If you would like to fit in one last family vacation before the kids go back to school, a road trip is a great option. Having the whole family in the car together affords quality family time that some  vacations lack. Before you embark on your road trip, check out these money-saving tips. They will help you can make great family road trip memories without breaking the bank.

Plan Ahead

Before you head to your vacation destination, make a plan of action. Pre-planning your route allows you to book hotels ahead of time, which is the best way to find the most affordable fares. Don’t spend a whole day driving, only to find that affordable hotels have no vacancies.

Knowing your stopping points in advance will also help you hunt for discounts on activities and attractions. Take time to research fun, family-friendly things to do. To keep your plans affordable, search online coupons or discounts. They can add up to substantial savings.

Don’t Splurge on Meals

When you’re on vacation, it can be tempting to eat out for every meal. However, there are ways to eat affordably and still experience the fun of trying new, local foods. Designate one meal per day for eating out, and stay satiated the rest of the day by making snacks or lunches ahead of time.

Rent a Car Instead of Driving Your Own

If you plan to take a road trip, you should rent a campervan or a car instead of driving your own vehicle. If you’re going on a long road trip, your car needs to be in top shape, and it may require extensive vehicle maintenance costs to get it there. If you rent a car instead, you can rest easy, knowing everything in the car will work perfectly from the moment you take the driver’s seat.

Road trips put lots of miles on cars, which can expedite the need for basic car maintenance, such as oil changes and new tires. If you’re considering driving your own car, consider the wear and tear the vehicle will experience. With a rental car, you can return the car at the end of your trip, and know that your own vehicle is no worse for wear.

Save on Gas

Gas can be the most expensive part of a road trip. When you’re running low on fuel, don’t just pull into the first gas station you see. There are several apps that can help you find the lowest-priced gas around ― and while the savings may initially seem small, they add up. Also, consider using a credit card that offers cash back for purchases at certain gas stations.

Taking a family road trip is a one-of-a-kind way to turn a vacation into a family bonding experience. With a little bit of planning, your family can ensure that you have a blast and stay within your budget. Don’t let money hold you back — it’s time to hit the road.

Guest writer:  Alex Forrester

Alex G Forrester, a freelance content marketer and consultant at AVR Van Rental Solutions, with nearly 7 years of content writing experience about everything from marketing and technology to family and travel. When he’s not brushing up against a deadline, he can be found on the beach with his black lab, Louie.