How To Road Trip America On A Budget

Mekelle Bess
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The Fourth of July is just days away and for some, the holiday travel has already begun. One of the best holidays of the summer, the Fourth brings family and friends together for barbeques, fun on the water, parades, fireworks and… traffic!

AAA released data and this year’s highway travel is set to be record-breaking. It is estimated that 46.9 million Americans will travel a minimum of 50 miles– up 5% from last year.

About 39.7 million of those will drive to their destinations, compared to 3.8 million Americans who will fly over the weekend.

So, what can the nearly 40 million Americans hitting the road expect their gas prices to be?

Gas prices are not looking promising due to an oil price surge to $73 per barrel, the highest it’s been since 2014. After five-straight weeks of prices dropping, prices are likely to increase again before the Fourth.

Although the national average price per gallon of gas could be around $2.90 this year (according to GasBuddy), we’ve rounded up some money-saving road trip tips to save you the most on food and gas this 4th of July…

Stay frugal on food

There are the obvious expenses that come with road tripping like gas, lodging, and admissions to attractions, but one of the most important expenses to remember is food!  Because you’re on the go and may not have full access to a kitchen, there’s no doubt you’ll eat out more and want to pick up snacks and drinks along the way. But all of this adds up. Here’s how to stay frugal on food expenses…

1. Plan your stops. Make sure you’re budgeting enough and not caught off guard by the cost of food. Make a schedule and plan out where you plan to stop on your road trip. Plan your stops and even restaurants along the route.

2. Set a daily budget. Set a budget of what you want to spend per day and don’t forget to add in extra snacks and drinks. Add several additional meals to your food budget just in case you miss the hotel breakfast, get delayed or have a change of plans. The last thing you want to worry about is if you can afford to eat!

3. Bring food from home. Pack what snacks you can in a cooler in the car to save a little money and even shave off time on the road for unnecessary food stops.

Save on gas

When it comes to saving money on your tank this week, there are three easy things to do.

1. Don’t idle. Avoid peak traffic times because the longer you idle in traffic, the more gas you’ll use. Use apps like Waze so you can spot problems on the road ahead of you and find alternate routes if needed.

2. Watch out for state lines. Gas taxes vary substantially by state and prices tend to be higher at stations near highways. To plan out your cheapest places to fill your tank, use the GasBuddy app or AAA Mobile to find the best prices along your route.

3. Bring cash. Some stations will offer discounts if you pay in cash. In fact, a lot of gas stations vary pricing by how you pay. So, having some cash on hand could earn you a discount on your fill up.

Feature Image: Unsplash

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