I have three small children, and getting them packed to go anywhere is a huge feat, much less to go out of state (therefore we don’t travel very often). However, we took our first road trip in a very long time over Labor Day weekend, and it was pretty successful.
Whether you are a frequent road tripper or only an occasional one, there are many things that you can do to save money while you are on the road.
Save Money on Gasoline
1. Download a gasoline savers app. Gasbuddy.com detects your location and offers updated gasoline prices at stations all over the U.S. and Canada.
2. If downloading an app isn’t for you, Walmart offers discounts for purchasing their gasoline via gift cards. Currently it’s a 10 cent discount. Considering South Carolina’s gas prices are among the lowest in the nation, it might be worth your while to find Walmart gas stations along your route. (The area where we traveled to had gas prices that were easily 30 cents more per gallon than we have here at home.)
3. Before your trip, take your car to be serviced. Proper car maintenance, including maintaining the correct tire inflation, using the right motor oil for your vehicle, and having your engine tuned up can improve your gas mileage by as much as 4 percent.
4. While driving, maintain the posted speed limit and try to avoid excessive stop and go traffic. Using cruise control helps with your car’s fuel economy.
* For additional tips, check out Fuel Economy, a website maintained by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Save Money on Snacks
1. Pack a cooler bag full of yours and your kids’ favorite snacks. Raid the pantry or scour the sales ads and coupons for deals prior to hitting the road. By doing so, you avoid the convenience store traps of high prices and unhealthy foods.
2. Bring sippy cups or Tervis tumblers with lids so that you can refill your own beverages. Juice boxes are expensive, and our family members are water drinkers. My children each have their own Tervis tumbler and we kept them within their arm’s reach on our recent trip. They didn’t really seem to need to go to the restroom any more frequently than normal; which was my fear when we brought these along. And it kept whining of “I’m thirrrrrrsty!” at bay.
Save Money on Lodging
1. Use the internet to help find a deal on lodging. Our recent trip was 10 hours one way, which we attempted on a school day after my kindergartener had been up since 6:30 a.m. By 2 a.m., he was absolutely miserable. My husband and I decided to save everyone a little sanity and broke our trip up into two legs on the way home. We stopped halfway at a motel. Using hotels.com, we saved a little money on a room for the night, and had continental breakfast before we left.
2. Make phone calls to hotels around your intended to stop to see what kind of deals they may be willing to offer. My husband and I have successfully navigated cheaper rates when our travel times are close. Smaller chains may be willing to offer amenities or less expensive rates to entice you to stay. After all, they’d rather make some money rather than none.
Traveling with kids doesn’t have to be expensive, hopefully using these tips will help you save a little money the next time you road trip! Happy (and safe) travels!
Got any other hints? Share them in the comments!