How to Save Money on a Long Drive

Long drives, better known as road trips, are fun for the freedom and adventure they provide. From exploring new areas to eating at unique restaurants, they are an escape from the stresses of life. Budgeting for a long drive is important, as the cost of gas, food, hotels, and other things can add up quickly. Here are some pointers to save money on long drives.

Drive Safely

Accidents not only impact your safety, but they are very costly. Hospital bills, car repairs, rentals, and time away from work can cause a huge financial strain. One main culprit of car accidents is texting while driving. Most states make it illegal for drivers to text while driving. In fact, Kentucky and Tennessee are included in a group of 39 states where you’ll get a ticket for doing so. Staying safe on the road will also keep you from becoming a fatality statistic. According to Driver Knowledge, nearly 100 people die in a car accident every day. Other tips for safe driving include following the speed limit, keeping a safe distance from other cars, always wearing a seatbelt, and using turn signals when changing lanes.

Tune-Up Your Car Before You Go

A great way to prevent a costly breakdown on a long road trip is to have a tune-up done by a professional and reputable mechanic. Get an oil change, rotate the tires, and check other important components like the brakes and transmission. One way to tell if your transmission needs service is by looking at the mileage. According to the Transmission Repair Cost Guide, a transmission needs to be repaired on a car at about the 150,000 to 200,000-mile mark. Other things to have your mechanic check are the fluids, battery, belts and hoses, and lights. You’ll have peace of mind knowing your car is in good working condition before hitting the road.

Plan Your Stops

Research ahead where you’ll stop for gas, hotels, and food. You can save hundreds of dollars on your trip by filling up at cheaper gas stations, packing food, or staying in cheaper lodging. There are plenty of apps you can download on your phone to let you know the best deals in your area. Having a strategic plan can make your trip less stressful, knowing you’ll keep money in your pocket.

Pack Your Own Food

It’s tempting to stop at the Golden Arches or buy over-priced snacks at a gas station. A great tip to save money is to pack your own snacks for long drives. Pack a variety of snacks to keep them interesting and avoid the temptation to buy. Also, pick non-perishable snacks like trail mix, tuna packs, popcorn, protein bars, potato chips, dried fruit, and bottled water. Packing snacks is also critical if you are bringing kids on your road trip. Kids love to snack and always overpack these to keep them happy during the drive. Use the extra cash to put towards your vacation spot or other expenses.

Make a Checklist of Items to Pack

Always pack for your road trip when you’re well-rested and not at the last minute. Forgetting to pack an important item and needing to buy a new one will cause a lot of frustration. This is key for trips like camping, fishing, and hiking. Buying new sleeping bags, fishing poles, or hiking shoes can be very expensive!

Keep these tips in mind to supercharge your road trip and keep it economical. If you’re traveling somewhere you’ve never been, it’s important to remember to research the area. With a little planning and execution, your next long drive will not cost you an arm and a leg!