A trip down Route 66 is the vacation of a lifetime. And if your family is like ours, you’ll want to stretch out a Route 66 vacation for as long as possible. Our family took a full month off to make this iconic road trip and did a pretty decent job of keeping costs under control. As with any vacation there are ways to cut costs without sacrificing the fun. Here are just a few of the ways we cut costs on our Route 66 road trip.
Stayed in vintage motels
Part of the fun of a Route 66 vacation is staying in vintage Mom & Pop motels. We stayed whenever possible at independently owned motels which cost between $49-59 a night for a double occupancy room.
Filled our day with free activities
Route 66 is filled with plenty of free roadside attractions and parks, and all are worth seeing. Filling up the day with free attractions makes it easier to take a pass on the more expensive ones.
Flashed our AAA card
For attractions that did charge admission, we got in the habit of flashing our AAA card for a 10-20% discount. Our AAA card also secured us discounts at several restaurants and hotels.
Watched meal costs
Eating out three mails a day can get terribly expensive, especially for families on a long road trip. We got in the habit of eating a light breakfast at the hotel, packed snacks and sandwiches to eat on the road, and limited our meals at iconic drive-ins and diners to one a day. For the places that were known for famous desserts, we’d order one and split it.
Filled the gas tank in large cities
Like elsewhere in the US, gas in smaller towns is about 25% more expensive than in larger towns. Topping off the gas tank in larger cities is an easy way to save money.
Buy a Senior “America the Beautiful” pass
Route 66 takes motorists through National Battlefields, National Monuments, and several National Parks. For seniors, a $10 “American the Beautiful” pass purchased through the National Parks service will let you visit these places for free.
Kept the speed limit to 55 mph
We averaged nearly 40 miles per gallon during our Route 66 vacation because we kept to a speed limit of 55 mph, even in areas where the speed limits were posted at 65 mph. Driving slower not only saves money on gas, you’ll have better control of the car too when braking for jackrabbits and armadillos.
A Route 66 road trip vacation doesn’t have to break the bank. Making careful choices in lodging, dining, and attractions is an easy way to trim costs while still having lots of fun.
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