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Money Savers for Car Trips
For most people, car trip vacations are saved up for and carefully planned. Not only do you want your car trip vacation to be memorable and fun, but oftentimes you want to be able to see and do as much as possible. Therefore, vacations are not the time to be wasting money on unnecessary items or services. Your best bet for vacations is to research your trip and plan to save as much money as possible. Road trip vacations are one type of vacation where saving money is possible and easy to do. Follow these simple steps and your road trip will be one of the best and cheapest you have ever taken.
One of the biggest areas where money can be saved on road trips is food. If you are traveling with kids (or adult fast food lovers), every time there is a golden arches sign on the highway you may be hearing choruses of "Stop! Stop!". By packing snacks and maybe even a picnic meal or two, you will save money on unnecessary stops for meals and snacks. Stop at a rest stop to stretch your legs and enjoy a picnic lunch. If you are going to make stops to eat out along your trip, keep in mind that many restaurants offer either discount prices for children (usually under the age of twelve) or deals where kids eat for free. Research this prior to the start of your trip and if you are planning on stopping at a restaurant to eat, plan your trip around these eateries. Not only will you know that your child will eat cheap, by researching the restaurant beforehand you will also have an idea of the types of food sold and whether or not everyone in your family, even the pickiest eater, will find something they like.
If you are traveling with children chances are you are going to be challenged to keep them amused along the way. Instead of stopping at attractions where you will have to pay an entrance fee, try to find free entertainment. Chances are there are upwards of hundreds of attractions along the way that not only will not cost you a dime to see, but will also amaze and entertain your children. However, some attractions that do cost money may be unavoidable. Theme parks and other major attractions will not be free but many do offer discount rates for children and senior citizens. It is a good idea to look into this before leaving. By having a plan of places to stop and knowing what kind of discounts are offered, you will be able to better keep track of your road trip vacation budget.
Filling your car with gasoline can be the most costly expense of your trip. With sky-high gas prices, the gas pump is definitely the place to try to save money. The smartest thing to do when buying gas is to use a credit card that offers rebates on the amount of gas purchased. Typically, nationwide gas station chains such as Mobil or Shell offer credit card rebates to frequent customers. Keep in mind if you are using Mobil you will have to find and only use Mobil stations on the road in order to use your rebate. But chances are if you choose a large gas station chain you will not run into any problems.
During some longer road trips you will have to stop overnight and find a place for lodging. By researching your lodging choices online prior to your road trip, you will be able to find a quality hotel or motel that offers reasonable nightly rates. At many hotels children stay free, so if you do have children in tow, make an extra effort to find a hotel with this amenity. It is also a good idea to try to book a room at the hotel that offers the most complimentary services. Many hotels offer complimentary continental breakfasts and some have snack bars set up as well. Hotels can also be useful in offering coupons and discount rates for local attractions and eateries.
Finally, make sure to abide by the posted speed limits along the way. Not only will driving slower help conserve expensive gasoline, it will also keep you from dropping unnecessary money on an unexpected speeding ticket.