I got this email from nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert Andrea Woroch just in time for our roadtrip tomorrow. Some of the tips are pretty basic but if you’re not a deal hunter like me, it pays to pay attention to her advice.
Plan Ahead she says. Well, I may be a bargain shopper but I’m not much of a planner. In fact, this trip came together in one evening of bedside chatting. Luckily there’s Google and Easy Tether Pro. I can do my research from the road! I can even book our campsite when we’re 100 miles out. I tried TripIt initially but found it to be a huge hassle over writing down my To-Dos in my journal. I also have my RV Road Atlas so I know exactly where the campsites are.
2. Save on Gas. Gas prices have dropped but it’s still going to cost a boatload in Ryan’s Jeep Laredo. At least he gets slightly better mileage than in my Chevy Equinox. So we’re taking his car. No box on the roof to create extra drag and expense. We’ll use my GasBuddy to find the cheapest prices in the area and my Amex to get SkyMiles so the tab won’t hurt as much.
3. Get Tuned- Woroch also suggests we take the car in for a tune-up before hitting the road.
Riiiight. Like we have that kind of time! Admittedly, a car breakdown during the trip would suck big time. Fortunately, Ryan’s Jeep is new. J
4. Save on Dining Out! We have agreed that when we camp (have the time), we’ll also grill in the firepits. Not only do we save $$$ but Sage the 5 year old will love it. I’ll also be sure to check local deal sites for restaurant certificates.
5. Pack Wisely she says. The best thing about a roadtrip is you can take the kitchen sink and not have to pay a baggage fee.; not that you would want to. If you pack everything you need you won’t have to stop at some over-priced convenience store for wipes, batteries, toothpaste, chapstick, sunscreen, etc. Go ahead, load up! Don’t pay for something you already have at home.
6. Make Snacks? Yeah, no. Even when I pack a ton of snacks for everyone, we still wind up
grabbing something from the roadside. The drinks are colder, the stop gives us a chance to get out and stretch, and you just never know what you’ll feel like eating until the mood strikes. That said, because Sage is a bottomless pit, we do pack PB&J, cheesesticks, crackers, pretzels, etc. for her. Rarely do you find healthy treats to satisfy a kid.
7. Avoid Bottled Beverages. We pack waterbottles and travel mugs.
The savings with refills are huge.
8. Tell Your Bank. When a bank sees a bunch of charges from various states in a short amount of time, they could flag your account and shut down your credit card. Give them a heads up but also monitor your account. You need to know the minute you lose your card that some a*&hole didn’t pick it up and continue his own roadtrip on your dime. P.S. Don’t carry a wad of cash. Carry the same amount you would on an average day. ATMs are everywhere and you don’t need to worry that a hotel housekeeper or campsite lurker is going to steal from you. Speaking of which LOCK YOUR CAR NO MATTER WHAT AND PUT VALUABLES OUT OF SIGHT!
9. Drive Legally. Oh, That’s a good one. Yes, studies show that you save gas by doing the speed limit and you won’t risk a pricey speeding ticket but come on, who out there doesn’t get the needle up on occasion, or get pulled over even when they weren’t speeding? After three years with my Escort Passport 9500ix I trust it completely. It picks up every kind of radar including laser and redlight cameras. You can even hook it up to the internet and download updated locations of those cameras.
10.Wear Comfortable Clothes. This tip is mine. Ryan asked if he should bring anything nice. Why? We’re camping, staying in motels, hiking and driving. When you’re in your car more than not you want clothes that feel good. And you want pants that are easy to drop. It’s much easy to drop trough at the gas station or roadside if you have an elastic waistband than a belt and button fly. I grab my Keens that have stretchy cinch straps instead of laces (I like being barefoot in the car), Kuhl Capris, Polarmax XDRY T-Shirt that hides smells and a sweatshirt for when Ryan cranks the AC and I’m not hot. This time I’m taking my new Sherpa Sera sweater. I want to test and review it plus the wool will keep me warmer on the nights we camp.