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How to Save Money on the Great American Road Trip

There is nothing that says “summer” more than loading up the old minivan, throwing the kids in the backseat, and taking off across America to see the sights. Road trips have become such a part of the American aesthetic that movies are made about them, songs are sung about them, and books are written, simply to capture the spirit of such a trip. Unfortunately, like many good things in life, road trips can be quite expensive. Gas prices, car maintenance, toll roads, and eating out can add up quickly. Here are some simple tips for enjoying a classic road trip without paying through the nose.

Make your car more fuel efficient. While it is difficult to dramatically alter your car’s gas mileage, there are things you can do to improve it. These small changes really add up when you consider you’ll be driving for hundreds, maybe even thousands of miles. Make sure your tires are properly inflated, not overly inflated and not under inflated. Reduce the weight of your vehicle by only bringing those things you need. Try to improve your wind resistance by packing items in your car rather than on top of your car. All of these will give you more miles for the dollar.

Pack your own food. The cost of constantly eating out can really kill a budget. Being away from home means even more opportunity to eat out. Cut down on food expenses by investing in a good cooler and bringing your food with you. Cut up fruit and veggies, along with sandwiches make for a healthy and delicious meal while on the road. Also, once you arrive at your destination, take a trip to the grocery store so you can eat in your room and save some money.

Consider renting a car. While most people own their own vehicles, there are benefits to renting a car for a road trip. Road trips, while fun, can put a lot of wear and tear on a car. Let the rental company bear that burden. Also, you might be able to rent a more fuel efficient car or a roomier car, depending on your needs. You may just find that shelling out a few more dollars a day for a rental will save you more in the long run by spacing out maintenance on your own car.

Utilize technology. Technology is a wonderful thing. It is amazing how much information you can access through your pocket smartphone. Utilize the wealth of apps to help you find cheap gas, avoid traffic, find rest stops, find good food, hit up the closes tourist attractions, and a million other uses which can and will save you time and money.

What about you and your family — how do you save money when out on the road? Any apps or tricks you recommend for a safe and cheap summer road trip? Sound off in the comments below and enjoy the summer weather!

Article publié pour la première fois le 02/09/2013

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