The weather is getting warmer and I am ready for a road trip. Of course, I am usually ready for one. A definite perk of a business you can work from anywhere.
So whether you are preparing for a weekend getaway or starting to plan for the summer; here are some tips to help you save some money on your road trip:
1. Get a Tuneup and Cut Weight
There are TWO preventative measures you need to take before heading out on a road trip. They will help you save gas and avoid the need for roadside assistance. Getting your tires checked and your oil changed. Did you know you can improve your gas mileage when your tires are inflated to the proper pressure. Gas mileage can also be improved by using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil in your car. This is a BIG one because I don’t know about you but I always come home with MORE than what I left with on a road trip….Remove any unnecessary weight from your car – excess weight can reverse the other gas saving measures you take.
2. Rent Responsibly
If you’re renting a car, avoid airport outposts and seek out deals online. Check out Groupon or Ebates for deals. Choose the smallest car to meet your travel needs. It will not only save you money on the rental, but you’ll save on gas, too.
3. Stock Up Before Hitting the Road
When on a road trip, we do “pee, eat & gas” stops. Everything at one time to save us time and usually money. I usually stock up BEFORE hitting the road with my favorite cooler filled with drinks, healthy snacks and food. Thirty One has a thermal for everyone – small for the kids to family size. Many have the “leak lock” protection so you can use ice instead of freezer packs.
I also pack lots of individually-bagged snacks to avoid the temptation to “graze”. Things like granola bars, nuts and cookies.
4. Use Mobile Apps to Save on Gas
Apps like GasBuddy has a feature to help you calculate fuel costs for a trip or compare prices at nearby gas stations. Planning your route ahead of time can also cut costs. The best option is not always the shortest distance between point A and point B. I usually want the quick one and then end up sitting in traffic because of poor planning. Map out the most efficient route based on mileage and possible traffic. Check out the app Waze.
5. Call and Book Hotels Directly
Leaving last minute, check out Expedia, Hotwire and Priceline for last-minute deals on hotel rooms. Be aware they don’t always have the best deals. Once you’ve found the hotel you want and the best rate online, call the hotel directly to see if they can beat the rate — or at least match and upgrade your room. They’ll save money by not having to pay the online travel agency and will often pass the savings to you.
6. Start a Summer Savings Plan
You may not have a small fortune in time for this summer’s vacation, but there are saving tools to help you get ahead of some expenses. Set up an auto withdraw from your bank account to a separate savings account for vacation. Some banks offer things like “keep the change” which moves the difference between your debit card purchase and the next whole number to a savings account. I am always amazed at how much I can save each month. Do you use coupons? How about taking the money you saved in coupons and putting it in a jar or in a separate bank account. You may be surprised what a difference those $5 or $10 each week will make when it is time to go on vacation.
No matter where you are going or what you are doing, there are cost cutting measures along the way. What are your favorite tips for saving money on a road trip?
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!