8 Ways to Save on the All-American Roadtrip

by Gina Blitstein · 0 comments

There’s no more American experience than a good-ol’ road trip. But with the high price of fuel these days, even this old-fashioned tradition of hitting the road is becoming pricey. Can you still afford to pile the family in the car and take off to explore the countryside? Here are some tips to help you make your dreams of hitting the open road come true on a shoestring:

  1. Research and planning. Plan as many aspects of your roadtrip as you can ahead of time. You can locate affordable attractions to visit and economical places to stay and eat in advance so you’re not choosing and deciding on the fly. Set up coupon alerts on sites like Groupon to be notified of opportunities to save where you’ll be traveling.
  2. Vehicle maintenance.  Make certain your car is up to date on tuneup and oil change. Be sure your tires are inflated according to your owner’s manual recommendation. Good vehicle maintenance will ensure the best possible miles per gallon in addition to helping you avoid breakdowns. Auto repairs along the road can be pricey and dicey.
  3. Drive at appropriate speed. This is just plain good sense to be safe and to avoid exorbitant speeding tickets. In addition, driving the speed limit conserves gas. Maintaining a steady speed, avoiding major fluctuations, is the best strategy for gas economy. If you tend to be ‘heavy-footed’ on the gas pedal, use your cruise control. According to AAA, you are well-advised to drive when the temperature is cooler because the cooler, denser air can increase power and mileage. Some good news for driving when it’s warmer, however, is that air conditioning in newer cars works more efficiently, so it’s not as much of a fuel-hog as it was in older cars.
  4. Pack as light as possible. Extra weight in the car will cause it to burn more gas. Carefully consider each item you take along.
  5. Take along your own food. Dining out on the road adds a huge expense to your travel costs. Pack easy-to-serve and eat foods and bring a cooler rather than stopping for every meal. There are usually picnic tables at Interstate rest stops and you can research the location of local parks where you’ll be traveling.
  6. Grocery shop on road. You needn’t pack all the food for your trip at home. Pack what you need to get started, then replenish your supplies at local grocery stores along the way. Bear in mind that you can save a lot by traveling a few miles off the main road and away from ‘tourist traps’ where prices are likely to be higher.
  7. Eat off the main road to save. If you do dine out, the same logic applies. A few miles away from the tourist pricing will really make a difference in the cost of your meal.
  8. No-frills lodging. Keep your accommodations simple and economical so you can spend your travel dollars on activities and sightseeing, rather than on a place to lay your head. When booking your room, it’s worth getting one with a microwave and fridge (so you can prepare your own meals) but don’t pay more for a view or a suite. Consult AAA for discounts, research specials and off-season deals. Consider outside-the-box accommodations, like bed and breakfasts and vacation rentals that may offer lower cost or valuable amenities. Even camping may serve your lodging needs when on the road with an initial investment of some reusable equipment.

These tips will help you get farther along the road to a fun and affordable getaway.

How do you save on the road?

Bonus Tip:

Another way to save on your monthly Internet and TV costs is to find a current ATT U-Verse coupon code or at least a promotion to knock down your home service bill.

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