Money Saving Road Trips
Holiday season is well and truly upon us and although the Easter Break is relatively short it’s not going to be too long before the lengthy summer holidays are upon us. It can be an expensive time, and finding ways to save money during the breaks is never far from our minds. The Spy has been checking out some old and not-so-old money saving tips to help if you’re taking a road trip or two this year.
Motorway Services and the Convenience Tax
For those travelling the length and breadth of the UK on the motorway network – for pleasure or business – it’s noticeable that your average service station does not offer value for money. They usually charge a “convenience tax” on pretty much all items, even spending a penny has been hit by inflation. The secret to avoiding this trap is planning; very careful planning! You may have noticed that supermarkets – particularly the out of town sort – happen to be located close to major roads and motorways. Take advantage of this fact by using Google to locate those close to your route. The detour will normally be minimal but the savings won’t. They have all the same facilities as most motorway services, but instead of charging that convenience tax they often feature excellent deals and offers. Alternatively pack a picnic and make your rest stops part of the holiday by spending them on some quiet country lane. In both of these options the toilets are free, though one is more discrete and comfortable than the other.
Highway robbery has been a problem for centuries. However, today it’s not masked men you needed to worry about but managers of roadside motels. If you need to break your journey for more than a sandwich and a trip to the loo the major brands, like Travelodge, often have great offers. To access these discounts you’ll need to book well in advance. However, you can also try the same method with the motorway services. Search for Bed and Breakfasts in the more obscure and smaller towns along the route. The quality of the accommodation can vary, but very often you’ll get far more for your money, find the service more personal and the property less crowded.
Wherever you are in the UK, take advantage of all and any free attractions that you can. The majority of UK cities and many smaller towns will have free galleries and museums. If these are not your cup of tea and you find yourself attracted to attractions of the paying kind, don’t visit them unarmed. A trip to the local tourist information office is advisable first. They’ll often have discount vouchers and special offers designed to tempt you – so pick up a handful of money off vouchers, and then visit your attraction of choice! If you are a fan of National Trust properties – and they have a massive range of different venues – it’s time to prick up your ears. Nearly all properties have a free day at least once a year and many of these happen in May. English Heritage also has free days and a free entry weekend in April. Apart from historic properties they have a range of events and activities.
Written by The Spy, 12 April, 2012 - 07:37