One (Ridiculous) Way We Save Money on Road Trips
It seems like just last week my wife and I were driving across the country for a week in Delaware. Oh wait, that was last week. Following a brief few days home, this morning finds us in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee after a 10+ hour drive. While the back-to-back travels are a bit unusual for us, we’ve actually becoming quite accustomed to marathon drives and have shared some of the money-saving lessons we’ve learned from the road. However there’s still one large and some would say insane part of our strategy that I haven’t talked much about.
They say timing is everything and, I assume that when most people plan a long drive, they rise early to drive through the day and arrive at their hotel at night. We take a decidedly different approach. Instead we make a point to drive overnight and arrive in the morning. But why, you may ask?
The first benefit of our overnight approach is that it’s one more night we don’t have to stay at a hotel. Additionally, for those who hate sitting in traffic like I do, driving at night typically reduces the chance of encountering congestion (except for the dang construction they always seem to be doing). With the road to ourselves frequently, the drive can actually be quite zen at times, leading to a more enjoyable experience IMHO. Finally, as remote workers, the other positive side effect of overnight travel is that we don’t miss a workday. For example, we were able to leave Missouri after we finished our work yesterday and are at our destination in time for me to write this.
Obviously this plan of attack is definitely not for everyone. At the top of the list, I probably wouldn’t recommend this method to those driving solo, whereas we as a couple have pretty much mastered the sleep-drive tag team routine. The other problem is that, if you are arriving at your hotel in the morning, it’ll probably be too early to check-in. In our experience, there have been plenty of times where they were able to accommodate us early (allow us to nap and get to work) but there’s certainly no guarantee. That’s why it’s always a good idea to have a plan of where you can hang out until your room’s ready and make sure you get enough sleep along the way to last you through the day.
Admittedly, our overnight travels may be a bit insane and, as we grow older, there may come a day where the negatives outweigh the benefits. Still, for now, this oddball itinerary works well for us, allowing us to not only save money but also make more money by not sacrificing work during travel. So load up your podcast playlist, grab some gas station coffee, and give this potentially money-saving road trip hack a shot.