While Labor Day is quickly approaching, gas prices are not quickly falling. According to AAA’s fuel report the national average for gas prices is $2.73 for regular unleaded. Missouri’s average is $2.51. Those prices sound wonderful when you are buying a cup of coffee or a blueberry muffin, but when you are paying that much money for every gallon in your car they do not sound so appealing. This can make traveling expensive. Thankfully, there are numerous simple and effective ways to cut the cost of road trips. Here are five ways to get you started:
1. Bring your own food and drinks.
Even if you’re going on a romantic getaway and have created a budget just for eating out, you can always bring your own snacks and drinks for the drive. If you buy snacks along the way, you are most likely going to have to pay more for them than you would when you are home.
2. Find hotel deals or camp.
If you already know the route you are taking, look up hotels on sites such as hotwire.com and orbitz.com. Or you can stay the ultimately cheap way – camp! Camping is a great alternative to staying in hotels because it is much cheaper and adds to the adventure of the trip. If you’re out of the house, you might as well be outdoors.
3. Always check on discounts.
If you have any cards or are part of any organizations, such as AAA or AARP, use them as much as possible. Many hotels, campgrounds, restaurants, and attractions accept these memberships for discounts. If you are not a member of any of these organizations, search for coupons available online for the places you’d like to go. It takes a bit more time and effort, but it will definitely save you money.
4. Try to find low cost activities.
Look into activities on the way that may be free. It doesn’t need to expensive to be fun! Often you can find places such as zoos and museums that are free and you only have to pay for parking. Try to find places that are within walking distance so that you only have to pay one parking fee for all of the events.
5. Don’t make unnecessary stops.
It’s always good to stop at sights along the way to take pictures and have fun. Stopping to enhance your road trip is well worth it. However, stopping unnecessarily can take away from the trip. Stopping to go to the bathroom, have the car worked on, or because a police officer caught you going a bit too fast does not make for a fun or cheap road trip. If possible, keep bathroom stops synched with gas stops. You will save on fuel costs and have more time to enjoy the trip by doing this. Having your car serviced before you leave can decrease the chances of any unexpected complications. And of course, always remember to keep it safe and within reason of the law. Nothing ruins a road trip or provides a higher, unexpected cost than a ticket.
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