals with family, I can’t guarantee I’ll make the best choices, but I’m determined not to let one vacation throw off all of my success so far.


Last month we took money out of our car savings to replace our tires and change the oil, so our car is all set for another road trip. We just renewed our AAA membership for the year in May, so we have access to roadside assistance and towing on the off chance that something goes wrong.

As always when we travel with Howie, we’ll be stopping every 2-3 hours to let him stretch his legs and pee. We’ll also bring a gallon jug of water and his water dish so he can stay hydrated. He’ll most likely sleep through the trip, but since it’s a 12-hour drive, we usually offer him water every time we stop to make sure he doesn’t get dehydrated.

We’ve put a lot of planning into this trip, so hopefully it will be more fun and less fiasco than last weekend!

Did you go on a frugal vacation this summer? Where did you go, and how did you save money?

Photo credit: pleeker

4 thoughts on “Another frugal road trip

  1. Jill

    We just made a similar long trip, but it still feels like it cost a fortune. Drove from CT to KY and then back. We brought water for our dogs, snacks and drinks for the road, and also drove it in one day. Unfortunately I have to make the same trip again in a couple weeks, by myself, and I’ll have to stop overnight. I just can’t do the 15 hrs on my own…bleck.
    .-= Jill´s last blog ..2 for 2 on Level 2 =-.

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