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Budget Now, Travel Later

Have you heard? Economists and other various “experts” are predicting summer gas prices to reach or exceed $5.00 per gallon. It’s almost starting to sound cliche as each time we approach vacation and road travel season, we hear about astronomical gas price potentials. Whether this happens or not, it’s always a good idea to plan ahead and save, especially if you are planning on traveling this summer.  We’ve put together a list of budget considerations and some thrifty ways some families are saving money while hitting the road.

Pre-Travel Budget Considerations

  1. tips to save money traveling 2012 high gas pricesAlways check your tires, proper air pressure, tread, and need for rotation are essential. Not only will this help you get the most efficient gas mileage, you’re more likely to arrive safely and without headaches along the way.
  2. Choose your most gas efficient vehicle that will also accommodate your family. If you are squished in and can’t move for 3 days, it may not be worth the savings. Instead, see if you can borrow or barter with a friend or grandparent for their vehicle. Can you house sit while they are on vacation, mow lawn or look after pets in exchange?
  3. Make sure your chosen vehicle has a a fresh oil change and tune-up before the long drive. You want to avoid towing charges or exorbitant repair expenses (and unbudgeted hotel stays, etc)  if you can anticipate any issues.
  4. When gas prices rise, so does the cost of food. Plan some meals and snacks that you can easily pack in coolers.
  5. Bring along refillable water bottles to use throughout the entire trip. Buying water along the way can really add to your costs.
  6. Some thrifty travelers map out their route, check out what supermarkets and/or restaurants are along the way, and then scout out coupons for discount prices when they arrive.
  7. Start shopping now for discount and sale items for your trip and start a stock pile, rather than buying jerky, granola bars, and pop at full price right before you leave.
  8. Use Google to estimate total mileage and then do the calculations of current gas prices, as well as projected cost per gallon. You’ll have a good idea of the cost of fuel, or you can try Gas Buddy’s Trip Cost Calculator.

Do you have a tip to share? How do you save money while traveling?

If you liked this post, you may be interested in “Rising Gas Prices: What Does It Mean for Your Family This Summer”