Take a Road TripNo matter how high gas gets, it’s still cheaper to drive. Driving your own car to your destination does take longer but will save you a lot of cash. Cutting out airline tickets, and rental cars can save thousands of dollars not to mention giving you the freedom to stay where you want and travel on your timetable not the airline’s.GasDon’t just fill up your car and plan on refilling when you get close to empty. Stopping more frequently can save money by finding the best prices and taking advantage of them. Use internet sites like GasBuddy.com to seek out the best bargains on your route. A steady foot on the gas will give the best gas mileage, so avoid heavy acceleration.Remember to not exceed posted speed limits, which vary from state to state, by more than 10%. Most police and highway patrol will give you that leeway to account for speedometer discrepancies. A speeding ticket can really put a damper on your expenses.FoodAside from gas and lodging this will be your biggest expense, especially if you have a car full of kids. Before leaving on your trip, pack as much food as you can depending on the length of your trip. Stopping for fast food is the most expensive and unhealthy meal possible. I don’t use freezer packs, I freeze a lot of small plastic bottles of water which I use to keep perishables fresh, as well, these frozen bottles in a cooler bag, defrost slowly so there is always some cold water on the drive.If properly frozen, a dozen or so small bottles of water in a good insulated cooler will stay frozen for 2 days. Bring along packets of your family’s favorite powdered drink, like Kool Aid or sugar free no calorie Crystal Lite. These are easily poured into the bottles of water and slake your kids desire for pop. Fresh veggies like carrots and celery replace the need for snack stops. Tofu based dips keep well in cooler bags.Bread, peanut butter, bagged snacks and even canned goods like tuna ( don’t forget the can opener ) are very easy to prep and keep well in a cooler. Deli meats on the other hand are high in salt and can go bad easily. For trips lasting more than 1 day I don’t recommend deli meats, the salt only serves to retain water causing more bathroom stops along the way.For every dollar in food you pack yourself, you save 3 dollars on junk you would buy on the road. You would be surprised how much money and time you can save by bringing along healthy food.Hotels / MotelsLodging can be the most expensive part of the trip if not researched properly. Thanks to the internet, you can plan where you want to stay and reserve ahead of time. Reserving your room ahead of time, even as far as a few months, can save you money. Most major hotel chains offer promotion codes, they don’t tell you that on their web sites, you have to search the web for these codes. Promo codes can save you a fair amount of money so take the time to search the coupon sites.I like to pick hotels with locations not more than a mile off my route, but not right on the highway. That way I can get a good night sleep without the drone of traffic disturbing me. If you have experience with a specific chain of hotels, don’t take for granted that they are all alike. You might have had a great stay in one location, but have a horrible stay in another.I have found, over time, that all hotels are pretty much the same. The rooms are never as clean as you would like. The beds, pillows and especially the blankets and bedspreads are filthy so I don’t let that factor into my choice. To alleviate the stress of sketchy bedding, allergens and bedbugs, I pack a few travel sheets, that way I know my family are sleeping on clean sheets with no contact with the hotel bedding.Don’t be swayed by the ” free breakfast ” claims, most of the food at these freebies is laden with fat and sugar, the eggs aren’t real and the coffee is usually bad. Choose the healthier items like bread, peanut butter and fruit.Travel GadgetsAnything that will save you money and time, and lessen stress levels is a good thing.Cell phones allow you to communicate with hotels and other members of your group and, if you have a data package, can give you the flexibility to change reservations, and hunt for the best gas and restaurant prices.Media players. Storing movies and music keeps the kids entertained and your music at hand.Sound generators and Travelsheets take the edge off of staying at motels or hotels with lower price points.Refrigerated or Insulated coolers. These are a must for food preservation cutting down on restaurants and junk food.GPS units. A no brainer for road trips, these handy gadgets give directions and traffic conditions as well as local info for lodgings and food.With proper planning, packing your own food, choosing an inexpensive hotel and using a few money saving items, your road trip can be easy, healthy, safe, and, save you a whole lot of cash, happy trails.