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  1. #1

    Default 6 tips for saving money on your trip

    I keep a little list of money saving tips that I pull out when I hit the road with my wife.

    1. Pack sandwiches and fruit for the trip.

    If you and a friend/partner are on a trip you're gonna eat at least 3 times a day. That'll easily set you back $40 even if its fast food. If you pack your own stuff you'll save money - and it'll be a lot healthier for you!

    2. Use a GPS Navigation System

    We upgraded from maps to the 21st century a couple of years ago and I think it's paid for itself in terms of not taking wrong turns!

    3. Stop whenever you see Cheap Gas

    Even if the tanks still half full - if you see a bargain gas price, STOP and fill 'er up!

    4. Plan your hotels/motels ahead of time

    We used to just drive until we were tired and stop off at the first place we found. Sometimes that would be a $150 a night hotel, but we'd be too tired to drive and find a cheaper one! If you do you planning you can almost always find somewhere to stay for less than $50!

    5. Delivery a package along the route for extra cash!

    . Basically - if you are planning a road trip, you plug your route into the site and it tells you if anyone along your drive has something they need delivered along your route! My wife and I had some space in the SUV so we took a parcel full of college books from a mom and drove them to her daughter studying at UT. She paid us $70 for the trouble and we made our gas money for the trip and lunch too!

    6. Don't use CREDIT CARDS

    Burn them, cut them, shred them. Pay for everything with your check card or with cash. DON'T use those damn cards...ever.

    Hope you guys find these tips useful.

    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 11-16-2009 at 10:01 PM. Reason: New Members may not post off site links

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

    Default not bad

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    Yes, packing your own food is a great way to save money on a trip. There are several articles on this site dedicated to eating cheaping, using a cooler, and cooking on the road.

    I strongly disagree about using a GPS exclusively. I know way too many people who have ended up going way out of their way, arriving at the wrong destinations, or even being directed down paths that aren't ment for traffic because their GPS told them too. Its not a bad tool to have as a supplement, but it should be a secondary option, and its a stretch to say that it saves you money.

    I'll stop when i see cheap gas - and you can use gas tracking websites (included on the fuel cost calculator) to notice trends and/or states with higher and lower taxes. However, remember that even if you pay 20 cents more a gallon, that only works out to a $3 for a full tank of gas. Yes, that's money and it adds up, but if you make 4 extra stops for gas, that's an hour of time you'll have lost.

    You can get deals if you prebook, but that also locks you into an interary and could very well keep you from enjoying "whats out there" because you worry more about getting to a specific point and staying on schedule than enjoying what you find on the road. Thare are also ways to save money and find cheap places to stay without prebooking, like using a roadside coupon book (which are usually good for walk up only) or even negotiating with the clerk. Plus, if you have a laptop, you can always simply make a reseravation do some quick internet shopping when you are closer to being ready to stop for the night.

    I won't blame anyone if they don't want to take the risk of using a Credit Card. It is a very easy way to overshoot your budget. However, there are a ways where you can use cards to your advantage, if you have the self-control. Of course, most people don't have it!

  3. #3


    Hello Michael, glad to meet your acquaintance.

    You're right about the poorer brands of GPS. Some family friends of ours paid some extortionate rate to have their GPS pre-installed in their car and it was afwul, kept taking them on long routes and bad roads. If you use a up-to-date Garmin though, shouldn't have any problems.

    You make a great point in stopping all the time. I generally won't stop until I'm down to less than half a tank, but even then its a nice excuse to stretch our legs!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    A GPS does not give you the big picture like a set of paper maps or an atlas can. You lose situational awareness.

    I have the best of both worlds - I use my old laptop with MS Streets & Trips with a GPS module. I seldom actually draw out a route, and I never set it to give me turn by turn directions. I just use it to see where I am actually at. I can scale in and out easily.

    I use a Visa debit card and usually run it as credit to get my leisure rewards points.

  5. #5


    Agree about the GPS being the way forward. I hate the things personally but I just did a two-day 1000 mile solo drive across Europe (got back last night) and the route it took me was great. Would NEVER have been able to follow it with the directions written on a scrap of paper. Not in a million years.

    Streets & Trips is awful to try and use with the GPS thingy if you intend to use it with turn by turn directions which, after all, is the point in having the thing. I gave mine to the charity shop to get rid of it!

    Nothing at all wrong with a credit card in my mind. I pay it off each month and have a range of cards for different purposes: one I use to collect points, another I use when traveling as it works out faaaaar cheaper than getting the cash from an ATM or buying it at the airport. It's about common sense and self control and THAT is the REAL key to saving money on a trip.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Gps

    I never thought I would own or use one, but I received one as a present from my Son and DIL prior to our recent trip. It is a Tom Tom one and I was impressed with how quickly it re-routed once I showed it who's boss and who is going to decide how we get from A to B.

    For that reason I have come to the conclusion that it is a great back up tool, but to use it 'blindly' for anything but a direct A to B run is something I wouldn't recommend. Without my research and paper maps I would of missed out on so many great things by relying on the GPS alone.

    As previously said, it also doesn't give you that visual information that a map can as you drive through great scenery.

    It's strongest point for me was taking you to your destination address at journey's end, saving the need to print off a detailed local map, stop to buy one or to ask for directions.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default exactly

    For that reason I have come to the conclusion that it is a great back up tool, but to use it 'blindly' for anything but a direct A to B run is something I wouldn't recommend. Without my research and paper maps I would of missed out on so many great things by relying on the GPS alone.
    This is exactly what I mean. I don't have any problem at all with using a GPS, and it certainly can have some advantages in situations.

    Its the idea that a GPS (any brand) is an upgrade from a map, is something that you should follow blindly without knowing where you are on a map, or that it will never fail in one way or another, that is very short-sighted and foolhardy thinking in my book.

  8. #8


    Well the best way to use satnav is to plug in waypoints and let it worry about getting you between them. When navigating using map and/or notes I've missed a turn and ended up doing a twenty mile detour to get back to where I wanted to be. It's frustrating to pay for that gas but do it in traffic (when, let's face it, you're less likely to be able to read those notes) and it might add an hour to your journey too. I prefer to navigate from memory and have a pretty good knowledge of the roads in this country but, when away from home, you need to refer to notes far too often not to make at least one mistake on even a modestly short journey.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    Quote Originally Posted by TripTips View Post
    ............ If you use a up-to-date Garmin though, shouldn't have any problems.
    Only a matter of months after I bought the latest Garmin, I went to "The Centre of the Nation" monument in South Dakota. And was thrilled to see that it is one of the points of interest in the Garmin.

    However, it will NOT take you to the monument.... it will take you to a point on the highway which is on the same latitude as the monument, but the monument is on a parallel road some 10 miles west of the highway. That road was marked on my maps and in my atlas, but somehow the Garmin had not heard of it. When I was driving on the correct route it kept showing I was driving cross country... that there were no roads at all in that area, even when I zoomed to close-up.

    The extra 40 or 50 miles I travelled did not save me any money! And that is not the only time that it took me to the wrong address or region. In one case the name of my accommodation was on the list in Garmin, but even having selected the correct lodging, it kept taking me to another motel. The phone calls, as well as the extra miles, to get back to where I had to go did not save me any money.

    I agree with Michael... technology is no substitute for good maps and the ability to read them.


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