Air travel is so convenient for long-distance destinations but the increasing costs seem neverending and let’s not even talk about airport delays. This summer, plan your vacays a little closer to home so you can comfortably road trip a getaway. While you’re at it, use these money-saving travel tips from finance expert Andrea Woroch to keep your cross-country adventure doesn’t break the bank.
8 Money-saving roadtrip travel tips
1. Plan ahead
Woroch recommends researching routes and destinations to map out places to visit, eateries, and pre-book your overnight accommodations to avoid a no vacancy nightmare. Try using TripIt to keep all of your travel details organized in one place, but definitely bring a map in case your GPS goes down.
2. Save on gas
Gas has dropped in price by 10 percent since its peak earlier this year, but it’s still pretty expensive at an average of $3.57 per gallon, says Woroch. “Avoid the stress of hunting down the cheapest gas by using the CheapGas app to navigate to the most inexpensive fuel available on any route. Also, consider using a credit card that provides travel points or cash back on gas purchases. Consult this list of top gas reward credit cards for suggestions.”
3. Get a tune up
Don’t head off into the sunset (or sunrise) without getting your vehicle tuned up. The last thing you want on your vacay is breaking down in the sticks. “Get your tires checked and schedule a tune up before you hit the open road,” suggests the money-saving pro. “This will help you avoid breakdowns that could result in costly repairs with unfamiliar mechanics.”
4. Pack wisely
Avoid paying premium prices for trip essentials by packing what you need beforehand. “Beach staples like towels and sunscreen cost much more when purchased onsite, as do travel-related gadgets like phone chargers and camera batteries,” Woroch explains. “Ultimately, you don’t want to get stuck paying a pretty penny for something you have sitting at home.”
5. Make road trip snacks
“Pack your own snacks, soda and bottled water in a cooler, and refill with cheap ice from the gas station as needed,” Woroch advises. “That way, you can save your rest stops for more interesting landmarks than the Kum ‘n Go.” Make sure you pack enough beverages to keep you hydrated on the way, too.
6. Tell your bank
You don’t want to get caught out of town with no way to finance your trip. “Alert your credit card company about your upcoming road trip and give them destination details so you don’t temporarily lose access to needed funds,” warns Woroch. “Otherwise, most banks and credit card companies will tag frequent, out-of-state charges as fraudulent and put a hold on your account.”
7. Drive legally
Save money by driving the speed limit. In addition to saving money on fuel, you’ll also save money by avoiding hefty speeding fines. “It pays to slow down and enjoy the scenery,” Woroch adds.
8. Daily deal it
Woroch says once you establish your route and preferred destinations, look for daily deals in the cities you plan to visit to save on dining, activities and attractions. You may find unique ways to explore new towns with deals on everything from photo safaris to winery tours.