How to break away without breaking the bank

IMG_2754Summer vacation is fast approaching and with that comes road trips, vacations, and time spent with family and friends. Planning for a road trip begins with a point A and point B, with lodging, money, food, a concrete schedule, and occasional pit stops are an afterthought.

“Remember it is the journey, not the destination,” Theology teacher Teresa Davis said.

Here are some useful tips while you’re on your next road trip. They require some planning, but they won’t break the bank and still include the freedoms of a road trip.

Budget money on a day to day basis.

The best idea is to plan how much money you should spend per day on gas, food, and other essentials. Limiting unnecessary spending along with pre-planning meals and gas use can allow for a better use of money versus budgeting by the total amount. Instead of fast food, pack peanut butter and jelly for a cheap easy lunch during a rest stop.

Keep a paper map handy

The purpose in bringing a paper map is to break away from electronics and their potential problems. GPS capabilities and internet are great, but the use of electronics may not always be reliable. Batteries die and sometimes a GPS will give incorrect directions. Having a paper map can be an easy way to plan out the route you are taking, and can also be a backup plan if your electronics go awry. Travel agencies like AAA and stores like Walmart, Target, and Kroger carry paper maps in the travel aisles for an inexpensive price.

Be aware of weather patterns.

Cincinnatians know weather patterns can be unpredictable. Much like Cincinnati, places around the world have weather patterns all their own. While stressing about weather too much takes away from the road trip, it is still important to pay attention to severe weather in order to stay safe while traveling on the road. It is always a good idea to have another plan in mind, in case the weather becomes severe so you are not caught in the middle of a storm without a place to go.

In 1970, Alumni Director Shawn Young went to Florida in the back of a station wagon, but left early because of severe weather approaching.

“Tip: Don’t drive in a hurricane!  I have also driven through a sandstorm in Texas. That was crazy as well,” Young said.

Bring guidebooks

While they are not always the most popular item to bring on a road trip, they, besides a map, can be the most important. Guidebooks are a useful tool for lodging, attractions, food sources and maps as well. AAA has a wide range of online and printable guidebooks along with in-store guidebooks and travel planners, which can also be found at TripItWalmart and Target.

Set up lodging ahead of time

For traveling high school students, finding lodging is more difficult than it seems. Because of this, it is important to research where to sleep ahead of time.  Another option is sleeping in a tent on a designated camp ground. Lodging and camping tips are another useful tool when finding a place to rest.  This can offer a wide range of experiences along with a cheaper way to sleep.

Get to know the area. Go to a restaurant and sit down and talk with the locals.

Tourist spots are a simple way to find out about a destination while also providing food and other attractions. However, it is the places that are considered “off the beaten path” that can allow for a more meaningful and eventful road trip. Getting to know the people in the towns and places you stop can also lead you to stories you won’t find at the typical tourist spot.

“Everyone has a fascinating story. If you put yourself out there and make contact with people, you never know what new ideas and perspectives you’ll hear,” Spanish teacher Kyle Jepson said.

“There is no better way to see the country than road trips, but my advice is to plan ahead as much as you can. Do some ‘tourist’ things, but also seek off the beaten path places to have the best experiences!” PE teacher Cheryl Heise said.

What are some successful road trips?

Jepson recalls a time when he backpacked through Europe and stated how it was important lodging and a little bit of research ahead of time helped him experience the town much more than if he had not. Jepson also read some travel blogs to find out about little off-beat things to do that were unique to that town.

English teacher Julie Muething and Social Studies teacher Michelle Semancik went on a road trip last summer that started on Monday, June 9, 2014. The two traveled from Wyoming and back, stopping at the Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Wind Cave, Yellowstone, and the Grand Tetons. Each day the trip was documented on their blog, Not All Who Wander Are Lost including the number of miles and how many states traveled. Semancik plans to travel to Australia this coming summer.





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