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7 Road Trip Budget Busters to Avoid This Summer

Having a road trip budget is crucial for Smart Mamas! This summer we set off on #SmartyPantsTravels Road Trip! We will drive from Miami to Asheville, NC and then visit cities such as Savannah and Ponte Vedra, Florida. We will need to be careful before we run out of gas money!

We love weekend road trips. But this summer will be an extra long road trip – an 11 hour road trip (one-way) has me a bit nervous.  How tiring will the driving be? How much will we spend on gas and hotels? (I miss the ease of a family cruise when all this included!) I know that I’ll need to add more games to my list of 5 Road Trip Games before we head out!

AAA projects that more than 38 million consumers drove 50 miles or more from home during Memorial Day weekend. This travel volume is a record and the most since 2005.  Will your family be on the road this summer? How will you keep a good road trip budget?

AAA shares their 7 road trip busters for summer travel.

Road Trip Budget Busters

Gas

Even though gas prices are at record lows, demand during popular travel days, like Fridays and holiday weekends, cause prices at the pump to go up. To avoid spending more  over Memorial Day, fuel up ahead of the weekend on Wednesday when you can expect lower prices before the travel rush. Since you will need to refill your tank throughout  the trip, use the GasBuddy App to quickly find the cheapest gas prices along your route.

Rest stop snacks and drinks.

Making pit stops to use the restroom inevitably turns into a shopping spree at the rest area’s mini mart. While picking up a snack here and there seems harmless, these  little charges will add up quickly. According to USAToday, road trippers can expect to spend around $20 for breakfast, $5 for a gas station snack and drink, and between 

Under-inflated tires.

40 percent of passenger cars have at least one under-inflated tire and this commonly overlooked auto maintenance issue is not just dangerous, it can be costly too. Proper  inflation not only extends the life of your tires, but it also ensures fuel efficiency. This means, you’ll use less gas and avoid potentially pricey roadside assistance.  Take the extra step to have a mechanic run a routine maintenance check of your entire car to ensure it’s running properly. After all, you don’t want to get stuck on the  side of the road in the middle of nowhere!

Data-overage penalties.

A smartphone is a tool many travelers rely on for accessing driving directions, capturing memories, sharing updates with friends and family, and finding things to do and  see along the way.  All of these activities, however, will eat up your data and may cause you to pay pricey overage fees. Reduce data use by turning off app push  notifications and stay connected on-the-go using the Free Wi-Fi Finder app. Monitor data usage with 3GWatchdog App and  DataMan App to avoid overage penalties.

Lodging fees.

Driving to your destination is one of the cheapest ways to travel, but your hotel and their pesky fees like parking and WiFi could blow your entire budget. A much more  affordable option is to go camping. You can find free and inexpensive camping areas in lots of popular destinations. Review options and call ahead to make a reservation  through sites like ReserveAmerica.com and CampingRoadTrip.com. Make sure to pack a tent  and a few sleeping bags!

Last-minute Hotel Costs.

Whether you delayed planning the trip or find yourself stuck in a town without a hotel reservation, you can find last-minute deals using the HotelTonight app. Otherwise,  check Hotels.com for nearby available rooms and search for coupon codes before you book. For example, you can use a  Hotels.com promo code from Coupon Sherpa to save  30% plus an extra $45 off your $300 purchase through Memorial Day. 

Spontaneity.

Road tripping without a plan seems like an exciting way to approach your Memorial Day adventure. However, driving around aimlessly can get tiresome and put added strain  on your budget. Create the best of both worlds with apps like Roadtrippers or Field Trip,  both of which highlight landmarks and attractions along your route. These tools enable you to set off on your road trip without a destination in mind while ensuring you  make the most of your experience (and your budget).  

Thank you AAA for sharing your tips to keep our road trip budget in line! Looking forward to using them this summer! 

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6 comments

  1. Melissa chapman 16 June, 2016 at 20:46 Reply

    Thank you so much for putting together this invaluable resource tip list! Some of these are completely new to me and I can’t wait to make use of them on our next summer road trip!

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