gasmileageThe cost of gas seems to keep going up, rather than down, and often families, especially those driving large vehicles, find that gas can be a huge part of their vacation budget.  You don’t have to cancel that big road trip though – instead, do some advance work to make sure you are driving as efficiently as possible.  Here are some ways that you can reduce your fuel costs for long family road trips.

  • Get your car checked out.  Getting a tune up is a great way to increase fuel efficiency.  Properly inflated tires and clean filters can improve gas mileage and make your car run better in general.
  • Travel light. The weight of your car or truck affects gas mileage, so make sure you are only bringing along essentials.  Of course, make sure you have what you need – buying essentials on the road is likely to offset any gas cost savings.
  • Get good directions in advance.  By avoiding rush hour travel times and taking the most direct route, you’ll decrease how much gas your car needs for your trip.  Be careful with stops along the way too – don’t drive five miles off the exit to eat.
  • Install a gas finder app on your phone.  I like GasBuddy, which helps locate the cheapest gas near you.  
  • Try to pay cash for gas.  Lots of service stations are starting to charge a higher rate if you pay with a credit card.  If you can safely carry gas money with you, use cash to get a lower rate. 
  • Follow the speed limit.  It can be tempting to go as fast as possible to get to your destination sooner, but speeding not only puts you at risk for a ticket or an accident, it also burns more gas than traveling at a more reasonable pace.  

How do you save money while road tripping?

Photo credit: jeffwilcox on Flickr

Jodi Grundig, Finance Traveling Mom, regularly writes about her travels on Family Travel Magazine and Mom’s Favorite Stuff.