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  1. Default Five tips for saving money on road trip!!

    Many people like to go road trip, I like it too, but how to saving mony when going for trip? It is usually cost a lot, especially the car cost.Here are some tips may help you.

    1. Eschew the drive through:
    Running through Mickey D's racks up the road trip food bucks and it gets boring to boot. Stop in at Mom's Apple Pie Cafe sorts of spots for mega meals on the cheap instead. Look for early bird specials -- you and the old folks can find big dinners for a few bucks. Get off the main road for real cheap eats. Totally score on cheap street food at local celebrations like art-in-the-park type stuff -- look for balloons as you drive through towns.

    •More on road food
    2. Save on snacks:
    Snacks are big budget killers on road trips -- racks of Cheetos and Fritos at 99 cents are irresistible in convenience stores. Pick up cheaper chips at grocery stores (like Safeway) in economy-sized bags instead and get roughly twice as much for your money. Bring a cooler (styrafoam varieties are cheaper at WalMart than convenience stores) and load it up with sodas from the Publix rather than 7-11.
    3. Stay for free:
    Camping for free is as easy as pulling off in a National Forest and stretching out under the stars. If you prefer a roof, crash free on a couch with a like-minded free spirit host in safety with Couchsurfing's database.

    4. Find the cheapest gas:
    Check out some likely choices for cheap gas in advance with these gas cost calculators. Once on the road, you'll probably forget specific stations... remember town names from your research, and pull off at big clover leaf exits to compare gas prices at several spots.
    5. Save gas while driving:
    Follow a few simple gas-saving tips to save a lot of road trip money:
    •Turn off the AC -- it hogs the gas faster than you can say, "Four dollars a gallon?!" (Leaving four-wheel-drive engaged is also a gas-drainer.)

    •Ease off the pedal well before a stop sign and coast to a stop; take off in a mellow manner. Burning rubber burns gas needlessly.

    •Inflate tires to close to max -- carry a teeny tire gauge and read the tire's side.

    •Avoid floors-it-for-you cruise control.

    •Don't speed. Wastes gas and one ticket can destroy a summer road trip budget.
    Last edited by UKCraig; 05-26-2009 at 12:21 AM. Reason: removed ad link

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Green County, Wisconsin
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    13,063

    Default nice basics but...

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    That is a pretty solid list, although there are couple little things that should be clarified.

    Camping for free is as easy as pulling off in a National Forest and stretching out under the stars.
    Its not quite that easy. Even in National Forest lands, you can't assume that you can camp anywhere and everywhere. In many places you can, but you need to check with the rangers office to find out what the rules are for a particular area.

    Check out some likely choices for cheap gas in advance with these gas cost calculators
    There is one of those on the left side of every page on the RTA Forum!

    •Turn off the AC -- it hogs the gas faster than you can say, "Four dollars a gallon?!" (Leaving four-wheel-drive engaged is also a gas-drainer.)
    Actually, AC really doesn't burn that much extra gas in a modern car. At highway speeds, its actually more economical to use AC than to have the areodynamic drag of an open window.

    4 wheel drive should never be used on a dry highway or when you are traveling more than 50 mph. In addition to burning gas, you can start causing damage to your vehicle.

    •Inflate tires to close to max -- carry a teeny tire gauge and read the tire's side.
    Generally you are better off following your car makers recommendation for tire inflation. You can put in a few extra PSI for a few extra mpg (and a firmer right) but the tires max pressure is typically the most that should be applied in any situation and could make for a very uncomfortable trip.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
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    Default Best way to save on food

    In my opinion, eating out of your cooler is the best way to save money on food. Healthier, too. But your ideas for finding cheap eats is a good supplement to prepping your own food.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Joplin MO
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    Default

    At highway speeds, its actually more economical to use AC than to have the areodynamic drag of an open window.
    Mythbusters tested this - the break even speed is 45 mph.

    Generally you are better off following your car makers recommendation for tire inflation.
    Well, you can't really generalize here. Most cars and some light trucks have P-metric tires these days, which are stamped 35 psi maximum on the sidewall. You WILL get the best mileage at 35 psi, and with some exceptions, this will not trash the ride. If you have high performance or LT tires with higher pressures allowed, then you have to experiment to find a happy medium. If you are towing and/or carrying a full load, max them out. ALWAYS run ST-rated trailer tires at max, and do not exceed 65 mph when towing. NEVER put car tires on trailers.

    Avoid floors-it-for-you cruise control.
    This is going to cause arguments too. I, for one, will not take a trip without maximizing use of cruise control. To me, it's a lot less tiring than trying to concentrate on exactly what my right foot is doing, and reduces the likelihood of being stopped for speeding on downhill stretches. Also, to me it is VERY annoying dealing with people on the highways that are constantly speeding up and slowing down and not trying to maintain a reasonably constant speed. The way I feel, if you are that concerned about the difference between 28 mpg and 30 mpg, just drop it down 5 mph and use the cruise, and look a little harder for cheaper gas.

  5. Default

    Though I agree with most of your tips, I would argue a couple thing:
    Quote Originally Posted by raissazhou02 View Post
    1. Eschew the drive through:
    Running through Mickey D's racks up the road trip food bucks and it gets boring to boot.
    You can find decent-priced food at fast food restaurants: For example, a double hamburger (not talking Big Macs or Quarter Pounders, just plain old hamburger) is only .99 at McDonalds. I like to buy the McDonald's side-salads (from the $1 menu) and keep them in the cooler. A burrito at Taco Bell is only about a dollar. Buy-one-get-one-free coupons are widely available, and that makes the larger sandwiches pretty good prices. In general, you should ignore the big-name burgers and combos; those are the store's money-makers. Stick to a small sandwich, split some fries . . . and fast food is downright affordable. It'll be a little more than cooler food, and it isn't as healthy, but it's a nice break from make-it-yourself-sandwiches (and it doesn't take up precious space in your car).

    Where they make their profit is in sodas! An average sized soda is usually closer to $2 than $1. So how to "win" this game? Simple: Buy the food, then drink your own grocery-store purchased sodas from your cooler.

    Another good option is to get kids' meals for everyone. Our McDonalds and our Chickfillet have .99 kids' meal nights once a month, and on those nights my husband always brings home dinner for the four of us for $4.

    Admittedly, a McD's double hamburger isn't all that big a meal but it's plenty for me -- unless we're talking about a high-energy day of hiking or other physical activity. But then, I'm 5' nothing -- so are my daughters -- and we don't need that many calories.
    Quote Originally Posted by raissazhou02 View Post
    •Turn off the AC -- it hogs the gas faster than you can say, "Four dollars a gallon?!" (Leaving four-wheel-drive engaged is also a gas-drainer.)
    My engineer husband says, "No way", to this one. The drag caused by the open car windows outweighs the gas savings. There are loads of other ways to save.

  6. #6
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    Mar 2005
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    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
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    Default I agree, Mrs. Pete

    Good tips on how to eat fastfood cheaply and more nutritiously. While I try not to make it a habit, I will sometimes zip into a fastfood place for something off their dollar menu. Like you said, a cheeseburger for a buck can be filling if you've been sitting a lot. No need for fries and provide your own drink from the cooler. If I need more, I'll supplement with something more healthy out of my cooler like a piece of fruit or something.

  7. #7
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    Default

    My engineer husband says, "No way", to this one. The drag caused by the open car windows outweighs the gas savings.
    As I already said, Mythbusters tested this. Under 45 mph, no AC and windows open saves gas. Over 45, windows up with AC is better.

  8. #8
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    Default A few other tips

    If you're a camper, go for it. Tent camping is your cheapest lodging option, even if you only do it for a few nights here and there. Of course, you'll need room in the car for your gear but you don't need much for car camping. A small tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, pillow, and good flashlight are all you really need. For car camping in the summer, you really don't need a good propane lantern. I have an inexpensive flashlight that also stands up and can be used like a lantern that works just fine.

    Use your AAA card for discounts, or any other discount card you have access to. Even if they don't display a logo saying that have a discount, it doesn't hurt to ask. Sometimes they do and just don't have very good signage indicating they honor the card.

    Stop at visitor centers, especially the ones at state lines, for brochures/fliers with discounts for hotels, restaurants, and some attractions. Even Denny's Restaurants often have these. Maybe other restaurant chains do as well.

  9. #9
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    Default

    My AARP card saves me quite a bit when I travel.

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    My AARP card saves me quite a bit when I travel.
    I always carry my AAA card and my teacher ID. Everyone knows about the AAA card, of course, but lots of places offer discounts for teachers -- especially museums and other educational spots.


    And a comment on eating out:

    I think restaurants are really feeling the pinch of the recession. I'm finding loads of coupons -- more than in the past -- for discounts on restaurant food. For example, in the last two days I've clipped a buy-one-entree, get-one-free at TGI-Fridays, and I've clipped a $5 off your next purchase at TGI-Fridays. I also recently found a buy-one-get-one-free sandwich coupon for Panera. Olive Garden is running $4/meal for two coupons regularly in the Sunday paper (which I don't buy often). I'm getting loads of email coupons for restaurant specials: buy-one-get-one-free for O'Charleys, free kid's meal with purchase of adult meal at Chickfillet.

    Does that mean you can eat at these casual restaurants as cheaply as you can eat from your cooler? No, though you can come fairly close IF you split an entree, but with a little luck you can have a restaurant meal at a greatly reduced price.

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