Tips for Saving Money on Your Next Road Trip
For many people, embarking on a road trip to their vacation destination can be a more affordable means of transportation when compared to other travel options. But, besides saving money on things like airline tickets or baggage fees, there are some other ways to save that may not have crossed your mind. Check out these four tips that can help you save as you get ready to head out on your next road trip:
1. Pack Food for the Drive
Stopping for snacks and meals during a road trip can be expensive, especially when you are with the entire family. Consider skipping some of the fast food pit stops and bring snacks and drinks along for the car ride instead, recommends Business Insider. If you’d like to bring any refrigerated items along, or want to keep bottled water or soda cold, place them in a cooler filled with ice — then change out the ice as needed when you stop off at a gas station to fuel up.
2. Buy Vacation Essentials Early
Instead of waiting until the last minute to pack for your trip, get a head start so you can determine what you need ahead of time. This way, you can avoid last-minute shopping trips when you reach your destination. For example, if you’re headed to the beach, you’ll likely need sunscreen, towels or a beach bag. Consider packing these types of essentials ahead of time, as Business Insider says that the same items could be more expensive once you reach your vacation destination. Knowing what you need prior to leaving may also give you time to seek out sales when buying any items you need.
3. Avoid Traveling During Peak Times
If you don’t have a preference or a specific window for taking your trip, you may be able to save some money by traveling during a non-peak time of year, according to U.S. News and World Report (U.S. News). Some of the most popular travel times include around holidays or during summer and winter break. By avoiding these peak travel times, you may be able to score hotel or rental accommodations for less, says U.S. News. But, keep in mind that depending on where you’re headed, some activities or events may be limited based on seasonality.
4. Adjust Your Driving Habits to Improve Fuel Economy
Driving habits like stopping and accelerating suddenly, and how fast you drive, may have a negative impact on your car’s fuel economy. In fact, frequent hard braking or accelerating may reduce your vehicle’s fuel efficiency by up to 3 miles per gallon, says Consumer Reports. You may be able to help improve gas mileage by avoiding hard braking and accelerating when possible. Additionally, FuelEconomy.gov states that gas mileage can decrease once a vehicle reaches speeds of 50 miles per hour or more. Ensure you’re following the speed limit at all times and consider using cruise control, which can also help improve fuel efficiency.
Planning ahead for your next road trip may help alleviate some financial stress. Remember these tips as you plan so you can focus more on making memories with family and friends, and less on breaking the bank.
Originally published on May 8, 2011.