School is out and summer travel is in. If you are planning a road trip this summer, you are in good company – the US Travel Association says that nearly 80% of us take vacations that involve driving rather than flying. Here are some ways to maximize fun and savings as you get your kicks on Route 66.
- Get your car in shape. Check your tire pressure and change the oil and the air filter, and you’ll find you increase fuel efficiency dramatically. On the road, drive under the speed limit to enjoy both the view and added fuel economy. Use the cruise control so you don’t waste fuel on sudden acceleration and deceleration.
- Pack the right things. The lighter you travel, the less gas you’ll use, so leave the heavy sports equipment behind. But do pack snacks: stocking up on healthy snacks and picnic lunches will save you both money and calories as you bypass fast food places along the way. Instead, enjoy a pleasant detour into parks and nature preserves to find a scenic place to have your picnic.
- Gas up and sleep smart. If you stop for gas at the Arizona border before you cross into California, you’ll save exorbitant gas taxes in the Golden State. Stay overnight in the suburbs of Chicago and save the lodging taxes you’d pay in the Windy City. Plan out your trip and your pit stops, and you’ll have more money to spend having fun at your destination.
- Choose the scenic route. If you are traveling by car, seeing the country is half the fun. So stay off the toll roads, and drive the back roads instead. You can use the money you save at the quaint restaurants, inns and B&Bs you’ll find on the way.
- Opt for four fifty-five air conditioning. With the four windows rolled down and driving 55, you’ll not only enjoy a nice breeze, you’ll also save a bunch of money on gas. But do use the air conditioning for freeway driving, since at high speeds wind drag counteracts any fuel savings you would enjoy from turning off the air conditioning.
So gas up and pile the family into the car, and have a blast on your trip this summer. Don’t forget to send me a postcard!