Frugal (and other) thoughts from the road
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Mrs. Stew, the brood and I are on the road this week. In fact, by this time next week, I personally will have driven 3,500 miles in the previous ten days. I have doing a lot of thinking about frugal travel.
In short: frugal travel is pretty much impossible, however here are a few thoughts:
If you have a major road trip, there is no substitute for packing a few grocery store-bought snacks. Grocery stores are significantly less expensive than gas stations and convenience stores. My favorite snacks for the small cooler in the mini-van are: carrot sticks in water (or baby carrots), string cheese, Triscuits, licorice bites and Diet Pepsi.
The right snacks can save you a lot of money on the road and a little forethought might prevent you from having to go out to eat while traveling. Going out to eat and trying to limit spending means only one thing: fast food. I used to love fast food, but after this much traveling, the idea no longer interests me in the least.
I will pay extra for food if I know that a particular store has clean restrooms. We have a six year old girl, a seven year old girl and a three year old boy who has recently been potty trained. There is nothing worse than a filthy restroom under those circumstances and given the ages of our children, we do not have much choice but to use whatever is available.
We do not have a GPS reciever, but if clean restrooms were marked via satellite, we would have a one.
Even without the ability to locate clean restrooms, GPS can help you save money on the road. The key to efficient travel is to limit the number of times you have to stop. The key to stopping less often is to get everything done in one stop. The worst thing that you can do is to stop for a meal and then have to stop for gas an hour later. Knowing how far Starbucks and Exon/Mobil are from the highway and from each other can help you save time and gas.
Other valuable tidbits of knowledge that a GPS navigator can include: malls with play areas for children, rest areas with open space, Targets, hotel information, restaurants that match your coupons.
I might start to sound like an OCD clean freek here, but the amout of bacteria that one comes in contact with on the road is really starting to frighten me. Heavy summer travel and warm weather puts germs everywhere. It is to the point where I do not want my children to wear flip-flops in the restroom or eat off tables in restraunts. The best I can do is to continually wipe down tables, door handles, airplane seat trays, feet, hands, faces with anti-bacterial wet wipes.
Put a package in the car, you will be glad that you did.
Article by Stew
Photo by viagallery.com