This is a guest post from our friend Charlie Conley.
Love to travel but are on a very tight budget? Consider a fiscally responsible road trip within 200 miles of your home. By limiting your miles, you also limit the wear and tear on your vehicle. Breakdowns can be very costly.
Buy in bulk – stock up prior to your trip so that you are self sustainable while on the road. Don’t be going to fancy markets like Whole Foods and loading up on groceries. Rather purchase canned food at places like Grocery Outlet or the Dollar Store. Snacks and non perishables will last you the duration of your trip. Depending on where you live, urban foraging is a great way to stock up on fresh fruits and veggies – things like apples, persimmons, guavas and even acorns are often found in the wild and with a bit of knowledge and preparation can all be used as food supplies for a road trip.
Gas is a big cost – drive 55mph, but not more then 60mph to help conserve fuel. Invest in a gas can and fill it up with extra fuel when you find a cheap gas station.
Don’t be paying for coffee while on the road – that is an over priced luxury that you just don’t need when on a strict budget.
And don’t pay for any lodging whatsoever. Avoid campgrounds if at all possible as they charge money to stay there. Rather find bureau of land management land (BLM land, not the black lives matter acronym) and either camp using a tent or sleep in your car. Cars that are good for sleeping in are ones where the back seats fold out flat like a Subaru Outback. In the absence of BLM land find as secluded a spot as possible and park your car there – avoid parking next to highways or well traveled roads – avoid any sort of residential area. When deciding on a campsite for the evening – avoid people at all cost.
Use gas stations to offload your garbage – and use their restrooms to clean up. No sense in paying for showers when you can use paper towels to wash your body in restrooms on the go. Avoid using porta-potties for cleaning one’s body – as often there is no running water in these (other then fancy smancy porta potties, but road trippers will rarely find these). Parks are also good spaces to find restrooms with running water.
It can sometimes be a challenge to road trip on a bare bones budget, but in return, one gets to enjoy the freedom of being on the road and untethered to a conventional life.