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(Route 66 Shield on Road – Image Courtesy jbcurio/Flickr.com)

For those who want a real first-hand experience of genuine Americana, you can’t do better than climbing onto a motorbike or into a convertible and heading off on Route 66. Known as one of the most iconic road trips in the world, Route 66 has been beckoning those yearning for adventure for decades. It’s been said that for those who take on Route 66, it’s a life changing journey.

The 2,000 mile epic adventure along Route 66 from Chicago to California is picture perfect for discovering the great American Midwest, Great Plains and Southwest. Take a stop at the iconic Jefferson National Memorial and Meramec Caverns in Missouri. At the memorial, there’s a free museum to learn all about the Louisiana Purchase and an historic courthouse that marks the famed Dred Scott Decision. The Meramec Caverns is where the notorious Jesse James hid from his law pursuers. The Pecos National Historical Park in New Mexico is home to many archaeological sites, the Santa Fe Trail and the Civil War Battle of Glorieta Pass. There are almost too many things to see and do.

Journeying along Route 66 is an excellent way to discover some of America’s most wondrous locations and sights, but when you start adding up the costs of flights, car hire, fuel, food and accommodation along the way, this adventure can quickly add up to a pretty penny. Thankfully, with some prior preparation and planning you can pull together a genuinely exciting road trip that gives you the adventure you’re seeking without breaking the bank.

Here are a few handy tips to get you out onto Route 66.

When budgeting for a road trip, you need to begin by making a firm commitment to staying within the budget you set. No ifs or buts! Only when this is done can you progress to the next step: costing out the trip in full. You will need to write down a list of all categories of expenditures – including flights, food, fuel, accommodations, insurance, permits and sightseeing – then start to itemize everything you’ll need money for along the way and not just fuel and food, I mean everything!

Start by making a list of all the known costs, day by day, from when you wake up or arrive at a destination, right through until your head hits the pillow. This way you can come up with a budget that closely matches your real needs, which then helps you total up how much you will actually need for the entire trip. Then, to make the most of your money, think of all the ways you can save money on each expenditure. For example, to cut back on the costs for accommodations and food, choose a budget hotel that offers a complimentary breakfast buffet. If you are concerned about hunger pangs starting in around lunch time, make sure your first stop every morning before you set off is a convenience store to purchase everything you need to make your own lunch rather than buying it.

To save on gas, take your journey in an eco-friendly car or bring your buddy along to split driving costs. If you are interested guided tours, remember that many of the attractions are free or low cost to enter, so you don’t have to spend a fortune on entertainment. Taking the time to carefully develop your travel plan and budget ensures you can spend your time on Route 66 enjoying the journey rather than worrying if you have enough money in your pocket.

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(Route 66 – Image Courtesy Phillie Casablanca/Flickr.com)

Glen’s thoughts: I love a good road trip (provided there are plenty of breaks along the way) and I would love to travel route 66 one day. One of the things my wife and I do when we go on road trips, is to take a bag of lollies (candy) along with us for the ride. It doesn’t last long and we know they aren’t good for us, but it has become a bit of a tradition whenever we hit the road for a big journey.

Readers Question

What do you do when you go on road trips? Do you have any good tips to help save money? Have you travelled Route 66?