Planning a Cheap Summer Vacation: Driving Tips
Are you ready to start planning your summer vacation? If your vacation destination is within a reasonable distance to your home, you may consider driving. If so, continue reading on a for few moneysaving tips. With the poor economy and most Americans on a budget, don’t pay more for your summer vacation than you need to!
So, how can you reduce the cost of driving when on a budgeted summer vacation?
First, you need to decide whether you want to drive your own car or rent one. This will be a tough decision. You may feel more comfortable with your own vehicle. It will be cheaper. You just pay for gas. However, is your car brand new? How many miles will you be adding and how much will it depreciate in value? What about wear and tear? Is it worth it? For most, it is a personal decision. Just be sure to keep the costs in mind, especially if you are on a strict budget.
Become an AAA member, also known as Triple A. This membership has many benefits. The greatest is roadside assistance. What if your car breaks down? Will you be left stranded in an unknown place? Not if you have a good membership. Yes, you could easily pay $100, but remember that you are covered for at least one year. Not only do you get roadside assistance, but many hotels, restaurants, and car rental companies have discounted rates for AAA members.
Get your car serviced beforehand. This may seem like an added expense, but it will be worth it if driving an older car. Make sure your vehicle will make the trip in one piece. If you are familiar with cars or know someone who is, opt for this instead. It will be cheaper. Check the pressure in the tires, change your oil, and so forth. A well serviced and functioning car makes it easier and cheaper to drive to your summer vacation destination.
Don’t stop at the first gas station you see. Gas prices vary greatly. They are usually more expensive right by highways and interstates. You could easily save .10 cents a gallon by driving a few minutes down the street. Unless you are in a hurry or concerned for your safety, do not opt for the first gas station you see. In fact, if you stop for dinner, look at the gas stations along the way and compare prices. When heading pack to the interstate or highway, stop at the station with the cheapest prices.
Pack your own snacks and drinks from home. On extended road trips, many travelers opt for dinner at a rest stop. Yes, this is convenient, but very costly. Your best bet is to bring food from home. Pack a cooler filled with ice, drinks, sandwich meat, and condiments. Stop at the rest stop areas, but only use their picnic tables. You may be surprised how much money this saves! At the very least, bring your own snacks and drinks. These too are expensive at convenience store, especially near interstates.
Have a map, navigation system, or someone you can call for directions back home. Getting lost is common when on a summer vacation. You may want to drive around to find the cheapest gas or take a shortcut to avoid a traffic jam. That is okay, but not if you get lost. You may put your safety at risk and then there are the added travel costs. It is best to stay on your preset path, but only venture off if you have a way to avoid getting lost.
In short, there are many ways to reduce the cost of driving to your summer vacation destination. Luckily, these steps are easy to implement. Better yet, driving is usually the cheaper alternative for most. Airlines have been suffering financial losses for years. They are trying to avoid additional losses by charging higher rates and tacking on additional fees. Save your money this summer. If you can drive to your vacation destination, do it!