You are wasting time! Yes, you! Get off the couch and go do something fun. Winter is approaching, and it seems people are already starting to hide indoors. Don’t give in to it! Now is the perfect time to take a weekend getaway. National and State Parks are less crowded right now, weather is still warm, and the end of the year is looming which for most means, time to use up any last sick or vacation days.
Before the first snow arrives, get in one last mountain bike trip, kayak ride, hiking adventure, or camping trip. A quick road trip is great to get away for the weekend, and you don’t have to spend a fortune. It is one of the cheapest ways to get out and explore the incredible attractions in the United States. Here are some quick tips to take a road trip without spending a lot of money.
- Don’t eat out – stock up on food you can store in a cooler and bring non-perishables. Make PB&Js for lunch, and snack on apples or bananas. Don’t break the bank by splurging on food or chowing down on unhealthy fast food.
- Use a Gas App – there are numerous gas apps you can download for free to help you find the cheapest gas and help make your car as fuel efficient as possible while driving long distances.
- Pack Light – Avoid over packing and hauling unnecessary items that will weigh down the car and affect its fuel efficiency.
- Skip the hotel – Don’t pay for a so-so room that you are just going to sleep in. Camp out in the back seat or pop a tent. We don’t always need cable TV and WiFi to enjoy ourselves.
- Plan your route – have your trip planned out with a general idea of when you will need to refuel and how many pit stops you want to take (Furkot is an amazing free tool to do just this!). Give yourself plenty of time and don’t over do it on the miles. Packing too much in causes fatigue and can be hard on your car. Be reasonable with your travel plans.
- Create a budget – Stick to your budget and don’t buy any unnecessary items. Skip gift shops and knick knacks that are a waste of money. Trips should be spent seeing sights not picking out t-shirts.
- Get a tune up – Be sure to have general maintenance done on the car before your trip to avoid potential breakdowns while on the road.
- Do your research – Look for free attractions along your route and at your destination. (See below for some fun and free attractions in the U.S.)
If you don’t have a car that is adventure worthy and family functional, Volkswagen has a solution. I was able to test drive the 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, and it introduced me to the idea that an adventure car can also mean family car.
Available for purchase in October 2016, the 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is the first all wheel drive golf station wagon available in the U.S. It has a turbocharged 1.8 TSI engine for 170 horsepower. It is available with a 6 speed DSG dual clutch automatic, and early in 2017 there will be a 6 speed manual transmission. It is designed with the capability of an SUV but with the maneuvering and fuel economy of a smaller car.
Most importantly, its features cater to adventure seekers. There is a higher clearance of .6 inches providing plenty of room for rockier terrain without doing damage to the car. There is even an off road mode that optimizes traction and aids in hill descent control. The roof rack height has been lowered to a height of 4 feet 11 inches which means it is much easier to stow and carry your bikes, kayaks, snowboards, and anything else on top of the car. The backseat has a 60/40 split to allow even more storage while keeping seating available. When the seats are folded down all the way, there is 66 and ½ cubic feet of space offering plenty of room to haul items or even stretch out for the night.
The interior features V-tex leatherette seating that is durable, easy to clean and comes in 4 classic colors. Standard in the Alltrack are heated seats and heated side mirrors for optimum comfort and function in cooler climates. There is an optional panoramic sliding sunroof for spectacular views and plenty of stargazing. Also standard in the vehicle is Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink.
Most importantly it has a 5 star safety rating with standard 6.5 inch color infotainment touchscreen with rearview camera. It comes with Electronic Stability Control, Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, and Intelligent Crash Response System. The Alltrack has optional:
- Adaptive Cruise Control
- Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking
- Lane Departure Warning
- Parking Steering Assistant
The 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack comes in three trims S, SE, SEL and starts at $25,850. It is the first car I have driven that I could imagine myself taking on a weekend adventure and still be comfortable toting my toddler around with me. I prefer a smaller car and the Alltrack has all the space and hauling capabilities of a larger car but with the familiar feel of a smaller vehicle not to mention 30 mpg. Its responsive steering and incredible traction allow peace of mind in a variety of terrains, and it is the perfect option for an active family.
If you are looking for some free attractions, here are places across the country completely free to visitors.
- Staten Island Commuter Ferry – New York
- The Alamo – Texas
- Salem Sue, the largest dairy cow statue – North Dakota
- Pike Place Market – Washington
- Enchanted Highway, Roadside Statues – North Dakota
- Columbia River Gorge Scenic Views – Oregon
- Hocking Hills State Park – Ohio
- Metal Sculptures of Borrego Springs – California
- Lincoln Park Zoo – Illinois
- Radnor Lake – Tennessee
- The Smithsonian Institute – Washington D.C.
These are only a fraction of the free events available in our country. Start taking advantage of all there is to see.
I was hosted courtesy of Volkswagen to experience the Golf Alltrack in person. All opinions remain my own.