Gas prices are soaring. Here’s how to save money on car trips.
When Should You Consider Hovering Driving
Whether by plane or by car will be more profitable depends on your destination. “I think the best advice we would give travelers is to compare the two,” said AAA spokeswoman Ellen Edmonds, who noted that airfares can be affected by higher fuel costs.
Kerry Mooneyham, owner of travel agency Midwest Travel Solutions, said that typically when traveling less than 700 or 800 miles with more than two people, “it will always be cheaper to drive than to take the ‘plane”.
She said online tools such as Calculator.net’s fuel cost calculator can help travelers determine the cost of gasoline. Edmonds also noted that AAA’s TripTik trip planner, accessible online or through the organization’s mobile app, allows users to map their road trip to get a rough estimate of what they might spend on fuel.
Even once behind the wheel, there are ways to cut costs. Edmonds said for most cars, fuel economy peaks at around 50 miles per hour. Depending on where you drive, if you typically drive faster than that, she recommended reducing your speed to get closer to that range.
She also urged drivers to avoid excessive idling. “If you’re going to be stopped for a little over a minute, it’s actually best to turn your car off and then turn it back on,” she said. By doing so, travelers can save fuel.
Edmonds added that some drivers might fill a car that can take regular gasoline with premium, thinking it improves performance. “That’s actually not the case,” she said. “You’re just wasting money.” That said, Edmonds noted, if your car requires premium gasoline, you should go for it. Your owner’s manual will contain this information, if you are unsure.
Sanna Boman, editor of Roadpass Digital, said in an email that travelers should take steps to maintain their vehicle, such as keeping tires properly inflated and checking pressure regularly, which can impact fuel economy. gasoline. She said not to pack more than necessary “since the extra weight will increase fuel consumption”.
Shop for the best gas prices
Tools like AAA’s TripTik can help users find gas stations and prices along their route, Edmonds said. Travelers can also search for gasoline using Google Maps or Waze, which displays fuel costs at different stations. Insurance company Geico has its own search engine that allows users to find gas stations near a given address with price breakdowns. They can also download applications such as Gas Guru or GasBuddy.
Gas prices change frequently, Edmonds said, and it’s worth checking them throughout your trip. She suggested looking for nearby stations when approaching a quarter tank of gas, as anything less than that “just isn’t good for your car.”
She also noted that gas stations located just off a major freeway tend to have higher prices. “So if you go maybe a mile or two down the road, you might find something a little cheaper.”
While many highways are dotted with travel-friendly dining options, consider packing your own. Before heading out, Boman recommended stocking up on food and drinks that make mealtime easier, like sandwiches, and bringing a cooler with you. Edmonds also suggested packing on-the-go snacks such as trail mix and yogurt.
“Not only does it save you money,” Boman said, “it also minimizes stops and saves you having to travel to find restaurants, which is especially helpful if you’re traveling to remote areas. .”
Emonds said some travelers might cook instead of going out if they’re staying somewhere where they can, and Mooneyham suggested booking a hotel with breakfast included in the rate. “You know, if you have a family of four, you save forty dollars,” she said.
To save on hotels, Boman recommended avoiding travel on busy weekends and during peak hours, with the added bonus that attractions won’t be as crowded. If you are traveling during these times, she suggested booking as early as possible.
Mooneyham echoed that, noting that during the summer travelers should book accommodation in advance rather than flying out. “It always makes sense to arrange the hotel ahead of time instead of just thinking, ‘Oh, we’ll find a place in Memphis,’ because maybe you will, maybe you won’t. “, she said.
Boman added: “If you’re open to alternative accommodations, it’s also worth looking into things like camping cabin rentals.”
Mooneyham said travelers might consider shortening their trip if a particular hotel’s rate is too high, staying fewer days in that destination and stopping elsewhere on the way, or finding cheaper accommodation. “I think if you can’t do what you really want to do on vacation, you’ve missed the mark,” Mooneyham said. “But there are ways to compromise with yourself.”