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Road Trip Money-Savings Tips

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Just because summer is done, doesn’t mean you’ve lost your chance for a road warrior adventure—Labor Day is just around the corner, which means an extra day for a free-wheeling journey!

Plus, if you’re reeling from some fun-time summer expenses and back-to-school bank account busters, there are ways to do an incredible road trip on a budget.


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Before you go, make sure you know how you’ll get there and how much it will cost each mile of the way.

“Once you calculate about how much gas will cost, you can determine how much of your budget remains for food, lodging, and sightseeing. Disburse the money accordingly, applying the bulk of your trip money toward those prioritized activities, and keep track of what you’re spending along the way,” reports MoneyCrashers.com writer Kristen Kuchar.

When planning your road trip, opt for a toll-free route with the aid of Internet mapping sites, vehicle GPS systems, old-school maps and guidebooks, and phone apps, advises HowStuffWorks.com writer Gerlinda Grimes.

“Americans’ ancestors dumped tea into Boston Harbor to protest taxation without representation. Now you too can stick it to the man by eschewing toll roads for more scenic routes. Tolls can be a significant road trip expense,” reports Grimes.


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Regular gas price fluctuations can make or break your road trip gas-spending budget.

“Gas is obviously one of the more prominent expenses on every road trip not involving a Prius. Nothing can halt a high-octane road-trip like a lack of affordable high-octane petro, so utilize apps like GasBuddy to check out the cheapest options on your route, and plan your re-fueling accordingly,” reports Thrillist.com writer Wil Fulton.

A vehicle breakdown will cost you time, money, and will be sure to squelch the joy of a road trip.

“Before the trip, be sure your car is in good condition. This not only saves money on gas, but it can keep you safe and help you avoid emergency repairs while on the road,” advises Kuchar.

Off-the-road stops for snacks and meals will ravenously eat into your road trip budget.

“Visit a grocery store and pick up some staples like PB&J ingredients, steer clear of eating inside heavy-tourist spots, and if you really want to try out a cool restaurant, opt for lunch instead of dinner for reduced pricing,” reports Fulton.

Plan your entertainment and sightseeing destinations with a “free” mindset.

“America is jam-packed with free and low-cost things to see and do; you just have to know where to look,” reports Grimes who recommends hitting the beach, finding free music shows, attending local festivals, and soaking up museum wonders on their free-admission days.

With these budget-savings tips, your next road trip will be unforgettable as well as kind to your bank account.

News Source: Money Crashers, How Stuff Works, Thrillist