There’s perhaps no better way to explore a foreign country than by hopping in the car and driving the same roads that the locals do each day. With the freedom of a road trip, you can see out-of-the-way sights and natural attractions that you may not be able to access when restricted to public transport. As you start budgeting for a road trip, you’ll probably factor in the cost of accommodation, food, and transportation. Yet there are a number of smaller costs that can really add up over time. Don’t forget to factor in the following hidden costs to get a more accurate picture of what you can expect to spend on your journey.
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Parking fees are an example of one of those little things you may not initially think about. Avoid sticker shock by researching your options in advance, particularly if you plan on visiting big cities like New York. Parking garages can be quite costly, especially if you need to park your car securely overnight in a city.
Rental Car Extras
When you’re planning a road trip overseas, you’ll most likely fly into the country and then hire a car from your starting point. You can obtain a quote at the time of booking, or even pre-pay for your car rental. Be on the lookout for extra rental costs, from extra driver fees to insurance. If you’re planning a long road trip, it may actually be more cost-effective to purchase a car and then resell it upon your departure.
Do you plan to cross any bridges or take toll roads? Research how much you’ll need to bring. Most toll roads only accept cash, and many require exact change. It’s worth bringing along a container filled with petty cash for times like this. You can also look at government websites before you depart in order to see how much you’re likely to pay in tolls so that you can be prepared.
It’s not a real road trip without snacks! But if you rely on the offerings at convenience stops along the way, you’ll take a big hit in the wallet in mark-up prices. Plan to stop at local grocery stores to buy healthier, fresher, and more cost-effective treats to keep your belly fuelled up on the road.
Although the journey itself is a major attraction of any road trip, it’s likely that you’ll want to stop and enjoy some more official attractions along the way. National parks, museums, and wildlife reserves all tend to charge entry fees as well as separate fees for parking. You may be able to purchase a national parks pass for a discounted rate, depending on the country you’re visiting.
Are you planning to save money on accommodations by camping? This allows you to sleep in beautiful surroundings as well, but campsite fees may vary. You’ll also need to budget for basic camping gear, including a tent, camp stove, and sleeping bag at minimum.
The types of extra costs you’re likely to encounter will depend on your itinerary, but these are just a few examples of the most common unexpected fees. Plan for everything in advance, and then enjoy the spontaneity that a road trip allows.