Cost Effective Ways to Visit an Inmate

The expenses of traveling to visit your inmate can add up quickly. These cost saving measures will make it less painful for your budget.

Traveling by car

Gas up early

Gas up on a weekday. Many gas stations raise the price of a gallon shortly before the weekend. Filling up the tank on a weekday, even if you aren’t going to visit until the weekend can save money. The prices start to rise on Friday so fill up on Thursday if you can.

Pack snacks

Eating on the road is not only expensive, but also isn’t the most healthy choice. Pack plenty of non-perishable snacks such as nuts, dried fruit, and bottled water for the trip.

Share the burden

If other friends or family members wish to visit your inmate and have been approved by the facility, offer to carpool and share the visit. While the idea of having the inmate all to yourself for visits is tempting, having someone pay 50 percent of the round-trip costs could make it possible to visit more often.

Related: Federal Inmate Visitation Facts

Traveling by plane

Plan ahead

If possible, purchase your ticket at least 14 days ahead of the day you need to travel. Most airlines offer substantial discounts for buying tickets early. In addition, if you can work it where you stay overnight on a Saturday before heading back, there are additional discounts.

Shop around

The difference in price for airline tickets varies widely between different airlines. Research online with a site like Kayak.com, or go directly to the airline sites and price your tickets. Choose several airlines for comparison before making a purchase. Do this each time you visit the inmate as different airlines run specials during different times of the year.

Final thought: Traveling to see an inmate will always cost money, but using these cost- saving steps will help ease the drain on your budget. This means more money to pay your bills, or possibly additional visits to the inmate.

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writes about inmates, jails, prisons, courts and the lives of people who live and work within the United States Criminal Justice System. His mission can be summed up in a single word; transparency.