When gas is expensive, that ski trip you had planned suddenly seems less appealing. You worry your entire travel budget will be used to fill up your tank. Though gas prices remain high, you don’t have to let that stop you from exploring new places.
There are many ways to travel more affordably during these inflationary times. Whether you do something as simple as achieving better fuel economy, tracking your spending, or finding other ways to travel your destination; there are a lot of way for you to realize your travel dreams without emptying your wallet at the gas station. Keep reading to learn how!
1. Track Your Spending
One way to make the most of your travel budget is to track your spending. With gas prices constantly fluctuating, don’t swipe your debit card without thinking ahead. Establish how much you have to spend on food, gas, and activities and stay within that budget.
Some people keep track of their food budget using cash so they can see what they have left at their disposal. If you use a debit card, look at your charges in real time to see where you’re currently spending money.
A lot of online banks offer budget tracking tools for people like us. You can also check out apps like Every Dollar or Mint to help you keep tabs on how much you spend day-to-day.
2. Plan Your Meals
Eating healthy while on the road isn’t always easy. But you can control your costs in some ways, like how you eat and what you buy. If fuel is eating into your budget, pack a cooler with cold cuts, vegetables, water, and soda.
Instead of dining out for every meal, you can make sandwiches for roadside picnics. Packing a cooler is also better than just stopping at fast food places along the interstate.
3. Drive Straight Through
Sometimes it’s better to drive instead of fly, especially if you’re simply making a quick trip. Instead of stopping for a hotel halfway through, head straight for your destination and save money. If there are two drivers, a 10-hour road trip isn’t too strenuous as long as you can split the driving time.
Leaving earlier in the morning will give you more hours of daylight to enjoy your destination at the end of your journey, and starting that day with fewer people on the road means less traffic jams and standstills–which helps you make it to your destination sooner and spend less time idling so your gas mileage is boosted.
4. Be Mindful of Your Lead Foot
You not only waste money on gas, but also your fuel economy if you’re constantly speeding and braking.
Your best fuel economy will be found at speeds of 50 mph. Easing on to the gas and brakes—not over-accelerating or slamming the breaks—is more beneficial for your gas tank. If you have cruise control, use it on the highway to ensure efficiency. If you don’t, stay at a steady speed when cruising around town.
5. Don’t Turn Everything Up Full Blast
Practicing eco-driving can save you money in a number of ways. For starters, some practices impact your fuel usage. Driving with the AC at arctic temps, leaving the radio playing on full blast, plugging all your devices in to charge while driving, or carrying items that you won’t use are all examples of this.
These habits are particularly bad for your car and can cause heavy damage to the engine. Unfortunately there’s not much you can do about the weight of your vehicle – but you can avoid carrying too many unnecessary items with you when you drive so that it doesn’t use up more gas.
If you don’t plan on going golfing or to book sale before heading out on a trip, leave those things behind before hitting the highway.
6. Adjust Your Driving Habits
As gas prices rise, it can be difficult to stay within your budget. To help you spend less on gas, try choosing the more fuel-efficient of your two vehicles for a given trip. If you plan to camp, there’s a good chance you’ll have to take the SUV so you don’t have to carry all your gear manually.
Keep in mind that if you intend to stay at hotels during your vacation, with a sedan your expenses should be much lower.
7. Tune Up Your Car
To prep your car for a cross-country adventure, it’s a good idea to give it the full once-over. That includes changing the spark plugs and checking the tire alignment.
You should also fill up on regular gasoline instead of premium at this point because most cars do not require top level fuel. You can also opt out of buying gas altogether by renting an electric or electric/hybrid vehicle.