Find out how to financially map out your budget for a road trip

On this episode of Getting Rich, sponsored by Acura, go on a financial journey with Carmen Perez as she outlines the pro tips and tricks to own your bank account, from credit scores to crushing student loan debt.

When planning for a road trip, it’s important to map out your course in advance, but it’s equally important to map out your budget! Budgeting for your next trip ahead of time will not only save you money, but can help ensure you have the best time possible during your travels! If you’re unsure how to tackle the budget for your next adventure, financial expert Carmen Perez (@makerealcents) of Make Real Cents is here to help! 

In this episode of In The Know’s Getting Rich, Carmen shares her advice for budgeting for your next big adventure. Then, she sits down with Emma Kantor to advise her on her upcoming road trip to Asheville, North Carolina. 

When it comes to budgeting for your road trip, the first step, according to Carmen, is to consider what kind of trip you want to go on. “If you and your crew are outdoorsy, packing a tent and cooking supplies could save you a ton of money,” Carmen explains. “On the other hand, if you like clean sheets and room service, which I enjoy, your dollars won’t go as far, so be mindful that you may end up needing to plan a shorter trip.”

Then, create a budget document that you can share with your travel companions. Consider the types of purchases you might make and decide how much money you are willing to spend on them. “This should cover a total spending limit for each type of expense,” Carmen explains. “And you’ll also want to factor in a little wiggle room for experiences.”

Once you have your overall trip budget, it’s time to figure out your daily budget. “Divide the total by the number of days to set a daily budget,” Carmen instructs. “And don’t forget to do your homework on the transportation costs. Because accounting for your car’s gas mileage or any toll fees will help keep your travel budget on track.”

Finally, budget for any extra costs that might arise. “After you’ve covered the basics, think about the things you actually want to do, whether it’s eating at a bougie restaurant, buying souvenirs on the side of the road, or catching a show on the trip,” Carmen advises. “You can list all of that under ‘experiences.’”

Next, Carmen sits down with Emma Kantor, who is excitedly planning her first road trip! Emma is planning on driving to Asheville, North Carolina, but is unsure how to create her travel budget

Carmen starts by advising Emma to consider basics like gas, tolls, and sleeping arrangements. “Where are you going to be hanging out? Are you going to be couch surfing at friends’ places along the way? Or are you going to stay in a hotel? Or perhaps find a campsite?” Carmen asks. “Whatever that needs to look like for you, you just have to consider the cost.”

Once the basics are out of the way, Carmen recommends that Emma bring a cooler full of food to avoid the high cost of gas station snacks. “Pack food in the car and [don’t] buy it at rest areas, because it can be really expensive,” she explains. 

Then, she tells Emma to pad her budget a bit to account for any unexpected expenses. “Always budget a little bit more for each category because you never know what’s going to happen,” she advises. “So it’s always nice to have that unexpected expense category in your travel budget if you have one.”

After chatting with Emma, Carmen shares a few final tips for making sure your road trip goes smoothly. First, avoid traffic when possible, because sitting in traffic can add to your gas costs. Second, learn how to change a tire to avoid stress, save money, and avoid calling roadside assistance. Third, buy a high quality cooler to pack snacks and save money on food expenses. And finally, tell your bank you’ll be traveling! 

“Save yourself the headache of getting your card declined and tell your bank where you’re going ahead of time,” Carmen advises. 

Once you’ve done all that, you’ll be ready to hit the road!

Carmen is not a registered investment advisor. The above information is not investment advice and is intended for educational purposes only. Please consult with a financial professional to assess what investments are suitable for you based on your financial objectives, needs, and risk tolerance.

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