The sunscreen is packed, your Friday classes are finally over, and your friends are all throwing their duffel bags into the trunk of the car. You’re headed on a road trip and could not be more excited. Hours in the car together with friends is a bonding experience like none other. Money can be a reason to miss out on the fun, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are three quick tips for minimizing expenses—and maximizing the good times—on your upcoming travel this Spring Break.
1. Buy snacks in bulk
Buying snacks at gas stations throughout your trip can really add up. To save, buy candy, snacks, and soda in bulk at the grocery store before you leave. A 30oz bag of Sour Patch Kids at Dillon’s in Manhattan is $4.99. A 5oz bag sold at Kwik Shop in Manhattan is $2.59. If you and three of your friends each bought an individual bag at Kwik Shop, you’d spend $5.37 more for 10oz less. Likewise, this week at Dillon’s a six-pack of 16.9 fl oz bottles of Coca-Cola is on sale for $3.49. An individual 16.9 fl oz can of Coca-Cola at Kwik Shop is $1.29, so if you bought six you would spend $4.25 more than if you bought a six-pack at Dillon’s.
2. Meal Plan
Snacks aren’t the only road trip expense that adds up. Meals on the road can be pricey as well. With a cooler in your trunk and a little forethought, you can have quality meals on the road at a fraction of the cost. Over Winter Break I went on a road trip to the Grand Canyon and tried out a few meal planning ideas. Burrito bowls were by far the easiest and my favorite. Here’s what you will need to make four servings:
Road Trip Burrito Bowl Ingredients
1 cup dry quinoa
1 can black beans
1 can corn
(2) 10oz cans chicken breast
(1) 8oz jar salsa
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 avocados, diced
Onion flakes – season to taste
Optional: tortilla chips, lettuce, shredded cheese, lime, chopped cilantro
Supplies to bring:
Small knife to slice tomatoes & avocados
1 large plastic container with lid – to mix ingredients
4 small plastic containers with lids– to eat out of and store leftovers
Plastic forks, a roll of paper towels for napkins
Cooler with ice packs/ice – for drinks and leftovers
This recipe is low maintenance and does not take up a lot of cooler space. The only prep needed before you leave is to cook the quinoa and pack it in a plastic container in the cooler. Most interstates have rest areas with picnic tables, perfect locations to stop and whip up your meal. To maximize freshness, wait to dice the tomatoes and avocados until you are ready to eat. Bon appetite!
3. Split the cost with your friends
Planning ahead by packing snacks and meals can save you a good chunk of change. Get your friends or family on board with snack and meal planning by discussing the idea with them beforehand. Agree as a group what snacks to buy and what meals will be made to make sure everyone is on the same page. Explicitly discuss how you will split the cost before you buy the
groceries to avoid the tension and awkwardness of asking your friends to pay you back for something they didn’t want in the first place.
Spring Break can be the time of our lives, but it doesn’t have to be our biggest expenditure of the year. By planning ahead this Spring Break, leave money worries behind and focus on the fun. For more Spring Break life hacks and tips, come to Spring Break Not Spring Broke this Thursday, 12:00-1:30pm in Union courtyard!
Peer Counselor I
302 K-State Student Union