4 Ways to Save on a Family Road Trip

4 Ways to Save on a Family Road Trip

The family road trip you want to take this year doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg!

Author: Alicia C.

You might think a trip by car will turn out to be cheaper than one by plane, and perhaps that's true, but not always. With that mentality it's easy to neglect the budget on your car trip and end up spending more than if you had invested in airfare. Even when traveling to stay with the cousins, between gasoline, food, souvenirs, and stops to stretch your legs, a trip that was supposed to be a cheaper option can end up costing a small fortune. Here's how to avoid unintentionally wasting your money.


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1. Make sure your vehicle is in the best possible condition. Before leaving, check that the tires still have good tread and are filled with the right amount of air. Also check that the air conditioning works well and that the engine is in good condition. Having the car in tip-top shape not only helps save fuel, but will also ensure you don't incur unexpected repairs when you're away from home. As I like to travel in "luxury", I prefer to keep my car clean. That's why I always carry a roll of absorbent Swiffer Dusters to help me get rid of dust and dirt from shoes that have been out on some adventure. Fixing a problem with your vehicle while away from home can be expensive, but I assure you that stopping to clean up a mess can also mean unnecessary purchases.

2. Maintain your speed. Experts on saving gas agreed that the best way to avoid wasting too much fuel is to maintain a constant speed. Most vehicles these days have cruise control, which will assist you. Ideally keep the vehicle at about 60 miles per hour and, please, pay attention to the speed limits, obviously a speeding ticket will negatively affect your budget.

3. Take advantage of technology. There are many cell phone and tablet apps which allow you to see where you can find the gas stations with the lowest prices. Other apps can tell you the price of hotels which you may need during your travels. A way to save a lot of money is by using coupons for everything. There are coupons for hotels, service stations, and even for attractions you can check out along the way.

4. Bring only what you need. Instead of carrying along a whole bottle of shampoo, find the little travel size bottles they sell at large discount stores; the same applies to make-up, sunscreen, etc. You should also bring the least amount of clothing possible. A car that weighs more uses more gas.

If you travel with children, make sure you make frequent stops, bring along healthy snacks, and you may want to check out: How to Survive Long Car Rides With Kids

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