While not the most inexpensive choice, renting a car for your road trip is often a wise decision. You can rent a car that will comfortably fit your travel items, and if the car breaks down, you don't have to worry about trying to get it fixed in the middle of the Perthshire Highlands.....at night.... in the rain. Rental cars also sometimes come with GPS systems that can make navigation a breeze. These can also be rented from car rental companies for their rental cars that don't have them, or for your own vehicle. Make sure your insurance will cover you while driving a rental car, and you can safely decline the rental company's driver protection package.
If you choose to drive your own vehicle, you'll need to make sure you have a full service, oil change, tyres checked, filled up the washer fluid and topped up the tank with fuel. You may want to consider getting an emergency road-side service membership with a company like AA or RAC in case you have an unexpected emergency or need to be towed away.
You may wish to consider hiring a car from a rental company. It's also worth looking into the cost of hiring a RV if you just want to stop overnight, then move on in the morning. If there are more of you touring, you could be saving the cost of accommodation costs for each person traveling which might offset the increase of the RV rental. I have put some price comparisons to show you that a RV need not be an expensive deal as you think.
|Vehicle Type||Rental Company||Rental Cost/Wk||Accommodation|
|RV ( 7 Berth)||£850|
|Ford Mondeo Est|
|Hertz||£345 (£305 online)||£30 pppn|
|VW Passat Est|
|VW Sharah 7 St|
Full sizr MPV
Note: These prices are approximate only and should not be taken as correct.
Fuel prices fluctuate constantly and, are currently at an all time high. Always estimate on the high side when budgeting for fuel. Diesel, although more expensive than unleaded petrol is preferable as you will achieve better mpg overall. This following explains how:
How to estimate fuel costs
Estimate miles to be traveled: 800 miles
Size of fuel tank: 50 litres/11 Gals (4.55 litres -1 Imperial gallon)
Miles per gallon: 40mpg (deisel)
Estimated Price per litre £1.25 to £1.31 per litre
Estimated Total Fuel Cost: £120.00 to travel 800 miles
Formula: Miles traveled ÷ (tank size X mpg) X tank size X price per gallon
The following link shows prices at UK fuel outlets. For your nearest outlet type in the nearest town in the Enter Location box. Then press Search. Be careful to check the date as the prices indicated may not have been updated. If you know what the price is today, please update the price(s). Thank you.
You'll have to eat, and while fast food restaurants are quick and easy and they offer reasonably clean restrooms, you can save time and money by packing a cooler. Partially fill your cooler with frozen bottles of water and ice cubes and then add well-wrapped sandwiches, cheese sticks, apples, grapes, yogurt and other quick, filling snacks. These items will keep in a cold cooler for a few days, so try and pack enough to get to your final destination. Most accommodation offer continental and full breakfasts which are surprisingly good, so see what your host has to offer before heading out in the morning. Access the following link and select the town or village you are stopping overnight and see a selection of places to eat.
Where will you stay along your trip and how can you save as much money as possible? First, it's important to know where you'll be stopping for the night and the accommodation to spend the night in. Planning this in advance allows you to ensure there is accommodation available for you and gives you time to research the best price. Generally, you'll get the best price on accommodation by checking their website online. You might want choose from budget hotels that you've heard of unless you find
enough positive feedback online to trust locally owned accommodation options.
Make sure you give yourself enough time to get from your starting point to your accommodation. Start bright and early in the morning so you won't be nodding at the wheel when you arrive after midnight. Access the following link and select the town or village you are stopping overnight and see a selection of accommodation available in the area.
Entertainment options on a trip really depend on whether or not there are kids involved. For adults, good options for staying entertained if you're driving are audio books. You can borrow them from your local library if you will be back in time to return them. Creating a music play list or bringing along a comedy CD or digital pod cast can make any trip a little less dull. When planning road trip, find out if there are any local attractions along the way that will provide an opportunity to stretch your legs and see a bit of the country! Access the following link and select the town or village you are passing and see a selection of places to visit.
For the kids, it's a great idea to have small toys with few parts and books to entertain them. In addition, you can play a favourite game like "I Spy". Perhaps make a scavenger hunt list of things your children can look for while on the road. One clever idea is to buy inexpensive toys at a "99p" store, and wrap them like gifts to be opened periodically along the way. This will keep children engaged and not put you in debt.
6. Have Fun!
Planning road trip ahead of time will give you the peace of mind you need to know that you can complete your trip on your budget. Spending mindfully will always save you money over the quick and easy alternatives. So, throw the cooler in the trunk, pop in an audio book and follow your map to a safe, fun and inexpensive road trip!
Tips & Warnings
When packing, first create a list of exactly what you'll need so you don't end up over-packing (or under-packing) your clothes, food and toiletries.
Don't forget to print out your driving directions from my Self Drive Tour Guides. Do this even if you have a GPS SatNav - better safe than sorry!