Road trips are a great way to create new and exciting memories and what better time of year to head out on an adventure than the three weeks after one winter has ended and the next one begins. However, before you get over-excited by the discovery of the big burning ball in the sky, take a look at these road trip hacks that will help you to save your hard-earned money while on the road.
#1. Get Your Vehicle Serviced Before Leaving
It is essential to get your vehicle checked out before you embark on your next big road trip adventure. Making sure that your tires are aired to the proper PSI, your oil is full and fresh, and that rattle from underneath the hood is taken care of before your trip can save you costly emergency roadside assistance later on. It will also prevent you from spending money on accommodations if you are stranded, as well as food and entertainment to keep the little ones under control.
#2. Pack Your Own Snacks
Snack options are limited while you are on the road, so often people will pull into the nearest restaurant or fast food joint as soon as their tummy begins to rumble. These stops can add up, especially if you end up picking up some overpriced snacks at the gas station. Save yourself money by packing your own sandwiches and snacks to hold you over.
If you are short on ideas for snacks that will keep everyone happy, be wallet-friendly, and not coat the inside of your vehicle with food, check out my “Road Trip Snacks” post.
#3. Look for the Best Gas Prices
If you are traveling with at least one other person, have them be your gas buddy. Just have them enter your current location on GasBuddy.com to look up nearby gas prices. The trick here is to make sure that you check gas prices before you are running on empty though, otherwise, you will have to pull over at the nearest station, and they may cost several cents per litre or more.
This is especially true if you live somewhere like the lower mainland in British Columbia. Here the tax system means you will pay $1.59.9 a litre on Oak Street while you will pay $1.42.9 in Abbotsford. So research before you go and plan to fill up where it is cheapest.
#4. Use Cruise Control
Using cruise control will help you maintain a steady speed. By using your cruise control on flat roads you can improve your gas mileage and improve your fuel economy by around 3%. Just make sure the roads are clear and dry and that you are paying full attention.
There has been a lot of discussion in the press about vehicles with driver assist and the safety of this systems. Remember, driver assist, cruise control or any other similar function does not mean you can relinquish control of your vehicle to the computer. The driver should always remain alert to what is going on on the road around them and able to respond immediately to any occurrence.
#5. Know Your Route
Of course, you know where you are going, but do you know the exact route you will take to get there? Knowing your path will prevent you from having to drive further to the next exit or getting stuck in a one-way system that takes you where you don’t want to go. It is also a good idea to look into your route to know what kind of detours you may encounter.
Don’t rely on typing the name of a town into your GPS and blindly following it either. Actually check the route you will be taking before you leave, or you could end up in Trout Lake Alberta instead of Trout Lake British Columbia.
At the end of the day, planning your trip is the best way to save money on a road trip. It’s no secret that you’re paying for convenience a lot of times. Even if you are taking a spontaneous trip, do a little bit of planning, so you’re not paying out the wazoo for something you could have paid pennies for.