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UMe’s Helpful Tips: Saving Money on a Road Trip

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In today’s world, where airfare expenses can be sky-high, many travel enthusiasts are embracing an alternative way to satisfy their wanderlust via the all-American road trip. The appeal of hitting the open road not only resides in the sense of freedom it brings but also in its friendliness to our wallets. It’s no surprise that nearly half of traveling Americans are opting for road trips this year according to Forbes. So, if U find yourself yearning for a getaway, don’t let your precious vacation days go to waste!

Setting off on a road trip is like embarking on an exciting adventure, where the freedom of the open road calls us to discover new places and make lasting memories. It’s easy to get caught up in the thrill and spontaneity of it all, but it’s essential to understand the importance of saving money during the journey. By being mindful of your finances on the open road, U can ensure it remains affordable and sustainable. Also, saving money can open up another world of possibilities — such as uncovering hidden gems, savoring local delicacies, and extending the trip to make it even more unforgettable. Making wise financial choices on a road trip isn’t just a sensible move, it’s also a way to maximize experiences and create an extraordinary adventure!

If you’re planning a road trip and looking to save some extra cash along the way, planning meals, fuel stops, and rest breaks ahead of time can significantly reduce your expenses. Here are a few simple tips to help you keep more money in your pocket, while you’re on the road:

  1. Prioritize meal prepping: BYOS (Bring Your Own Snacks): Minimize the temptation to splurge on restaurant meals and resist the inflated prices at gas station convenience stores by packing your own snacks. Fill a cooler with snack-size bags of your favorite munchies from the grocery store. Not only will this save you money, but it will also keep everyone satisfied and energized during the journey. So, consider packing snacks and making your own meals to avoid costly restaurant bills.
  2. Get rewarded for fueling up: With gas prices remaining high, it’s wise to minimize the impact on your budget. Download free apps like GasBuddy to find the cheapest gas stations in your vicinity, and use a credit card that earns you points or cash back for fuel purchases (like the UMe Visa Credit Card!). Additionally, maintaining properly inflated tires and driving at a consistent speed can help trim fuel costs, as well.
  3. Stock up your glovebox: While GPS navigation can help you avoid toll roads, it may end up adding more miles to your trip. Since many states charge extra for mailed tolls, consider investing in a transponder (such as California’s FasTrak) for the specific area you’re driving through to save both time and money.
  4. Book ahead and hunt for deals: Booking accommodations directly with hotels can often result in better prices. Consider using an AARP card for hotel discounts, as it’s not just limited to retirees and costs around $16 per year. Additionally, check out websites like Groupon and Tripadvisor for deals and discounts at your destination. If you plan on visiting multiple national parks, an entrance pass can save you money. Also, check for accommodations that offer free parking to avoid additional fees. And put as many of your expenses as you can on a rewards-earning credit card (like the UMe Card!), so U can earn on every purchase on your trip.

If you’re gearing up for a last-minute road trip, these quick moves can help you avoid unnecessary expenses along the way:

  1. Visit your mechanic: Before hitting the road, it’s wise to have your car serviced. A thorough inspection and maintenance can prevent unexpected breakdowns and costly repairs down the line. This may seem obvious, but it’s a crucial step in staying on track and avoiding unforeseen expenses.
  2. Save on data charges: If your mobile phone is not on an unlimited data plan, take advantage of offline features to avoid unexpected extra charges on your phone bill. For example: Download offline Google Maps for navigation and select a few playlists and audiobooks in advance. This way, you won’t be left without tunes or navigation in areas with poor or no service, and you’ll avoid any surprise expenses on your phone bill.

Following these simple steps, you can minimize unexpected on-the-go expenses, ensuring a smoother and more budget-friendly road trip experience. By implementing these tips, you can make your road trip smart — without sacrificing the joy of exploring new places and creating unforgettable memories.

Join the growing masses of road-trippers and explore the wonders that await just beyond the highway! (Just reminding U — don’t forget to be mindful of your money. Because U matter to me, to all of us, at UMe.)

If you want to take your road trip financial planning one step further, check out our savings options here! U can always give us a call or send us an email if you want to explore the best options for U!

Disclaimer: U matter to Me (all of us) at UMe — and that’s why we do our best to deliver helpful information on our blog. Please note the following: (1) UMe Credit Union works hard to make certain that the information we post here is as accurate as humanly possible. But as you know, information can change and evolve quickly. While we try to update the blog on a regular basis, the content of some older posts may not be correct or up-to-date. (2) Some destinations on the World Wide Web that we link you to will exist on external websites. UMe Credit Union does not officially endorse any connected sites, nor do/did we compensate or get compensated by any entities to be featured in our posts (unless otherwise noted). (3) Everyone’s situation is unique and we advise you to consult with our personal bankers or your finance, tax, or legal professional for advice individualized to you!

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