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When it comes to traveling cheaply, no one can do it quite like your grandparents. Pack up the suitcase (they shared one), grab the map, Grandpa sticks a couple 20s in his back pocket and they’re off. As an ode to all the grandparents in our lives and the era of cheap travel they were raised in, we’re going to take a page out of their books and road trip right. We of course adjusted some of these tips for a younger audience, so let’s see if you inherited that gasoline in your veins.

Courtesy of Erica Yeater

Courtesy of Erica Yeater

Make PB&J sandwiches a staple—Eat them all day, every day. Pack a loaf of bread and jars of peanut butter and jelly, and you’ve got most of your meals on this trip taken care of for less than $5. And with rest area picnic tables abounding, you should have no trouble finding somewhere to set up shop.


Courtesy of Sheila Scarborough.

Courtesy of Sheila Scarborough.

Don’t be afraid to use that senior discount—Most 55-year-olds awake one morning to find a packet from AARP in their mailbox, beckoning them to sign up and receive discounts out the wazoo. Those go a long way in keeping the price for hotels down on a road trip. Since most of us planning cheap road trips are probably closer to being seniors in college than senior citizens, try AAA or your student ID. Hotels often offer AAA members discounts, and students can usually get into exhibits and museums for less.


Make friends along the way—What? That’s the cheapest room you have? Where did you say you were from again? Oh Albuquerque! Well I had a cousin Margie that used to live in Albuquerque, right across the street from that cute little supermarket. No way, your uncle used to run the supermarket!?! Small world! You found a cheaper room for us, did you? Well you tell your uncle that Margie’s cousin from Ohio says hello.

If you are anything like most grandmas, you know someone everywhere. Play the name game and use those connections, and watch the results pile up in the form of dolla bills.



Courtesy of David Goehring.

Pack lots of snacks—And avoid those pesky, overpriced vending machines at rest areas. They’ll run ya dry.


Courtesy of David Brossard.

Courtesy of David Brossard.

Never buy bottled water—Bring your own jugs or better yet, horde some ice from the hotel ice machine and let it melt overnight. If that seems a little old-fashioned for you, just bring a reusable water bottle and fill it up as you go. It’s more eco-friendly that way, anyway.


 Courtesy of Dyxie.

Courtesy of Dyxie.

Keep plans loose—If the town you planned to stay in one night seems a little crowded, don’t be afraid to interrupt your itinerary. You’ll likely find a cheaper motel to stay in at the next exit.

roll-away-beds Ask about the rollaway—Grandparents traveling with a gaggle of grandchildren rely heavily on these portable beds. Stick a couple kids on a rollaway and you’ve saved yourself from having to buy an extra room for the night. The same rule applies if you are traveling with a big group of friends. You don’t have to pay for multiple rooms, and no one has to sleep on the floor.

Take it slow and take it in—The whole point of a trip is to see new things, so make sure to slow things down and take in the scenery. You’ll find the best (cheapest) little gems in the form of roadside attractions, so make sure you explore off the main highway.

CTIXblog CTA _ cheap of the week

Tagged: Cheap Tips, Family

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2 thoughts on “Travel tips from your cheap grandparents”

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