It’s easy to overspend on vacation. Fortunately, a little pre-trip planning can save you money and stress. In this article, Say Insurance will explain how to create a simple road trip budget, plus how to stick to it even when the urge to splurge threatens to derail all your carefully crafted plans. Road trips are meant to be fun. Here’s how to ensure yours is a blast!
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This is a republication of a post I wrote in 2019…all the info still applies today! Safe and happy travels…
We’ve spent many summers traveling from CA to Seattle to visit family and go to summer camp. Generally, we traveled in the car sometimes by plane.
The car was longer but overall easier. Especially when we first got
Pebble (our service dog), she was not trained or ready for the plane. Eventually,
we did train her for going on the plane which made air travel less stressful.
Planning for a road trip
In preparation for our road trips, I planned at least a week in
advance for the 3 days in the car. I’d find the best places to stop, take
breaks, eat and sleep. Taking these pre-trip steps proved very important to how
the trip would go for all of us.
The trip to Seattle was 20 hours from our home in California. We
planned between 6-7 hours per day on the road, giving us plenty of opportunity
to take breaks, rest and eat. Knowing the amount of time we wanted to spend on
the road each day, I could then focus on a plan which included:
to stop for breaks. The quickest and easiest were rest stops along the
freeway. Pebble our dog got to get out,
Maci and I did as well. We had water, snack and stretch time. I planned we’d be
back on the road in 20 min.
to eat. I generally packed food for all of us and water. I like to look up
parks along our route so we could picnic. A park stop gave everyone fresh air,
a chance to run around for a bit and having a homemade lunch guaranteed we had
gluten free and healthy options.
great driving-break options. I think it is nice when stopping for gas or other
breaks making time to grab a treat, coffee and/or additional snack. Starbucks, Chipotle and even McDonalds have good healthy
to stay. Hugely important! Traveling with Pebble, we had to have places that
accepted dogs. I also like to get places that offer suites. Homewood Suites, Hilton and Marriott have been great
options. We can then get settled into our room and not have to leave again to
go out for dinner. I generally plan on
bringing something for dinner with us to make in the room.
Preparing for the road trip I like to do the following;
a food list of snacks, lunches and dinner.
help Maci have a lot of options for things to do in the car. We like to go to Target for fun ideas. Their
$1.00 section usually has some fun toys etc. I have not tried the Dollar Store
but imagine it would have great options as well. I pack 1 bag just for her
important – I create a social
story book/journal of our trip – a guide for what is going to happen – and
give it to Maci before we leave. It is the best the most fantastic way to
lessen any anxiety, uncertainty and fear for the upcoming trip.
I started making a social story about our trips after I shared
how horrible a trip to the beach one afternoon had gone to our occupational
therapist. She shared with me the idea of making a social story and showed me
her ideas. I started doing the social stories for little outings, going to the
grocery store, getting haircuts, etc. It
was wonderful. I decided I would try it
for our trips and traveling.
Ideas for creating a social story:
chronologically of the entire trip what is going to happen. I started with
packing a few days before the trip. Maci
would see me laying out clothes, the suitcases and preparing. She would start to know we were doing
something and didn’t know what. It would
trigger her anxiety and meltdowns.
anything else, creating the social story book from the very beginning helped
her to see, understand and know what was going to happen.
had pictures of every step, packing, suitcases, our car, picnic places, rest
stops, gas stations, snacks, food, toys, hotels, beds, anything I thought
should be included. I even had a clock
in the book to help understand how long each day in the car would be.
map showing the road trip staring at our home and where each day we would be driving.
time we stayed with friends so I showed pictures of their family, the kids,
dogs and their house.
we did start to travel in the airplane, I created social stories of going to
the airport, checking in, going through security, waiting for the plane,
finding our seats, sitting in our seats, seatbelts, tray table, airline food
and snacks and getting our rental car.
I give Maci the book a few days prior to our trip. We talk and
go through it together. She loves to
read it with me, look at all the pictures and talk about it. Over the days
prior to our trip, I often see her pull out her book and look though it on her
own. It has been a life saver for us.
We recently took a trip to New Jersey, Maci’s longest plane trip;
all day of traveling and time changes. We had to get up at 4:00 in the morning
to get to the airport and we did not get into our hotel room in New Jersey
until 7:00pm, a very LONG day.
Maci did a fantastic job. The trip was long but it went
smoothly. She had her social story book with her the entire time.
I hope some of these strategies and tips for your summer travel help you have an easy, stress free and enjoyable trip wherever you may be traveling.
Marikay Cuthill is mother of Maci, a vibrant, curious 15-year-old on the Autism Spectrum, and the founder of Maci And Pebble, a community dedicated to helping people navigate autism by finding answers, direction and peace of mind. Learn more at www.maciandpebble.com