By Bitsy McCann
From the breathtaking views of the Appalachian Mountains to the sandy beaches along the coast, a road trip is the best way to get an in-depth view of the United States. We love a good road trip and staying on a budget, which is why we put together this list of four easy ways to save money on your travels.
- Save money on food. A snack in the car is probably one of the best things about road tripping. Instead of grabbing smaller bags at the gas station, purchase bigger bags of snacks at a grocery store beforehand. Take a smaller water bottle to drink from for hydration but refill it with a gallon-size water jug you can keep in your back seat or trunk. Also, if possible, do some meal planning and take a cooler with you. Enjoy your meals at a rest stop or a local park on your route. Make sure to stretch your legs while you’re there, too.
- Save money on fuel and driving. Install an app on your phone that helps locate the cheapest gas in the area. Filling up in larger cities and towns is usually less expensive than remote areas, but several apps are out there that keep those numbers up to date so you can know for sure. To save on tolls, use the option to avoid tolls on your GPS. For example, if you’re traveling from Central Pennsylvania to Chicago, it will add about an hour to your travel time, but you’ll save over $100 in avoided tolls.
- Save money on hotels. If you take a more extended trip, pack the night before and leave first thing in the morning. That will help you avoid rush hour traffic, so that you can make it to your destination in one day. If you know you will have to stay overnight somewhere, try to plan your trip so that you can stay with a friend or a family member along the way. If you absolutely must stay at a hotel overnight, check promo codes for accommodations, book an Airbnb or consider camping out for a night under the stars.
- Save money with friends. If you’re heading out somewhere, see if a friend or two wants to join. Stick to the thrifty road trip ideas above, but also consider splitting the costs evenly with your friends for gas, tolls and accommodations. If everyone likes the same food and snacks, you can split the costs there as well. Make sure to set clear expectations upfront when you ask your friend(s) to travel with you so they know beforehand they would be sharing costs. Also, let them know they can pick the music half the time, too. It’s only fair.
Saving money on a road trip is even easier with our Visa Platinum® Rewards credit card. It gives you 2% cashback on all gas and groceries, 1% cashback on all other purchases, no annual fee and a low-interest rate. It is a great card for people who love the open road. If you are interested in a Visa credit card or getting a quote on auto insurance through Members 1st, get in touch with us.