AAA estimates over 36 million US consumers will hit the road this Memorial Day holiday weekend and travel 50 miles or more. National gas prices are hovering around $3.65 per gallon and will peak during the holiday weekend. In addition, 140,000,000 Americans plan to travel this summer (that is nearly half of the Americans in the country). Considering rising gas prices, an ill-managed road trip can be an expensive adventure.
To help you get away with less stress and less spending, consider these smart road trip tips compiled by Consumer Savings Expert Andrea Woroch.
Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. She has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC’s Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. You can follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.
- Service your vehicle, check air pressure for optimal gas mileage, and make sure you have a spare tire, jack and jumper cables.
- Alert your bank and credit card company of your trip with the cities you plan to visit. This will help the company monitor fraud but also ensure you have access to your funds.
- Download the Roadtrippers App to find landmarks, hiking trails and other notable stops along the way.
- Stock a cooler with bottled water, soda and snacks. You can always find bags of ice at rest stops to keep the goods chilled and keep food and drink costs low.
Reduce Fuel Costs
- Budget for fuel expenses and download the GasBuddy app to find the best-priced gas stations wherever you go.
- Keep cash handy as many gas stations charge 10-cents more per gallon for credit cards. Plus, you’ll avoid any risk of card skimming fraud.
- Take advantage of grocery and retail gas reward programs. Kmart’s FuelRewards offers 30-cents off gas coupons for every $50 spent, while Walmart recently introduced their Gas Rollback Program, providing 15-cents off per gallon when you use a Walmart Credit Card, MoneyCard or Bluebird by AmEx card.
Collect Dining Deals
- Download the Coupon Sherpa mobile app and use the “nearby” function to map out restaurants near you that offer coupons. Or, print restaurant coupons before you hit the road.
- Before you head out, search for daily deals at your destination for dining and save 40 to 60-percent off.
- Stock up on discount gift cards to restaurants from sites like GiftCardGranny.com and save up to 30-percent off popular eateries, coffee shops, ice cream parlors and more.
Spend Less on Lodging
- For last-minute bookings, download the HotelTonight app for luxury accommodations at up to 70-percent off.
- When planning ahead, book through Hotels.com to build rewards toward a free night’s stay and take advantage of the site’s price match policy when you send them a link for proof.
- Consider camping! You can find various camp sites along your route through CampingRoadTrip.com. Make sure to pack a tent and a few sleeping bags!
Mind Your Mobile Data
- Accessing maps, reading reviews and sharing photos on social media may cause you to exceed your mobile data plan and the overage fees can be tremendous!
- Download map directions at home or from a hotel WiFi so you use up data when looking for directions, and enable your WiFi locator so you can find free connections en route.
- Track data usage and set alerts when nearing the cap with the 3GWatchdog App for Android and DataMan App for iPhone. Verizon, AT&T & Sprint allow you to check data usage in real time by dialing a special number, too.