Watch the Talk of the Town video from the June 8 show: Saving on Summer Road Trips
Are you joining me after seeing my segment on Saving on Summer Road Trips on Talk of the Town today?
Gas prices have actually taken a small dip lately, which makes it the perfect time to start planning that summer road trip! Unfortunately, we know gas isn’t the only expense you incur while driving from state to state, so here are a few helpful tips to help you save money no matter which way you’re headed on the highway.
SAVE ON AUTO
*Extend Your Gas Mileage
-Take car in for tune up before you leave (look for coupon at national chain in mail or on web or offer to pay dealer in cash for 10% discount)
-Check that tires are at optimal pressure (recommendations are usually on inside of door)
-Opt for route with more highway driving and less traffic lights
-Use cruise control
-Don’t idle with the engine on for longer than a minute
-Keep your trunk weight to a minimum (your laundry will thank you for traveling lighter too!)
*Save on Gas
-Use websites like http://gasbuddy.com/ to find out where the cheapest places are to stop for gas
-Research where you can use your Warehouse Club & store rewards cards to save on gas along your route (like Sams Club, Costco, Kroger/Shell Fuel, etc)
-Look into gift card deals at your local grocery store before you go (often they will sell gas cards at a discount when you buy a certain amount of store gift cards).
SAVE ON HOTELS
*Along the Route
The ideal is to find something safe, clean AND NEW! (Our favorite is Holiday Inn Express!)
-Look for billboards announcing hotels that are “new” or “renovated” – even some of the most modest hotels & motels are a better choice than known brands if they’ve been recently remodeled!
-Call ahead to the front desk manager directly rather than going through the 800 number or online reservations. They almost always will at least give you their “corporate rate” when you do this.
-Compare rates for the same chain just a few miles from each other. We saved $20 on our last trip simply by calling hotels on adjacent exits and comparing their rates (even though they were the same brand!)
-Look for ADDED VALUE: hotels that also offer some sort of free breakfast and/or free WiFi
*At Your Destination
-Check with the city’s Chamber of Commerce to see if they have a feature hotel or special discount code they can offer you
-Start looking at those Daily Deal Sites (Groupon, Sharing Spree, etc) for hotel deals about 1-2 months before your trip
-Call the hotel manager or concierge to see if they’re offering any bundles (hotel + theater tickets or restaurant offers)
-Always ask the front desk or concierge if they partner with any local venues for discounts. They almost always will have ‘coupons’ for free drinks/appetizers at restaurants or special discount for local cultural centers.
Save on Restaurants
*On the Road
-Don’t assume the coupons you get in the mail for fast food won’t work on the road. Chances are they’ll accept them out of your area as well!
*Travel around your birthday – many restaurants and chains offer freebies on your birthday that make for great road food!
*Pack snacks – don’t rely on gas station goodies to fuel your body. Make homemade granola bars, roasted nuts, cereal squares and more to take with you in the car. Pack that with some wraps, dried fruit, organic lollipops and popcorn for some great treats that will keep well in the heat and keep you from getting the munchies!
*At Your Destination
-Check out Restaurant.com before you leave for restaurants at your destination and get $25 gift certificates as cheap as $2!
-Get the E-MEALZ vacation plan – feed up to 12 people for a fraction of the cost! (and grab the special SamiCone.com discount code!)
-Mention it’s your first time there and you may get a freebie! The Maggiano’s in Orlando gave us free fried zucchini because it was our first time there and it was delicious!
-Split an entrée. When you’re traveling, you’re off your normal routine, so you don’t want to eat too heavily. Splitting an entrée will not only save money, but you won’t feel as guilty when you split that dessert either!
Other favorite tip:
-Look for weekend festivals: summertime is notorious for fun festivals, whether music, food or crafts. Usually you will be able to find travel deals in the city hosting the festival, plus you’ll save a ton ‘sampling’ music or food at a festival compared to eating at that restaurant or going to a concert.
Special thanks to Fresh Produce for my dress today (and for all my readers voting on which one I should wear!), Robyn Rhodes for my beautiful “Amber” necklace & Heather at Surreal Hair Studio for making my hair look great!
Watch my other Talk of the Town segments to find some other great tips too!