8 Ways to Save on Your Summer Road Trip

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Summer is officially here! That means road trips are imminent and costly if you don’t plan them well.

Hitting the road spells freedom, but it also demands discipline, as it’s so easy to visit a variety of places. The more places you visit, the more you tend to spend. Whether traveling Route 66 or the scenic route through a small town, traveling can get expensive. So, here are tips to take with you on the road this summer that could help make your summer travels more favorable to your spending.

1. Have a Budget

Hopefully, before you hit the road, you planned a budget. Saving for your vacation in advance gives you the funds you need to enjoy it without having to use money from your emergency fund or money intended for other means. Don’t be reckless with your budget. It’s so easy to overspend, so paying attention to every dollar you spend is essential. Plan everything you intend to do on the trip. Rethink anything that looks like it will take you over your budget.

2. Plan Free Activities

Wherever you decide to go this summer, don’t depend solely on paid attractions and activities. Budget travel doesn’t have to be boring, either. There are plenty of places and landmarks you can visit that won’t cost anything. So, when considering where to go this summer, consider things like National parks, museums, and community festivals and expos. Your entire vacation doesn’t have to revolve around free activities, but knowing you can plan some fun free activities for your trip will help keep the cost down.

3. Book Accommodations in Advance

When you book air travel, the closer you are to your departure date, the more the flight will cost. The same applies to your lodging. Book your reservations ahead of time to save money if you plan to stay in a hotel. The sooner you book, the better the deal.

4. Buy Snacks Ahead of Time 

Don’t plan to buy snacks at expensive convenience stores or gas stations when you gas up. Buy your snacks at places you’re sure to pay less, like Walmart or Dollar stores. You can even make your own snack bags to bring with you.

Sure, you want to eat well while you’re on vacation but to do that, you can’t spend your money frivolously.

5. Plan Your Route

Know how you’re getting to where you’re going. Knowing the best routes to take can save money on gas and tolls. Gas is one of the priciest road trip expenses, with the price of gas still relatively high. You’ll likely have to fill up multiple times between traveling to and from your destination and throughout your stay.

6. Save Money on Gas with The Upside App

The Upside app can help save you money on gas as you’ll earn cash back at selected locations — more than 50,000 locations nationwide. With a reach like that, you’re sure to find a gas station that will earn you cash back using the app.

The Upside app is free and easy to use. Once you get the app, you find the gas stations nearest you that will honor the app. Use the card to purchase your gas, and get cash back with each gallon of gas you put in your car. There’s no limit on how much cash back you can earn; it works with other coupons, discounts, and loyalty programs!

7. Redeem Travel Points/Rewards

If you’re using a card that rewards you with travel points, now’s the time to redeem them. It can be easy to forget the rewards you accumulate through your credit card, but you should make them part of your travel budget.

No reward points? Then use a cash-back credit card like the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card to earn rewards with every swipe. You’ll earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on ALL purchases, plus a one-time $200 cash bonus after spending $500 on purchases within three months of account opening. (There’s a student version too)

8. Use Fetch Rewards for Free Cash

Fetch Rewards is an app that gives you points for doing what you’re bound to do anyway — shopping. Scan up to 35 recipes over a seven-day period on Fetch and reap your reward points. Your virtual receipts count too!

Redeem your points for gift cards from a variety of brands you know and love:

  • Amazon
  • Target
  • Walmart
  • Starbucks
  • Ulta Beauty
  • CVS
  • Dunkin
  • Airbnb
  • Chipotle
  • Uber
  • And more

Scan any receipt from groceries, shopping, and restaurants!  Enjoy your vacation on someone else’s dime. And yes, Fetch Rewards is free to use!

The Bottom Line

Road trips can be expensive, but they don’t have to be when planning them correctly. Take these tips into account before hitting the road this summer or anytime!

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