The holidays are nearly upon us, which means it’s time for shopping, baking and list-making once again. And if you’re like most people, the holiday season is also a time for road tripping, spending time with relatives and friends that live at least three hours away.
However, while traveling by car can be fun and far less expensive than flying, the costs can easily add up, too, if you don’t plan your trip well. So to help you keep costs down and make the holidays a festive season for you and your wallet, here are six money-saving tactics you can try before and during long drives.
Properly fill your tires up before you leave
Maintaining proper tire pressures can help improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3%. It also reduces the possibility of an unwanted roadside stop. To find the recommended pressure for your tires, check your owner’s manual or on the driver’s side door jamb. Use a pressure gauge to check if you have the correct pressures or not. If the pressure is inadequate, be sure to fill it up to the correct levels.
Fuel is undoubtedly the costliest part of your road trip. There are many ways to save money on gas, including using GasBuddy, an app that helps you locate the cheapest gas in your area. Filling up your tank before you leave is also an indirect way of saving money because it takes away the temptation of stopping by at gas stations and getting inside to buy snacks or soda.
Plan your travel time
With the holiday rush, roads can be busy, resulting in stop-and-go traffic that will make your engine run less efficiently. You can avoid this by choosing your travel time wisely. The hours from 7 to 9am and 4 to 6pm are the busiest, so better travel before or after these times. Also, when passing through big cities or even towns, be aware if there are festivals or events that will take place so you can find alternative routes and not get stuck in traffic. This could save you time and money.
The obvious reason for this is to avoid an expensive speeding ticket. But there’s more—slowing down is also one way to make your car more fuel efficient. While driving at speed will give you some time advantage, you will end up going for another stop to the gas station because the faster you drive, the less fuel efficient your vehicle will become.
Bring only what you need
Whether you’re headed out for a weekend or a week-long trip, make sure you only pack what you need. Aside from helping you easily track your things, packing lightly saves you money on gas since an extra 100 pounds of junk can cost up to 2% of your fuel economy.
Be prepared for possible emergencies
You’ll never know what will happen to you on the road, so it’s essential that you remain prepared. Pack a first aid kit in case someone gets sick, bring food and snacks, as well as entertainment that will help you get through a long drive. Being ready with a list of contacts in case you get yourself in a car-related emergency is also advisable, such as the number of service providers offering roadside assistance, cheap tires, and other products.
A little bit of planning and a few smart choices will protect you from unnecessary costs of a holiday road trip. Using these tips, you’ll arrive at your destination with your wallet still healthy!
Photo courtesy of: tookapic