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Gas-Saving Tips for Your Next Road Trip

All around us we are hearing that people are opting to stay close to home for their yearly vacations because of ever-rising gas prices. In some areas it has even reached up to $4 per gallon! Despite the high gas prices, this doesn’t mean that you need to give up your family tradition to take a road trip. There are plenty of Americans that are still packing up their mini-vans to travel across country and they are able to do it because they are following these gas-saving road trip tips.

Check With Your Hotel

Many hotels are now offering gas incentives when you stay at their place. Some are offering these incentives in the form of gift cards for services at and around the hotel, gas certificates, or money off of your stay. For example, in Vermont at the newly opened Stowe Mountain Lodge, until the end of the year when guests stay two nights they get a $25 credit towards their bill. When they stay three nights, a $50 credit is given, and a stay of four or more nights receives $100 credit. These credits can be used for things such as spa services, dining options, or just towards your bill.

In Chicago at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, you can purchase a Gas Saver Package that gets you a $25 gas gift certificate at your checkout. Following these lines, in California at the Broughton’s Hospitality Group’s boutique hotels, they offer a “Cruise the Coast” package. This package allows you to receive a $25 gas rebate at checkout, along with a bottle of wine at check-in and free continental breakfast during your stay.

Watch Your Driving Technique

As you are heading out onto the wide open road, paying attention to the way you are driving could end up saving you money on your gas bill. It is a fact that the slower you travel the less gas you use, so when the mileage post says 65 mph, travel the speed limit. You may even consider traveling 5 mph under the speed limit to save a little extra. AAA, which is a reputable car assistance company, has proven that driving slower can boost your mileage by about five percent. In these tough economic times, any help financially that we can get is worth it. This goes to say when you are just driving around town as well. For example, when you are traveling a large stretch of road try to lay your foot off of the gas pedal and cruise as much as you can. You’ll be surprised how much mileage you will gain by just making small improvements.

Break Out the GPS

Having a GPS system in your vehicle can prove to be a time and a gas saver. This is a useful road trip tool that gives you directions to places you are traveling to. As you are shopping around for a GPS device, keep in mind that not all of them are created equal. You are going to want to get the best device that you can with the budget that you have set. There are a couple of points that you want to be sure of when choosing the right GPS. Make sure the one you buy is able to calculate the shortest distance between two points, and be sure that the route you are taking doesn’t involve an unpleasant unfinished road. Sometimes it is a benefit to actually have two GPS systems in your vehicle. Not only do they each have different features, but you can compare the routes that they each give to make sure you are traveling the best one.

Go Online

There are many sites that will offer you great directions and amenities that will help you along the way. One travel website,, is such a site. Here you can receive directions to and from a destination, check a map for your travel needs, browse through the yellow pages, and check gas prices along the way.

Another  great website is AAA’s site. Here they offer a Trip Tik, which is a customizable road-trip router. It also shows gas station locations and date-stamped fuel prices along the route. The fuel prices listed aren’t always accurate, especially with prices changing daily, but they are usually withing 2-8 days of the listed price.

Lastly, make sure whatever site you use it is a reputable one. The last thing you want is to use a travel site that routes you miles out of your way, or even leads you to a location just to find out that it doesn’t exist anymore. Even with more accredited sites, it is best to do your homework ahead of time, just to make sure that you are following the right route. After all, these sites were created for a reason, and that is to help you along the way on your wonderful road trip.

Stay On Top of Car Maintenance

It is tempting to skip the car checkup that you know your car needs just to save a little money to put towards gas, groceries, or other travel expenses. However, by taking your vehicle in for a tune-up to replace air and fuel filters and checking the oil will really help to improve engine efficiency and boost mileage. Another step you can take is to make sure the tires are filled to the manufacturer- recommended PSI. This will help to reduce road-drag which is caused by under-inflation. According to the AAA, under-inflated tires can reduce your mileage by up to two percent per pound of pressure.

Check the Calendar

Have you ever wondered why gas prices seem to go up around the holidays and during the summer? Well, it is because this is when most people do their road traveling, and the gas industry knows that this is when they can make the most money. Kind of crooked, I know, but that is how it is. So, if you are planning on traveling to the in-laws house for Thanksgiving this year, don’t wait until the day before to fill up the tank, do it days in advance to get the best price. You may have also noticed that gas prices seem to rise on the weekends as well. To avoid this, try to fill up during the week for your weekend plans.

Pack Light

This tip seems like a no-brainer, but the fact is, we’ve all probably seen that one family that loads up nearly half of their possessions just to travel across state. It is common sense that the less weight the vehicle has to haul the less gas is used. Also, when you are packing, make sure to pack things inside the car, not on the roof where it will cause drag and reduce your mileage.

When followed, these tips are sure to save you precious money when traveling across the country. It is still possible to enjoy a family road trip, and these tips will allow you to do so. There is no need to sacrifice those great family memories just because gas prices have risen a little. So, keep those plans and enjoy the trip of a lifetime!