Stop one: Fort Collins/Denver, CO!
Our time in Fort Collins/Denver and tips for making road tripping more affordable with smart accommodations!
If you are new, let me catch you up, I decided to take my kids on a 30 day road trip across the US. My 4 kids, myself, and my sister (backup), are all in my mini-van traveling over 6000 miles in about 30 days to see some of the country. We have a full itinerary, and tons of fun planned. Our first stop was Fort Collins, Colorado.
And oh my gosh you guys! We had so much fun. We chose this spot because I have some amazing blogging friends who live there, and I just had to go visit them. While we were there we enjoyed some of the great outdoors Colorado has to offer with some boating, and time at a lake in Denver. We went to a drive-in movie, ate at some really yummy restaurants, and spent time with friends!
That leads me to my first tip for saving money on lodging when road tripping: Stay with people you know!
Okay, I know that is not earth shattering, or even that big of an idea. But let me tell you, it helped us save a lot! Not only did my awesome friends feed us, and give us a free place to lay our heads, but they also helped us have a ton of fun! Low cost fun!
We stayed with 2 different friends, Sarah from HighHeelsAndGrills.com and Sandra from ADashOfSanity.com and even got to spend a couple days at one of those friend’s family properties that has a lake on it. We had a blast. And since it was a friend’s place, we did not have to spend much money to have fun.
My second tip: Do Some Camping!
We packed a tent and camping supplies, and we camped in Denver at the lake. But that is not the only place we camped during our trip. Camping on a road trip is a lot of work with set up and take down. But it is also a great way to save a bundle.
By purchasing a $300 cargo carrier that sits on top of my car, I have room for camping gear, and can save hundreds over the course of our 30 day trip. Plus we now own a cool cargo carrier!
Camping is cheap. And not as uncomfortable as it may seem. With a little research I found plenty of campgrounds with bathrooms and shower houses (running water), as well as electricity for charging phones, iPods, etc. for as little as $10/night! With a group of 6, that is dirt cheap!
My next tip is: Find accommodations with extras!
Of course we also stayed in some hotels. I booked cheap hotels where I could along the route, but in some cities, like New York, or Chicago, that is just not possible. For these I looked at AirBnB.com for places to stay. And got some great deals.
When I needed a centrally located hotel, and couldn’t find an AirBnB that fit the bill, I tried to find hotels with a complimentary breakfast, because not buying breakfast saves a lot of money when you have 6 people, and can help offset the cost of the stay. In addition, I looked for Free Parking, complimentary laundry, pools (to entertain my kids), and free WiFi.
Speaking of free WiFi, I wrote this post with it! So thank you for that.
Anyway, 3 days of friends, spending time on the lake, and eating was a great way to start our 30 days on the road. Be sure to check back for how we spent the rest of our trip!