With all the snow we have had this winter, it easy to start thinking about summer. Summer in Montana makes the cold, snowy winter worth it, right? Weekends at the lake or camping high up in the mountains, fly fishing on one of our amazing rivers, and even road-tripping across our beautiful state seem like a good idea. Planning a road trip is half of the fun, so how can you save for a road trip with a limited budget? Well, buckle up because we have some great tips for you to use when planning your summer road trip.
Create Your Budget
Your first step is creating your budget. A budget will lead the way to where you can go and what you can do on your road trip. Figure out how much you can save every paycheck and then figure out how many paychecks you will receive between now and that epic escape. What is the total dollar amount you will accumulate by then?
Do Your Research
Research is another key element when planning a road trip, and now that you have your budget, find out how much everything will cost. You should research the attractions, average fuel costs, hotel and campsite pricing, restaurants in the areas you want to visit, being as detailed as you can, so you don't bust your budget. Your research will give you an idea of how to use your budget best and not overspend.
While creating your budget above, you've figured out how much you could save from each paycheck. Now it's time to put it away for safekeeping. Set up a separate savings account and have the funds automatically transferred on payday. This way, you won't be tempted to spend it in the interim. Just think of it like your 401k, out of sight and out of mind. Generally speaking, in the saving world, if you can automate it and not see it every day, it is easier to save.
Make Your Plan
Finally getting to sit down and make your plan is the fun part, right? You will want to know where you are going to stop, stay, eat, and play for the entirety of your road trip. The more planning you do ahead of time, the less likely you will overspend. US News and World Report have an excellent article for budgeting on a road trip. They even break down how you can save on fuel — all something to include in your plan to maximize your fun.
While planning everything down to the last penny may seem like a good idea, it is important to stay flexible while traveling. As Lifehacker shares with us on their road trip blog, the perfect road trip is one where you make memories, so don't worry about sticking to the plan EXACTLY. A calculated plan is a great place to start to keep you on your budget, but it should be a moving target as there are some things you may want to experience while on the road that you did not plan for.
These are our tips on planning for the perfect summer road trip. We would love to know what trips you have planned!
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- Things to Do This Winter in the Gallatin Valley
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